subscribe: Posts | Comments      Facebook      Email Steve

Iowa: A wrap-up


Back in November, here on my blog, I formally endorsed Mayor Pete for President of the United States. So I couldn’t be more pleased at how well he did in the Iowa Caucus. We still don’t know whether he won the raw vote, or a majority of the delegates, or what; but even if Sanders edges him out at the last minute, Mayor Pete’s performance in Iowa has indeed shocked the world. From Hong Kong to London, Capetown to Montreal, Tokyo to Auckland, they’re saying “Wow. A gay man might be the Democratic nominee for president of the U.S.”

There’s a long way to go before the party decides on its nominee, though. Most people I know who follow politics think that Mayor Pete will not be the nominee. He may have won Iowa, they say, but he’s unlikely to win New Hampshire, where Sanders is surging, and where even Biden is ahead of Mayor Pete. As for South Carolina, Mayor Pete is doing dismally. Even Tom Steyer is beating him. Pete might get a little bounce in the Palmetto State after Iowa, but it seems unlikely he’ll do well there. South Carolina has a lot of Black voters, and there’s a lot of homophobia in that community. There’s also this meme that Mayor Pete somehow underperformed with respect to Black people in South Bend when he was Mayor. Even some Black leaders in South Bend have criticized him. If Mayor Pete can’t garner tremendous support from Black voters, he can’t beat Trump in November.

But I think Black voters are strategic. They understand the importance of getting rid of the monster in the White House. They may not have the same enthusiasm for Mayor Pete, or any other current Democratic candidate for president, as they had for Obama, who was the candidate of a lifetime; but I have to believe they’ll rally around whomever the candidate is. Black voters are realistic. They know you can’t always get the candidate you might prefer. When the choice is between the Democrat and Donald J. Trump, I hope and expect they’ll do the right thing.

A friend here in Oakland, a Black woman who’s active in politics, told me yesterday she was glad that, in his live appearance after the Iowa Caucus, Pete didn’t kiss his husband, Chasten. My reply was, “Well, he will, eventually.” It would be phony for Mayor Pete to refrain from such a public display of affection with his significant other. Why shouldn’t he kiss his spouse? All the straight candidates do. As great as it is that a gay man has gotten this far, we still have a long way to go. If you don’t believe it, watch T.V. Car commercials, cruise ship commercials, pharmaceutical commercials—they never show same-sex couples.

I’m surprised Klobuchar didn’t do better in Iowa. She’s a really good candidate. She has the best smile in politics. I don’t think anyone dislikes her. She’s sunny, positive, smart and, as she says, she’s won every election she’s been in, including in red districts. I suspect she’s running for Vice President. Buttigieg-Klobuchar? That would be something.

And now, we have the end-game we’ve all seen coming for a year: Trump triumphant, holding up newspapers with “ACQUITTED” headlines, as if he was Truman showing that infamous Chicago Tribune headline “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN” after the 1948 election. Trump is no Truman. The scuttlebutt this morning is that House Democrats might still subpoena Bolton. That would be great, but what is there to be gained? Even Senate Republicans, like Lamar Alexander, concede that Trump did it. “It was crossing the line,” Alexander said, of the attempted Zelensky bribe. Of course, that didn’t stop Alexander from voting to acquit.

If I were Pelosi or Schumer or the other senior Democrats who plan strategy, I wouldn’t give up. They should continue to be nudniks to Trump, to use an old Yiddish word. Why, at this point? First, because it annoys the crap out of Trump, and it’s fun to annoy him. Secondly, because Trump really has gotten away with High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Democrats would be remiss in their oath to the Constitution if they don’t press on, and on, and on, as long as they have breath. Third, because the majority of the American people who know that Trump did something really, truly wrong continues to grow, and reminding those people of Trump’s crimes must remain a top priority for Democrats.

Whomever the Democratic nominee is, he or she will have to go toe-to-toe with Trump, not only on policy issues, but on Trump’s unfitness for office. The American people already are primed to believe that: they need to be reminded, over, and over, and over.

Leave a Reply


Recent Comments

Recent Posts