Intra-party civil war engulfs Missouri Dems, dooming McCaskill re-election bid
Claire McCaskill has just been denounced as a white supremacist and worse by one of Missouri’s most prominent and popular black Democrats, almost certainly dooming her already-faltering campaign for re-election to the United States Senate. That’s reason enough for more schadenfreude today, but understanding the context makes for even better news for Republicans, because this sort of problem is going to happen more and more in the future.
Let’s start with the specifics.
A week ago, McCaskill’s campaign released a radio ad distancing her from “crazy Democrats” in an effort to pick up some votes from the substantial majority of Missouri voters who chose Trump in 2016. She seems to have seen the left wing takeover of her party and realized that her home state voters would be repelled by the “democratic socialism” and identity politics obsession that plays well in the Bronx and Berkeley, but which leaves most Missourians somewhere on the spectrum from indifference to anger.
CNN screen grab
Pressed for specifics, McCaskill revealed that she hadn’t thought this through very well.
When asked to identify who are the “crazy Democrats” referenced in her new campaign ad, McCaskill floated the names of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, but carefully stopped short of directly calling them crazy.
This is a no-win approach, as Warren and Sanders would hardly be mollified by her hedging, while other Dems not named assume the worst. And because so many Democrat office-holders already have been driven insane by TDS, a forceful blowback was all but inevitable. And speaking of insane loudmouths, who could forget Missouri Democratic State Senator Maria Chapelle-Nadal, who last graced these pages in August of last year by openly calling for the assassination of President Trump on Twitter? She quickly deleted the tweet and apologized, but McCaskill called for her resignation, hoping to placate her Trump-supporting constituents.
In creating an enemy in Chapelle-Nadal, McCaskill took on a very popular figure in the black community, someone who won 94.172% of the vote in her last election. And Chapelle-Nadal took the “crazy” label personally:
McCaskill’s supporters did not help:
“White Supremacy would place a person of color in physical danger. That’s what Claire McCaskill has done to my family. Shame on you, Dixie Claire. There are no more plantations. You are not Madam Massa,” Chappelle-Nadal added in another tweet.
The underlying problem extends far beyond McCaskill. The Democratic Party is riven by what Rod Dreher calls a “hidden civil war.” The base of the party, made up of poor and working class voters, many of them minorities, is not thrilled with the radical economic and social agenda of the urban leftists who have taken over their party.
What’s happening is that the energy in the Democratic Party now is coming from richer educated white liberals who are most motivated by issues that don’t resonate with the ethnic minorities who make up the Democratic base. For example, did you know that in the bellwether House race in which newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated veteran incumbent Joe Crowley, the challenger’s strongest precincts were the whiter, wealthier ones, while the incumbent ran strongest in the most heavily minority precincts? It turns out that minority voters tend to care about who can deliver for them on bread-and-butter issues more than making symbolic identity politics statements. Politico reports that this is causing a growing divide within Democratic ranks.
That Politico report can be read here, and is worth a full read.
My take is that by delivering solid economic opportunities and rising incomes, Trump is exposing the Democrats’ inability to deliver jobs and opportunities. His relentless pursuit of black voters is going to erode turnout for Dems and start to reap black votes in increasing numbers (though I concede the overwhelming institutional support of black political and religious organizations will keep this pace slow – until tipping point is reached).