Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Most Important Moment of the Democratic Primary Debates

The Author breaks down the most essential sound bite of the first 2020 presidential debates and several runners-up. Spoiler: it’s not a good look.

At the second 2020 Democrat presidential debate televised on June 27, Americans were treated to a very revealing glimpse inside the boundless ego of the party. This revelation didn’t come in the form of non-politician Andrew Yang’s game-changing tie-less aesthetic, chucking tradition to the wind and implicitly lampooning the pretense of looking presentable in the wholly selfish pursuit of power—which any self-respecting authoritarian will wield to silence or further marginalize one’s opponents. Speaking of Yang, the moment didn’t even come in the curious decision of the Democratically aligned NBC showrunners to mute the microphone of one of the three ethnically non-Caucascian candidates represented between both nights, not even four years after it came to the public’s attention that one of these debates was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.

As silly as it was, the candidates’ bid to appear more ethnic than their competitors by speaking Spanish—in the case of Pete Buttigieg—or by slipping into an exaggerated black or Latino voice—in the case of half-Jamaican Kamala Harris—did not mark the highlight of the night’s festivities. If the constituents of these elites weren’t so committed to defacing innocuous text-based posters as “hate speech”, maybe the Democrat candidates could loosen up a little, resting assured that, contrary to rumor, it really is okay to be white.

The epiphany did not come in the form of millennial Congressman Eric Swalwell’s humorously transparent ploy to turn “Pass the torch” into a meme, because Democrats apparently have a problem with enabling politicians who’ve hardly or never worked in the private sector to rule over them in perpetuity. Pass the popcorn, Eric. You have no place in this race.

I speak not of the increasingly banal and unscientific Democrat cliché of “kids being put in cages” or “separated” from “their parents”, neither charge of which packs much rhetorical punch considering the snakes’ deafening silence on this reality during the Obama presidency; on the extra-constitutional court orders that have wrought such inefficacy in border enforcement; and on the fact that the President, via executive order, has objectively done more to rectify supposed separation than Congress. Never ones to pass up a tacky talking point, the Democrats repeated these buzzwords often and without a hint of irony.

I’m not even referring to the moment when all ten candidates firmly raised their hands in favor of taxpayer funding for illegal immigrants’ health insurance, thus signaling with startling clarity the abject dearth of diversity in a party that pompously defines itself by that very concept. The Republican primary debates were never this boring to watch; Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush didn’t symbolize the same type of Republicanism as Rick Santorum, who likewise didn’t have much in common with Rand Paul, who differs in personality and priorities from fellow conservative Ted Cruz.

The show’s core takeaway didn’t even surface when the eminently privileged Harris, who identifies as “black” yet has slaveowner ancestry and lived in Canada for the majority of her youth, mounted a long-winded and confusing indictment of Joe Biden as a Racist. Perplexingly, she argued this case not because the VP once boasted that his running mate, being black, nonetheless practiced good hygiene, spoke articulately, and wasn’t ugly, but because he once opposed the unpopular policy of mandatory desegregation busing, to her irreparable detriment as a kindergartner… or something. Coincidentally, Harris has made clear in the past just how important she thinks going to public school is; in 2010, she amusingly spoke out in favor of a law to arrest parents of children who continually played hooky, giggling at the concept. Also, she notes, Biden was friends with multiple segregationists, who happened to be Democrats. Oops.

No, the most crucial, exemplary, and damning line of the whole debate went to Harris in a different scenario, one that many commentators simply laughed away as some necessary levity in a night of heated passions and poor choices, rhetorically speaking. After Bernie Sanders concluded a yelling screed about some inequality of outcome or another, as he does, Harris took a long time to speak up when called upon, allowing other Democrats to try to interject. She then slapped her peers on the wrist in a ready-made viral marketing clip, saying, “Hey guys, you know what, America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table.”

Harris’ retort raises eyebrows for a couple reasons, neither of them being that it was particularly funny. For one, the canned precision of the line suggests that she thought of it ahead of time, which would disqualify it from being graciously considered a gaffe. Did she stutter? In showing such foresight, Harris proved herself to be the campaigning inferior of Biden, who spares as little thought to his spontaneous humor as he does to his policy statements and thus earns the privilege of never being taken too seriously. More damaging than the premeditation of Harris’s “joke” was the blunt admission nestled therein of how the Democrat Party sees itself and the government’s purpose.

In a bygone time, the progressive Left may have prided (or whored, depending on political ambitions) themselves on their eagerness to use other working people’s money to proffer assistance mainly to those disadvantaged citizens who, for one reason or another, cannot obtain work or cannot help themselves. “The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight,” said the progressive Republican Theodore Roosevelt. To rely on taxpayers extensively for subsistence when one was perfectly capable of raising it oneself would have been cause for shame and personal indignity.

Not 30 years ago, Democrats willing to haggle with the opposing party would echo this basic sentiment: that government putting food on the table should be a temporary evil, if a necessary one. In a news conference on the welfare reform legislation he signed, Bill Clinton once said, “A long time ago I concluded that the current welfare system undermines the basic values of work, responsibility and family, trapping generation after generation in dependency and hurting the very people it was designed to help. Today we have an historic opportunity to make welfare what it was meant to be: a second chance, not a way of life.” Even though Clinton vetoed the bill twice and signed the final draft in spite of personal objections, it’s hard to imagine any politically viable Democrat today describing the welfare state in such terms as he did.

Harris’ line, coupled with the ecstatic applause from the sycophantic media, reframes government as the rightful breadwinner of every American household tuning into the debate. It is no longer the charge of the state to provide for those who have no means of providing for themselves, but to provide through theft and coercion a baseline standard of comfortable living to all persons residing in the United States, citizen or alien, able-bodied or handicapped. Gone is the Democrat Party that cloyingly advocated for a “safety net” in case hard-working Americans fell upon hard times, for it has been gutted and replaced by a “democratic socialist” purveyor of Medicare for all, “free” college, artificially inflated wages, subsidized abortions for female-to-male transgender individuals, and even unconditional universal basic income.

Making this pandering all the more condescending, some of the Democrat hopefuls have alluded to the defects of centralized government food programs while pushing for them unapologetically. Bernie Sanders infamously lauded food lines in socialist Nicaragua, downplaying the connection between agricultural nationalization and food shortages by saying, “That’s a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food; the rich get the food and the poor starve to death.”

With such classist and identitarian lenses setting the tone of the 2020 presidential race, it’s no wonder that the current ringleaders of the Democrat Party feel that their social and intellectual subordinates are unfit to attain the most basic form of self-reliance and must be made dependent on involuntary benefactors to get their bread. If the trendy, über-socialist, intersectional wing of the Democrat Party does manage to seize the reins away from Uncle Joe, then voters will have a very easy decision to make in 2020: would they rather keep the system that trusts them to put food on their own tables, or trust the federal government to do the same? What could go wrong?

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