Right On: Democrats throw female and minority candidates under the bus

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — Hypocrisy seems to come with the territory when it comes to politics. Hypocritical politicians abound on both the right and the left. But today’s Democrats are playing with fire as they abandon candidates drawn from their core identity politics constituencies.

Long the mainstay of Democratic Party strategy, identity politics reached new heights in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright introduced Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally saying, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” Standing next to her, Clinton and 2020 presidential hopeful Cory Booker cheered.

Bemoaning Clinton’s subsequent loss, Salon columnist Amanda Marcotte blamed male Democrats who wouldn’t vote for Clinton, calling them “fake socialists and jackass mansplainers.” (Note: her hyperlink post uses vulgar language.)

Men supporting Bernie Sanders during 2016’s Democratic primaries were called “Bernie bros” for their supposed misogynistic opposition to Clinton. No attempt men made to explain why they preferred Sanders’ policies silenced the identity politicians.

Playing the gender card was also standard practice during Clinton’s run against Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries. The Obama camp shot back, routinely calling Clinton supporters racists. Conservatives sat back and enjoyed the spectacle of Democrats tarring each other with racial and gender epithets.

Nobody wins in a mudslinging contest.

A clear takeaway from Democratic campaigns up and down the ballot was unflinching support for female and minority candidates. Any within the party who failed to do so were accused of underlying bigotry and ostracized accordingly.

But 2018 has seen a hypocritical sea change in Democratic Party politics. Take a look at who’s supporting straight white males in 2018.

Cynthia Nixon, an LGBT female, is hoping to become New York’s first governor from either category. She ought to be a slam dunk since she’s running to unseat Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a straight white male. Furthermore, the New York Times calls Cuomo tainted by an aide’s corruption trial.

Yet the Democratic establishment came down squarely on Cuomo’s side. Hillary Clinton enthusiastically endorsed Cuomo, reserving a place for herself in Madeleine Albright’s vision of hell. New York’s Democratic Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand also endorsed Cuomo despite the fact that she’s started a political action committee whose announced purpose is to support women running for office.

In New York State’s 14th Congressional District primary, Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset incumbent machine politician Rep. Joe Crowley. Sen. Gillibrand endorsed Crowley; Clinton will need to save Gillibrand a spot in gender politics hell.

In Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has endorsed pro-life candidate Brad Ashford over Kara Eastman, a pro-choice female.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez was indicted by the Obama administration for corruption and subsequently “severely admonished” by the Senate ethics committee and ordered to return “gifts.” Nonetheless, The New York Times reports that “every major Democratic power broker in the state quickly endorsed Mr. Menendez for re-election in 2018.”

These endorsements chased African-American Michael Starr Hoffman, a former Obama and Clinton staffer, out of the Democratic primary. Lisa McCormick stayed in the race, polling almost 40 percent of the votes. But lacking the endorsements of Democratic heavyweights, she fell short.

Is it too much to hope that Democratic Party leaders have discovered that identity politics is both divisive and a political dead end? Or have they cynically thrown candidates from their core female and minority constituencies under the bus in favor of running more electable candidates?

Democrats have valid reasons for backing these straight white male candidates. In each of these races, the female and minority candidates ran to the left of Democratic incumbents, advocating socialist positions like free college, “Medicare for All” and much higher minimum wages.

As a conservative, I’m all in favor of Democrats continuing their sprint ever-farther to the left, running candidates who are increasingly out of touch with mainstream American voters. Nonetheless, I would hope that qualifications and policy positions, not identity politics, form the basis for selecting all candidates in both parties.

In 2018, the Democratic establishment’s candidate endorsements are glaringly at odds with all we’ve heard from the party for years. The hypocrisy is stunning.

When Democrats run female and minority candidates, Republican opponents are routinely labeled misogynists or racists. But when a white male gets the Democratic nod, Democrats discard all the identity politics rhetoric.

To their credit in 2016, both Sanders and The New York Times took firm stands against identity politics, saying it was time to move back to the substantive economic issues that were the party’s core identity in decades long past.

So are Democrats wedded to identity politics or not? The next test will come in the 2020 elections.

Prediction: If the party’s presidential candidate is female or a minority, watch hypocrisy meters go off scale.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Steve July 19, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Sierer is behaving like a common shill writing tripe such as this to distract from the crimes that Donald Trump is perpetrating on the USA.

    • John July 19, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      cough up the proof stevie the shill.. c’mon boy.. spit it out, you got something that mueller doesn’t have.. spit it out or shut the hell up!

    • comment July 19, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      Steve is a blow hard.

    • Chris July 19, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      Steve O, if that’s you calm down. You are turning red and I can feel the heat from here.

  • comments July 19, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Howard, you should just rename your weekly column “why libruls are bad”.

    • comment July 19, 2018 at 11:40 pm

      Hahaha… to bad you can’t be this objective when ol Eddy spills his hate. Surprised you haven’t gone on a bigoted bashing spree on the religious post… sure it’s coming. You are predictable

      • John July 20, 2018 at 8:34 am

        He’s not nearly as predictable as you ,curmudgeon!

  • LocalDad July 20, 2018 at 8:41 am

    this was about Democrates playing identity politics… … …

  • bikeandfish July 20, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Likely time to tune out partisans like Howard given its a big election. Folks on the far left and far right will be tossing grenades from their shallow fox holes from now until November.

    • John July 20, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      The know it all strikes again…hahahahahahahaha!

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