Serious Media Very Concerned Elizabeth Warren Is So Awesome She'll Help Re-Elect Trump
Elizabeth Warren had a kickass moment at Thursday's CNN Equality Town Hall. She stood up for marriage equality and didn't coddle bigots. The exchange quickly went viral because it's AWESOME. So naturally, the dude punditry has arrived to mansplain why Warren exciting voters is a bad thing and will ensure Donald Trump wins a second term.
These people think anything Democrats do will re-elect Trump. If Democrats advocate for progressive policies, that'll re-elect Trump. If Democrats don't simply dismiss the rabid bigotry of Trump's supporters as a charming eccentricity, that'll also re-elect Trump. These are the primaries. Candidates are supposed to appeal to their party's base, not lecture them on the merits of incrementalism.
Candidate Trump had more than a few "flaws" in 2016, and the media shamelessly enabled them. That didn't help Hillary Clinton, who you might notice isn't currently president. On Mediaite, John Ziegler argues that Warren's "mic drop" moment was actually "contemptuous" of people (i.e. "bigots") who disagree with her that gay people have rights.
Now, allow me to retort: "So what?" Republicans are openly contemptuous of liberals and routinely insult entire states like California and New York. Trump called Baltimore "disgusting," and no one's worried about this costing him the election. They apparently don't even believe his actual crimes will affect his chances. No, Liz was mean to white men -- most of whom will never vote her or any Democrat -- and that'll cost Democrats Florida and Pennsylvania, where white men roam proud and free.
I think at least a couple people on Warren's campaign can count. They know their candidate can win without Florida and Pennsylvania. Clinton was only 38 electoral votes shy of 270. Warren would just need to hold every 2016 Clinton state and flip Maine's 2nd congressional district, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona -- yes, Arizona -- where she's tied with Trump. This still puts Trump on the defensive in Ohio, North Carolina, and other must-win swing states for him. Warren isn't going to kiss any white man's ass but Mr. Warren's. But the Washington Post insists she needs to pucker up, buttercup.
The Post article quotes Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, who advised Bill Clinton's 1996 campaign. Sheinkopf claims that Warren's remarks are "a battle cry for men to turn out against" her. He obviously means white men because minority men aren't voting in large numbers for Trump. Sixty percent of white men voted for Republicans during the blue wave midterms. White men can run red lights to the polls next year but they can't vote against Warren more than once no matter how much she hurts their feelings. Pundits can't even pretend that Warren might actually know what she's doing. She's going to stand up to bullies, not just offer them her lunch money so they'll maybe consider leaving us alone (they won't). If she inspired young queer people who voted third party in 2016 or just stayed home, that's better politically than doing her best Ellen DeGeneres impression so "good" conservatives will pat her on the head. She's not in this for white men to like her. She's in this to win, and she'll do it without white men. That scares the hell out of the demo that killed disco.
Throughout the past two years of this American Horror Story, we were told that Republicans are terrified of Trump because he controls the GOP base. It's a small percentage of total US voters, but Republicans can't win without them so they pretend they just haven't read his latest racist tweet. Trump has weaponized the power of the primary. Democrats haven't. Trump is like the Riddler — he'd be unstoppable if he wasn't compelled to leave taunting clues to his crimes.
It's probably not because he laments the lack of "civility" in politics. I think he realizes that a Democratic president who doesn't spend her time groveling to supposed "swing voters" in "middle America" might pose a real threat. Hell, they might even get some shit done.
I now leave you with this video of Elizabeth Warren getting her electable on.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.