Elections

The Bonfire of the Democrats

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand talks to the media after announcing that she is forming an exploratory committee to enter the 2020 presidential race in Sioux City, Iowa, January 18, 2019. (Scott Morgan/Reuters)
Democrats are about to embark on the first ‘woke’ primary, a gantlet of political correctness that will find fault in even the most sure-footed.

All statewide officials in the Commonwealth of Virginia should resign if Democrats are held to their own standards.

Even if Governor Ralph Northam didn’t appear in blackface in an image in his medical-school yearbook, he confessed to once darkening his face as part of a Michael Jackson costume.

Attorney General Mark Herring, who called Northam’s conduct indefensible, also used blackface once. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault.

If ever wearing blackface — even in the 1980s, as both Northam and Herring did — is a career-ender, and if we are supposed to “believe all women,” then all three of these Democrats have to go.

Virginia is an indication of an inflamed and unforgiving Democratic mood that will define the party’s battle for the 2020 presidential nomination.

Democrats are about to embark on the first “woke” primary, a gantlet of political correctness that will routinely wring abject apologies out of candidates and find fault in even the most sure-footed. The passage of time will be no defense. Nor the best of intentions. Nor anything else.

Any lapses will be interpreted through the most hostile lens, made all the more brutal by the competition of a large field of candidates vying for the approval of a radicalized base. The Democrat nomination battle might as well be fought on the campus of Oberlin College and officiated by the director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Being a progressive hero of long standing doesn’t afford any protection. Consider Elizabeth Warren. She certainly deserves all the grief she gets for her laughable identification of herself over the years as an American Indian. But for the identity-politics Left, her fault runs deeper.

After taking a DNA test to prove her (distant) Native American ancestry, she stood accused, in the words of a member of a tribe in South Dakota, of “privileging nonindigenous definitions of being indigenous.” According to the New York Times, she had also trod “too far into the fraught area of racial science — a field that has, at times, been used to justify the subjugation of racial minorities and Native Americans.”

Yes, Warren stood exposed as implicitly in league with the oppressors of Native Americans — and here she had just wanted Donald Trump to stop calling her Pocahontas. Cherokee Nation activist Rebecca Nagle told CNN last week that Warren needed to apologize “to the tribes that she has harmed and to Native people broadly.”

Sure enough, she apologized, and presumably will keep on doing it as long as she’s running.

It’s a season of apologies. When recently announced candidate Kirsten Gillibrand went on The Rachel Maddow Show, the MSNBC host hit her for having in the past used the term “illegal alien,” although it was standard and technically correct usage. Gillibrand allowed that she was embarrassed by her past positions on immigration.

In this environment, being a white male, particularly a white male not obsessed with gender and race, is a risk factor. This is a major vulnerability of Bernie Sanders.

Segments of the Left jumped on him this week for doing his own State of the Union response after the official reply by the African-American activist Stacey Abrams. Marc Lamont Hill called Sanders’ choice “racially tone-deaf.”

In every presidential campaign, candidates have to explain and backfill to get with the party’s latest program. What will make this process so much more intense for Democrats is the belief that even past mistakes involving the choice of words or symbolism are affirmatively injurious of other people. And that such mistakes represent deep sins to be repented of.

Even Kamala Harris, who calls racism, sexism, and transphobia matters of “national security,” isn’t safe. She was once a prosecutor, after all. Reviewing her record, a New York Times op-ed writer said that “she needs to radically break with her past.”

Who doesn’t? No one will be woke enough to emerge from this process unscathed.

© 2019 by King Features Syndicate

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

LEARN MORE

Most Popular

U.S.

Baby Please Come Back, Says Andrew Cuomo

Then-mayor Mike Bloomberg famously described New York City in 2003 as a “luxury product,” and therefore priced accordingly. The price hasn’t changed, except to go up slightly — taxes, rents, everything. But few would argue that the product New York offers remains first-rate. The theaters are closed. The ... Read More
U.S.

Baby Please Come Back, Says Andrew Cuomo

Then-mayor Mike Bloomberg famously described New York City in 2003 as a “luxury product,” and therefore priced accordingly. The price hasn’t changed, except to go up slightly — taxes, rents, everything. But few would argue that the product New York offers remains first-rate. The theaters are closed. The ... Read More

William Tecumseh Sherman: A Warrior in Full

Statues of William Tecumseh Sherman stand throughout the country, including a striking gilded-bronze one by Augustus Saint-Gaudens outside Central Park in New York City. Reading a biography of Sherman in the context of the current spate of iconoclasm brings home how anyone looks immaculate on a pedestal, or to ... Read More

William Tecumseh Sherman: A Warrior in Full

Statues of William Tecumseh Sherman stand throughout the country, including a striking gilded-bronze one by Augustus Saint-Gaudens outside Central Park in New York City. Reading a biography of Sherman in the context of the current spate of iconoclasm brings home how anyone looks immaculate on a pedestal, or to ... Read More
Economy & Business

What’s an ‘American’ Car?

I’m not too sure about Dmitri’s ode to American cars, because I am not too sure what is an American car. In what sense should a Jeep Compass manufactured in Mexico be thought of as American while a Mercedes GLE made in Alabama isn’t? The answer cannot be corporate ownership: Both companies have ... Read More
Economy & Business

What’s an ‘American’ Car?

I’m not too sure about Dmitri’s ode to American cars, because I am not too sure what is an American car. In what sense should a Jeep Compass manufactured in Mexico be thought of as American while a Mercedes GLE made in Alabama isn’t? The answer cannot be corporate ownership: Both companies have ... Read More
Elections

The Man Who Wasn’t There

At first glance, Joe Biden’s strategy of avoiding the spotlight is paying off. He maintains his consistent lead over Donald Trump in national polls. In June, in the aftermath of the Lafayette Park fiasco, his advantage in the RealClearPolitics average expanded to ten points. The critical swing states of ... Read More
Elections

The Man Who Wasn’t There

At first glance, Joe Biden’s strategy of avoiding the spotlight is paying off. He maintains his consistent lead over Donald Trump in national polls. In June, in the aftermath of the Lafayette Park fiasco, his advantage in the RealClearPolitics average expanded to ten points. The critical swing states of ... Read More