Storyline A: “We didn’t lose!” Storyline B: “If we did lose, it’s because you’re a racist!”
The Democratic party’s transformation into an undergraduate intersectionality seminar at Oberlin is proceeding at a remarkable pace. The party’s current strategy is to scream “Racist!” at people voting for Mia Love and Tim Scott while insisting that Jared Kushner’s father-in-law and Benjamin Netanyahu’s best political friend is a scheming anti-Semite.
At issue is the defeat of Andrew Gillum in the Florida governor’s race and of Stacey Abrams in the Georgia governor’s race. Democrats are busily trying to undo those defeats as of this writing (Florida Democrats have a real knack for suddenly discovering caches of ballots from sympathetic voters at the opportune moment) while simultaneously arguing that the reason these two candidates failed is that they are black, and that Donald Trump’s America is just one tweet away from repealing the 13th Amendment.
Senator Bernie Sanders — who abandoned his native Brooklyn for Vermont, the whitest state in the union — insists that white voters are “uncomfortable” voting for a black candidate. Maybe some are. But Barack Obama won more than 100 more electoral votes running against Mitt Romney than Hillary Clinton won running against a man who’d never run for office before. The signals are at least mixed.
There may be a less nefarious explanation: Florida hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1994. Alex Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, is at the moment the only Democrat to have been elected to a statewide office in Florida in this century. Georgia hasn’t elected a Democrat as its governor in this century, either. (Georgia went the entire 20th century without electing a Republican governor, and Georgia’s Democratic governors haven’t exactly been covered in glory: The state could have done without the services of Lester Maddox.) Democrats of all hues have had a hard time of it in those states in recent years, for good reason — the policies they support would be catastrophic for Georgia and Florida, two of the most prosperous states in the country. Florida is booming, and Georgia has been named the best state in the nation for doing business for five years in a row. Floridians and Georgians have good reason to be broadly happy with the direction of their governments.
And what were the Democrats offering?
Gillum has the taint of corruption on him after an FBI investigation into bribery in Tallahassee revealed that, while mayor, he accepted gifts from a man he thought was a favor-seeking developer but who was in fact a federal agent. One of Gillum’s campaign aides infamously denounced Florida as a “cracker state” — who is bringing race into the campaign again? — and Gillum ran on a far-left platform of abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, jacking up the minimum wage to $15, single-payer health care, and tax increases. Put him alongside Senator Elizabeth Warren and you’d have as airtight proof as you could ever ask for that political stupidity transcends all racial barriers.
Abrams, who once was photographed proudly burning a Georgia state flag, ran a similarly hard-left campaign in Georgia, suggesting from the get-go that opposition to her agenda was founded in racism.
We have no doubt that there are racists who vote for Republicans. We have no doubt that there are racists who vote for Democrats, and we are even more confident that there are some fairly vicious anti-Semites who support the Democratic party, some of whom we see on television from time to time. It’s a big country, and if 2 percent of the population is bananas, then there are 6.5 million or so embarrassing cases to choose from. There are hateful, god-awful elements broadly affiliated with the Right, and hateful, god-awful elements broadly affiliated with the Left. Picking out the worst of them and presenting those specimens as representative is the most sophomoric and cheap kind of politics there is.
But that is the strategy to which the Democrats have committed themselves. Republican health-care reform? Racist. Regulatory reform? Racist. Defending the borders from an army of foreign nationals marching toward the United States with the stated objective of overrunning our security measures? Racist. Tax cuts? Racist.
Can’t imagine why they lose.