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Julian Castro and Cory Booker (shown above at the Democratic Party presidential primary debate in June), neither of whom polls at more than 2 percent nationally, have intimated that their race is why they haven’t been more successful as presidential candidates — and they apparently have verged on asserting that affirmative-action quotas should apply in electoral politics (if they didn’t fully go there already).
Perhaps I danced on the grave of toxic identity politics prematurely. But hopefully what we’re witnessing now at least is its death throes.
Many are pointing out that all six of the Democratic Party presidential candidates who thus far have qualified to participate in this month’s debate are white.
This is true, and no, this isn’t a great look for diversity, but I’m intrigued as to what the alternatives are.
“What message is that sending, that we heralded the most diverse field in our history, and now we’re seeing people like her [Kamala Harris] dropping out of this campaign, not because Iowa voters had the voice?” Cory Booker said of Harris’ recent withdrawal, adding, “Voters did not determine her destiny.”
Whined Julian Castro, whose last debate qualification was for the October debate, “I did not expect the DNC [Democratic National Committee] to raise the [debate-qualification] thresholds so close to the Iowa caucus, because when you get that close to the caucus, shouldn’t you just let the people vote? You’re already within a couple months. Just let the folks vote.”
“I’m worried that if we have a debate stage without any … racial or ethnic diversity on it, that we’re putting ourselves at a greater risk for failure in November of 2020,” Castro also said.
“I’m a little angry, I have to say, that we started with one of the most diverse fields in our history, giving people pride,” Booker also said, adding, “I don’t understand how we’ve gotten to this place where there’s more billionaires in the race than there are black people.”
Funny that Booker would make that remark, since he and Harris are the top two so-called Democratic presidential candidates to whom billionaires have donated. Yes, Booker knows a thing or two about billionaires — as does Harris, who, while she lamented that she is not a billionaire herself, sure the fuck courted billionaires.
And that, you see, is one of the things that I use to measure a “Democratic” candidate: whether or not he or she is a corporate whore. I do not support corporate whores. The top four “Democratic” candidates beloved by billionaires are, in order, Harris, Booker, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. This makes all of them, in my book, corporate whores.
Why do I have a problem with billionaire sugar daddies giving to aspiring presidents? I have two problems, actually: One, obviously, most billionaires are going to give money only to candidates whom they deem will maintain the socioeconomic status quo; billionaires’ campaign contributions are investments in their own interests. And two, of course a big campaign donor expects something in return, whether something in return ever is explicitly discussed or not. (Quid pro quos are all the rage these days…)
But no, Cory Booker wants us to believe that Kamala Harris dropped out because she’s another victimized black woman, and surely Booker will explain his own imminent demise (he is not expected to make this month’s debate) as due to the fact that he’s another victimized black man.
The DNC’s process for the entry requirements for the debates has been transparent and fair. Dozens of people have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president as a Democrat in 2020. How many of them, exactly, should we allow to participate in nationally televised debates?
Where does the line get drawn? Does it not have to be drawn somewhere?
And yes, the people have spoken. They have been polled by reputable pollsters. They have voted with their dollars.
I refer to the DNC’s debate requirements of a candidate having polled at a certain minimum and having reached a certain number of unique campaign donors, requirements very apparently created to gauge a candidate’s popularity and viability.
I could live with the DNC, the next time around, not making any fundraising benchmarks a requirement for participation in the presidential primary debates, but if we don’t go by at least polling, how else are we going to determine what is a manageable debate stage?
Speaking of polling, right now Castro isn’t pulling even 1.5 percent nationally, and Booker is pulling only 2 percent nationally. When, exactly, were these two bottom-feeders ever magically going to catch on? Whether they want to face it or not, the people just aren’t that into them.
What the likes of Castro and Booker seem to be on the verge of saying is that we should have affirmative-action quotas in our elections (at least our presidential elections, if not all elections) — that is, that members of a certain race or of certain races should have guaranteed spots on the debate stage at all times (Gee, perhaps guaranteed spots on the final general-election ballots, too?), lest the entire process be white supremacist.
How exactly that kind of electoral affirmative action would or could work — and still be democratic — eludes me. If the people get to decide who swims and who sinks, then is it fair to reserve a spot for a black candidate? A Latinx candidate? An Asian candidate? A Native American candidate? (No Pocahontas jokes!) An Arab candidate? A Catholic candidate? A Jewish candidate? A Protestant candidate? An atheist candidate? A gay or lesbian candidate? A transgender candidate? Et. al., et. al., et. al.?
I would love to have our first Latinx president. I’m quite the fan of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Love her. I could see her as president one day. But Julian Castro only has been a mayor and one of Barack Obama’s cabinet members. I like my presidents to at least have been the governor of a state or a U.S. senator (or maybe vice president). I view Castro as unqualified to be president, and I never found him compelling, but to be just yet another milquetoast centrist. But I was supposed to have supported him only because he is Latino?
And Cory Booker has a long history of corporate whoredom. Again, I won’t support a corporate whore for president. That and I’ve always found Booker’s smarmy “Kumbaya” bullshit to be incredibly annoying rehashed Obamanian “hope” and “change” bullshit that stopped working after Obama left the White House, if not before then (yeah, very probably before then…). Was I to have supported Booker only because of his race?
Thing is, to read Booker and Castro whining in the media about their supposed racist mistreatment (and by so doing trying to gaslight the great white masses) — instead of acknowledging that the American people just don’t want them to be president — to me is only yet another sign that neither of them ever should sit behind the big desk in the Oval Office. It’s about the content of their character, not about the color of their skin.
Again, I fully acknowledge that if this month’s Democratic presidential primary debate indeed features all-white candidates — Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren (Tulsi Gabbard, a Pacific islander, and Andrew Yang, an Asian American, may or may not make the stage) — the optics of that certainly couldn’t be called pro-diversity.
But the DNC’s debate qualifications applied to everyone, not just to the white candidates. Were there to have been differing debate qualifications based upon the candidates’ race?
Again, the American people have been voting, so to speak, via the polls and via their campaign donations. The people may not always vote the way that we think they should vote.
But we can’t call it democracy if at the same time we are demanding specific outcomes — such as affirmative-action quotas in electoral politics — before the voting even begins.
The people decide, even if some of us think (perhaps correctly) that the people aren’t sufficiently “woke.”