Last week I engaged in a most unpleasant act of selflessness for the benefit of those to whom I’m most grateful for reading my column and following my podcast. I forced myself to watch both Democrat presidential debates; two nights of reality television that combined the backbiting of Survivor with the “red X” acts on America’s got Talent.
It’s easy to dismiss these early debates featuring a classroom full of candidates, but research suggest we take them seriously. As reported in The Economist, while presidential debates seldom move voters, primary debates definitely do. Typically, candidates move an average of six percentage points after a primary debate.
This makes intuitive sense, as in a very divided America, people are not likely to move from red to blue, but allegiances within those primary colors are fairly portable in primaries.
The big picture made clear from these two nights of theater is that we now know the narrative the media will use to create and the best head-to-head for them to present to America. Simply put, they are going to do everything they can to give us Elizabeth Warren vs. Kamala Harris as the Democrat frontrunners.
Night one was destined to go to Warren as she was the only prestige candidate against a field of soon to be also-rans. Despite the fact that at least one flash poll showed Hawaii Senator Tulsi Gabbard being the winner, media coverage on almost every established platform gave it to Warren. Reporting in The Nation was representative of my point. In referring to Warren’s limited word-count during the debate, they wrote:
Yet a word count doesn’t fully measure Warren’s undeniable impact. The striking fact of the night was the degree to which Warren’s aggressive progressivism was accepted by almost all her rivals as a baseline for the party.
The ultra-liberal, self-described populist Harvard Professor of dubious ethnic background has been chosen by the media as a leader. Warren is the candidate of MoveOn.org, and their influence in liberal politics cannot be overstated.
Move to night two, where the poll leaders Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were on stage against the aforementioned Kamala Harris and a host of others. During one segment of the debate where Joe Biden was attempting to explain why his past close associations with racists was nothing more than “working together,” and how his opposition to forced busing to integrate schools was actually due to his support for integration, Kamala gave this retort: “a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day… and that little girl was me”
Let’s overlook for a moment that the statement from Harris regarding the second class from the Berkley School System (where she attended) to integrate requires a Clinton style qualifier to be considered true, and let’s also overlook how she is now using what was portrayed as a genuine moment to be turned into a shameless campaign t-shirt. The line instantly went viral on social media, and the media has characterized the line as the moment she really stung Biden.
I have been adamant since he announced that Joe Biden would not be the nominee and that the ultra-collectivist element of the Democrat Party, now it’s true north, would take him down. That process has been underway, and Thursday night’s debate helped to weaponize it with Biden’s own words and Harris’ response.
In addition to the big conclusion I drew from the debate regarding the positioning of Warren and Harris, there were other takeaways worth mentioning.
After two years of every liberal, including moderators Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow, telling us the Mueller Report was going to bring down the president, there was no mention of it in two nights. The investigation which turned up nothing and has been exposed as a transparent sham was simply dusted away. The Democrats’ efforts cost taxpayers $30 million, but I suppose that’s nothing compared to Sanders proposals for free education for everyone.
The pandering of Beto, the politician formerly known as Robert Francis, O’Rourke to Hispanic voters by speaking in Spanish was a low point. I work with so many young Latino students who all stress to me the importance of having English as our official language. Language is perhaps the most critical element that holds together a nation state and its culture. O’Rourke should be encouraging Latino immigrants to learn English and assimilate instead of encouraging them to isolate as a permanent underclass. Previous immigrants did. Does O’Rourke see Hispanics as inferior?
So intent on being “inclusive,” Julian Castro stressed the right of transgender women to a have access to abortion funding. While he may have misspoke, given the Democrat’s relentless efforts to rule out nothing for anyone, I’m not willing to assume he isn’t in favor of a biological male being given access to the morning after pill.
Almost every candidate raised their hand in support of universal healthcare and the dismantling of private health insurance. The same kind of response was received when they were asked if they supported free healthcare for people here illegally.
This brings us to what is going to be the single biggest issue in the general election and that is the crisis of illegal immigration in this country. Democrats now acknowledge it’s a crisis despite being unwilling to do so when the president signed an executive order. The current situation is not sustainable and can only be resolved either by tough immigration rules and enforcement, or through pure capitulation and opening the borders to anyone.
The Democrats profess to be the party of the working class. Working class people are going to have to listen to these candidates and decide just exactly whose work efforts they support, and who is going to be asked to pay for all of this.
If all this is too much for you, don’t worry. I will watch the next one for you, too.