The Right Resistance: No matter the hype, Democrats’ 2024 primary fight looks great for the GOP
We (or at least the portion of the public that occasionally reads about sports) hear about it all the time, some over-hyped plug for an upcoming game, series, match or tournament, which,
according to the excited voice in the ad, will be the most epic battle ever. The hyperbole is intended to boost interest -- and ticket sales -- where there otherwise might not be any.
This over-the-top promotional quality also translates to politics, where the players are every bit as motivated, mean, nasty, spoiled and self-interested as the participants on a boxing card. Politicians may not have measurements taken and a weigh-in and conduct a joint press conference to trade verbal jabs and insults before the real action starts, but the feelings are comparable.
Such will be the case in 2024 (or likely much earlier, starting as soon as next year) for both parties ahead of the destined-to-be-consequential presidential election. Whereas some disinterested folks, if there are any left, would perfunctorily ask -- didn’t we just have one of those? -- the rest of the people are itching for a chance to change the horrible status quo.
With America steadily spiraling down the proverbial tubes in practically every area that government controls -- and culturally speaking, even in those it supposedly doesn’t touch -- there’s never been more interest in what comes next. With doddering senile president Joe Biden unsurprisingly digging his political grave deeper with each passing public appearance and blatant miscue, members of both parties are forecasting a battle of the ages for their respective nominations.
Republicans have spent much time and energy on their own impending choice, with a large contingent of conservatives and Republicans debating the merits of a Donald Trump 2.0 political career and (hopefully) presidency. But there are several combinations on the Democrat side that would stir equal intensity for GOPers.
How about a Democrat primary race featuring Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg vs. the strolling-disaster-in-heels veep Kamala Harris? Rich Lowry wrote at National Review:
“Nothing [compares] with the glad tidings of a potential showdown between Vice President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to be Biden’s successor in 2024 should he decide not to run for reelection. Surely, there would be other serious candidates in that circumstance, but there is no doubt that Harris and Buttigieg would be high on the list of potential contenders, as various journalistic outfits have noted over the past week....
“Harris flamed out in the 2020 Democratic nomination well before the Iowa caucuses, unable to settle on a message or political identity. Her staff was obsessed with the progressive hothouse of Twitter, which is a powerful device for creating a false sense of what real voters, even Democratic-primary voters, care about...
“If a management consultant were to design a progressive white Democrat in a bottle, the result would look a lot like Buttigieg, himself a former management consultant. It’s become increasingly clear, though, that the Democratic Party’s new base among college-educated voters is a trap if it is pursued to the exclusion of an appeal to working-class voters…”
I would argue that the Democrats’ -- or any party’s -- game plan is never to exclusively target only one “class” of voters, unless you’re talking about the liberals’ literal fixation with branding everyone and everything with a focus group concocted label, herding each living, breathing, human being into a holding pen complete with a sign reading “This way for Voting Group X”.
This strategy has been remarkably successful this century, with Democrats sneaking a good-looking African-American candidate with a feather-light resume and a golden voice into two terms in the White House, then somehow managing to convince a majority of voters (by fraud?) to back a broken down, gaffing old goat with family issues and a tendency to forget things into the same position last November.
Logically speaking, there’re only so many lies a politician or a party can tell and still maintain a modicum of credibility (though a complicit media helps spin the falsehoods into a coherently believable bundle for the uninformed and gullible to consume). One gets the impression Democrats are reaching the end of their run of good fortune. They lucked out last year when Biden, protected by the jealous reporting class, was put forth as the last of a generation of party legends.
Behind Biden was Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, neither of whom could be considered a serious presidential contender in most observers’ book. Sanders was said to be a “message carrier” for the Democrats, but Americans weren’t ready for what he had to say. Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, confiscatory taxation and an end to America’s borders isn’t exactly what people dreamed about.
Lowry pointed out in his piece that Harris didn’t even make it to the primaries two years ago. In fact, she didn’t even make it to Christmas. When Democrat primary voters got a good look at her in the party presidential candidates debates in the summer and fall of 2019, they told pollsters that she wasn’t ready for the big-time. And judging by Kamala’s abysmal performance in her short time as vice president, they were right.
Buttigieg wasn’t ready either. He made headway in a party that was desperate to put a young and fresh -- and gay -- stamp on its exterior, yet below the façade were the same old problems. Identity politics -- in Pete Butt’s case, being homosexual -- can’t disguise a lack of substance. And neither can an impressive academic background, as the now Transportation Secretary owns.
It won’t be different next time, either. Buttigieg shot his political career in the foot by disappearing from public view (on maternity/paternity? leave) at exactly the wrong time, as container ships surrounded U.S. ports like picketers at a protest, with captains anxious to unload their cargoes and head back overseas to wherever they came from. Instead of addressing the problem head-on, Pete Butt preferred talking about feeding his newly adopted twins bottles of baby formula.
And to tout the merits of family leave. Talk about a public relations disaster. Pete’s unannounced two-month vacation from responsibility will cost Buttigieg for the rest of his life.
Lowry put forward the name of newly minted New York City Mayor Eric Adams as the type of candidate Democrats could use, though the new Gotham executive has only been in office a short time and no one can say whether Adams’ overtly pro-law enforcement emphasis would even be palatable to their leftist national party voters. Let’s not forget the pile-on after the George Floyd incident last summer. It took Biden weeks/months to disavow the violence and the rioters.
Democrats are terrified of their own “woke” voters. We saw it in spades after the Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty verdict on Friday. Shameful.
I agree with Lowry that Harris and Buttigieg would be a “dream” for Republicans, but it’s hard to put together a combination of Democrats that would be markedly better than those two for anti-Trump hopefuls. Normally, Sanders would seem to be the next-in-line, though he’s even older than Biden and also regarded as a kook. The party has moved closer to “The Bern’s” brand of socialism, but Democrats would need someone else who isn’t so crusty and angry to articulate it.
The Democrats’ 2020 line-up revealed an astonishing dearth of talent behind Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg and… Harris? Amy Klobuchar was portrayed as “Minnesota nice” (she’s not) and a compromise “moderate” choice, but a candidate like boring Amy won’t lead a movement. What’s she known for? What’s her signature issue? Is there anything in her 30-second “elevator pitch” that stands out from the rest?
Further, Klobuchar is a former prosecutor with disqualifying baggage of her own to the “woke” crowd.
Senator Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren will be 75 in 2024, so it’s highly doubtful she’s the next Democrat savior. The Massachusetts senator is sufficiently wingnut-ish for the Democrat primary voters, but after Biden, they’ll likely put a heavy emphasis on favorable demographics, including age. A fake Native American septuagenarian isn’t likely to make the cut.
Republicans have their own decisions to make, with the GOP primary contest condensed down to a “will he or won’t he” dilemma involving Donald Trump. Unlike the Democrats, however, Republicans have perhaps too many solid contenders to choose from. A potential primary fight could get really ugly if there’s the usual amount of mudslinging, but if Trump isn’t in it, chances are there won’t be as many damaged egos as there were in 2016.
Democrats deserve blame for not developing or nurturing a new generation of leaders with national appeal. Their general preference for ideologues and activists hasn’t led to a strong presence for younger, electable liberals. Doubt this is true? Would any member of “The Squad” be attractive as a presidential candidate? How about Cori Bush? Or Ayanna Pressley? Is there a groundswell of desire for a bald female radical activist to lead the Land of the Free?
No doubt, there will be a healthy dose of overstatement promoting any 2024 primary race in either party. At this point it’s easier to pinpoint the candidates who have no chance -- and both Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg fit the description. Regardless of who the Democrats end up with, he or she will face voter rage over the failed Biden administration. An unenviable position.
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