Democrats will need to wake up if they want to win the White House
The Democrats don’t have to be woke to win, but they do need to wake up.
As of Corey Brooker’s announcement yesterday, I think 8 candidates have formally announced their intention to run to become the Democrat candidate, and according to the Federal Election Commission 165 (one hundred and sixty five!) individuals have filled their papers expressing intent to run. Expect many more.
I suspect however that Harris and Biden — who notably hasn’t formally announced anything, yet — will become the front runners and come the Spring we’ll have a much clearer idea. In the meantime, hitherto unknown names are trying to build a base, compile resources, employ staff, develop a strategy and start implementing that strategy across key states. At the same time, the electorate will be looking on; trying to figure out who is who and why they should give that candidate their vote.
Candidates’ policies, and perhaps even core philosophy, will change or (if you’re feeling less cynical), ‘evolve’ as their campaigns develop and voters will keep an eye on policy positions that they care most about. However, some voters on the Democrat side already have their minds made up, and their blinkers are well and truly on. They have an obsession with ‘staying woke’. If this intolerant dismissal continues, it will damage the party, it will unduly influence who their candidate is, and it could cost them the best shot at the White House they’re likely to get at a one-term president.
As I have previous written, the party has moved to the left ideologically and all mainstream candidates will run on platform of increased minimum wage, Medicare for all and a ‘progressive’ environmental policy. Simultaneously, the party has become more critical of law enforcement, prosecutors, and mass incarceration — particularly incarceration of minorities for oftentimes, minor crimes. But significantly, the tolerance of those outside of the circle of believers has dramatically decreased. The emotional response has hardened to the point that it freezes out potentially excellent candidates.
It doesn’t take many to shout loud enough and suddenly an otherwise good candidate can have their chances threatened. The best example of this can be seen over the last couple of weeks. Since her announcement to run, Harris’ past is starting to come back to haunt her. It all started with ‘that’ New York Times op-ed claiming she was not a progressive prosecutor, but the language being use to analyse her as district attorney and then as California’s state attorney, has become increasingly inflammatory. I’ve seen some say they cannot see a single reason to support her, others are claiming there is no excuse to be backing her.
No excuse? What a bizarre thing to say. It is February 2019 and we are over a year and a half away from the general election and at least a year from primaries, yet some are so angry by, guess what: a prosecutor actually prosecuting people, that they are already unwilling to look positively upon her candidacy as potentially the first female POC to lead a major party. Language that is laced with threat, language that claims the unambiguous, unequivocal, omnipotent moral authority; language inferring those who dare to deviate will pay the consequences.
This is Trumpian language and an entirely inappropriate way to analyse a candidate. Harris is tough, and she cares about crime, so for some, that seems to disqualify her from the race. The opening comments in Lara Bazelon’s piece claim that Harris has been on the wrong side of history. Agree or not, there is a unique opportunity to put the party, and the country, on the right side. And that is by supporting a free and fair primary process the defeating Donald Trump.
She is a formidable candidate with huge experience, she is a street fighter with political nouse, she is the product of the coastal elite, but can communicate with anyone, and yes, she is tough. If, after a thorough look at Harris: the candidate, some genuine believe they cannot find a single reason to support her, then don’t vote for her, that is fine.
But, if the party wants to virtue signal their way to selecting the wrong candidate, then they will be doing so from a losing position. If they want to win the White House, then Harris needs serious consideration.
A footnote: I believe than instead of running from her reputation as a prosecutor, Harris should in fact own it. It will increase her likelihood of winning the general election. But more on that to come…