“Is Dis a System?”
What do our liberal, progressive, and socialist acquaintances do when they lose? They cry “No Fair!” and vow to Change The System, of course!
Like the Trump Resistance everywhere, the New York Times insists the System Ain’t Workin’. Russian collusion proved to be a hoax. Impeachment was a big fizzle. The economy is gang busters. Troops are coming home. Meanwhile, the Democrat(ic) presidential candidates are a carnival side show. All of them lose in a theoretical head-to-head with Donald Trump, according to the 12-16-19 USA Today poll.
Columnist David Leonhardt speaks for our nervous acquaintances who fret that none of the candidates on-stage in the December debate are ready for primetime. Who ever elected Tom Steyer to anything? Andrew Yang? Three candidates are in the 70s and — heavens forfend! No blacks or hispanics!
Mayor Pete (we’re too lazy to look up the spelling) was elected in small town with half the votes of a certain conservative blogger for school board in Madison WI who still lost. (RECOUNT!)
Where for instance, are the governors? Leonhardt asks. People like Steve Bullock, Democrat(ic) governor of deep red Montana? Not on the debate stage, that’s for sure. There must be that magic someone behind Door #3 if only THE SYSTEM would let us open it!
Democrats are racist?
Being a good progressive, Leonhardt plays the race card, shaming New Hampshire and Iowa for being “too white.” Never mind that Iowa launched Barack Obama in 2008. Or that Joe Biden is winning South Carolina. (Too black?)
When voters are given the dominant role in choosing a nominee — as with primaries here — only an unrepresentative subset tends to participate, which skews the process. Party leaders, on the other hand, have a big incentive to choose a broadly liked candidate. Just think about American history: Nominees chosen by party leaders have included Abraham Lincoln, both Roosevelts, and Dwight Eisenhower.
“I’m not suggesting we return to the smoke-filled rooms of the past,” Leonhardt avers. “But the current process puts a higher priority on the appearance of democracy than the reality of it.”
Blue smoke and whiskey
Actually, smoke-filled rooms did work pretty well. Harry Truman came out of the humidor, chosen for veep in 1944 by party insiders who knew that FDR was a dead man walking.
History will record that the more Democrats “reformed” the process after the beat-down in 1968 the worse their candidates. George McGovern? Jimmy Carter? Mike Dukakis?
As for Honest Abe — pretty thin resumé: a few terms in the state legislature; a single term in the U.S. House — when compared with his Team of Rivals. William Seward had been governor of New York for two terms and a U.S. senator for 12 years. Salmon Chase was governor of Ohio.
Here’s your damn governors!
For true skeptics of democracy like Leonhardt, “The victory of Donald Trump in 2016 is best understood as a failure of the process.” Yet, the Orange Meanie defeated governors Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Scott Walker. He vanquished U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Lindsay Graham. Each from critical Republican electoral states.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Democracy means that sometimes your side doesn’t win.