So Are Other Possible Democratic Nominees
Policy Substance Will Be a Key to Winning in 2020
By Al Giordano
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is the most formidable contender yet to make her 2020 presidential campaign official – she did so on New Year’s Eve, getting the jump on the field – and some already want to disqualify her candidacy before she gets to make her case.
Think about it: If Republican pundits are attacking a potential Democratic nominee this early it’s not because they perceive that candidate to be weak. Au contraire! It’s because they fear that the candidate would be a strong nominee.
(That we don’t see much similar GOP trolling of Senator Bernie Sanders, for example, is the “tell” that they consider his narrative – and its possible impact on the Democratic nomination – convenient to their own ends.)
But what about when the trolling comes from other Democrats? Some have jumped into the chorus line of “Warren can’t beat Trump.” Let’s call it what it is: self-serving claptrap from supporters of different Democratic candidates, or from some so traumatized by the 2016 Electoral College results still that the ample daylight between Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren remains in darkness to them.
The logical extension of the arguments, in every case, will also, if indulged, darken the doorstep of the campaigns of other potential nominees – Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, and perhaps others – because, after all, sexist attacks will likewise be waged on them. Here’s a clue: If you disqualify a candidate because she will be on the receiving end of misogyny, you’re in effect going to disqualify any woman from ever becoming the president of the United States. Well, that’s one big way misogyny works.
The same kind of trolling followed Barack Obama around in 2007 and 2008: Remember the mantra of, “Nobody named Barack Hussein Obama can get elected in the USA?” This kind of discourse would also soon extend to any nonwhite candidate – Harris again, Cory Booker, Eric Holder – and only serves to perpetuate a single demographic group’s hold on executive power in the US. (It’s frankly just as discriminatory when some people say that Bernie Sanders’ Jewish heritage would disqualify him.)
We can’t start from the place that if someone will be the object of attacks then therefore they “can’t beat Trump.” (We might as well preempt the “Can’t beat Romney” arguments, too, before those begin.)
Any Democratic nominee will be the target of unfair attacks that seek to redefine her or him before public opinion. Likewise when people say, “Only a Midwesterner can beat Trump,” they’re not talking about, say, Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Asian American. “Midwesterner,” in this case, is code for white people. (And let’s not forget that the three US Senate seats lost by the Democrats in 2018 were those of Midwestern white candidates in Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota.)
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