The Dems Don’t Even Believe Themselves
There are 20 Democratic contenders vying for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination. Or is it 21? It’s tough to keep track. Through the tiresome ranks of the Kamala Harrises, Cory Bookers, Julian Castros, Elizabeth Warrens, Beto O’Rourkes, Kirsten Gillibrands, Tulsi Gabbards, Eric Swalwells, and John Hickenloopers, among all the rest, one thing becomes glaringly apparent: All of these putative “leaders” -- as astonishingly undistinguished, inexperienced, and inward-looking as they are -- have one thing in common: They are flag carriers for the clichéd, predictable, unimaginative, and ultimately unproductive weltanschauung of identity politics. United by their attempt to be the ultimate un-Trump, these candidates push the empty notion of identity politics, which has become the de facto calling card of the modern Democratic party.
Executing identity politics is a simple political strategy, really. First, identify your voting subgroups. For Democrats, that’s easy:
- Working professional women, up against endemic pay inequity and the ‘glass ceiling’
- Single moms, juggling the challenges of limited finances and crushing time demands
- Gays (actually the entire LGBTQ group)
- College students (those who have borrowed money)
- The “poor” (such as Food Stamp recipients)
- “Disenfranchised” voters -- victims of the inherent unfairness of the Electoral College or calls for voter ID
Undoubtedly there are other groups, either existing or soon-to-be-discovered. Some of these groups may overlap to some degree, but most don’t. The Democrats’ electoral strategy is very simple and straightforward:
- Identify an injustice or slight that has been perpetrated on a specific victim group
- Blame that injustice or slight on Republican policies
- Propose a free government handout program that will alleviate their hardship
- Show how the funding for that handout will come from raising taxes on white conservative “rich people” who don’t deserve their ill-gotten financial fortunes anyway
The trick for each of the Democratic candidates is to be quite obvious and explicit in showing each victim group that the candidate knows of their plight and has a solution for it. The victims are simply members of a group and every Democrat must check the box for that group. The entire Democratic campaigning process is one of checking as many boxes as they can in as flamboyant a manner as possible, while showing the national media their unforgettable, attractive personality.
“Attractive personality” may mean lovable crazy old guy, smooth-talking agreeable gentle person, mad-as-heck academic who knows the real score and will settle it, street-smart inner-city intellectual whose calm demeanor instills a measure of confidence and mastery, energetic, animated upstart who will take the process by the horns and shake things up the way they need to be, etc.
What’s missing -- by intent, not by accident -- is any sense by any of these Democratic contenders that their goal is for the good of the country as a whole. The good of the country -- which includes every subgroup listed above, as well as everyone else -- is not their concern. Their only concern is checking victimhood boxes and hoping in the end that the sum total of those boxes equals 270 or more.
The problem for them is this: It’s glaringly obvious that their positions are so painfully disingenuous that even they don’t believe them. To date, the entire Democratic primary season has been one drawn-out contest of who can outgift the others. Free healthcare, free college, open borders, voting for felons, eliminate ICE, outlaw fossil fuels, promote veganism, reduce military spending, embrace sanctuary cities and sanctuary states. The list goes on and on. I’ll give you this for free. Oh yeah? I’ll give you both this and that for free.
Yet Bernie is a millionaire with several houses, Beto gave less than 1% of his income to charity and Liz Warren lives in a beautiful house valued at over $2 million dollars while earning nearly half a million dollars annually for teaching a single course at Harvard. They talk the talk, but they certainly don’t walk the walk.
The random element in the Democratic candidate sweepstakes is the recent entry of former V.P. Joe Biden into the mix. While the Democrats who preceded him into the race are demonstrably more radically leftist in their views -- as risibly transparent as those views may be -- Biden appears to be attempting to stake out a more “reasonable” position along the political continuum.
The question about Biden, of course, is this: Does he actually have any heartfelt core beliefs? Other than being a backslapping good old guy politician who gets a bit too friendly with the girls on occasion, are there any defining philosophies that anchor his vision for the country? Does he even have a vision for the country? LBJ did. Reagan did. Obama did. Trump does. Agree or disagree with any of them as you wish, but they made it clear where they stood and what they felt was best for the country.
Biden’s early leading position in the polls among Democrats can be chalked up to simple name recognition more than anything else. That will fade quickly enough. The guess here is that Biden is the dictionary definition of political opportunist and he’ll sway further leftward as needed as the primary process continues. While it’s unquestionably accurate to say that the first group of Democratic contenders is spouting their über-liberal policies not because they necessarily believe them (for all of them, it appears to be nothing more than a blatantly obvious vote-buying scheme), with Biden, it’s a slightly different situation. However, it’s difficult to ascertain what Biden’s true feelings are because Joe appears to have no core beliefs at all.