My turn, Bruce LaRue: Democrats embrace connection to fringe

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 1, 2020

By Bruce LaRue

The Democrats do not deserve to win in November, for several reasons.

First and foremost, what they are doing to Joe Biden is shameful and despicable. Despite full knowledge of the nature and extent of his impairment — no longer amusing but pathetic — they hope to ride an injured horse to their destination, at which time they will walk away, leaving him for the carrion birds.

Biden has been a loyal foot soldier in the Democratic army for many years; he deserves to ride away with dignity, not propped up until he miraculously wins the presidency, at which time he will almost certainly be replaced via the 25 Amendment by someone already rejected by the voters, but more to the liking of the dysfunctional establishment.

Perhaps Biden is all right with this arrangement because he finally gets to be president, if only for a couple of months. On the other hand, he may be unaware of his party’s machinations, but his family and friends know. Either way, shame all over them for bartering an old man’s dignity for favor and influence.

Another reason Democrats do not deserve to win is poor leadership. Both parties suffered from ineptitude at the highest levels in 2016, with Republicans benefiting from the old better-to-be-lucky-than-good axiom. As a result of former Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus’s fecklessness and inability to rein in his overcrowded field of candidates, I and people like me found ourselves holding our noses as we voted for a rude, boorish ogre solely to preserve a right-leaning Supreme Court.

In the last 60 years, the Democrats have, for the most part, put forward young, attractive, affable presidential candidates including John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter were helped along by circumstances brought about by events and conditions during their respective times.

The leadership abandoned that proven strategy in 2016 in favor of a not-so-affable candidate presumably because it was her turn. Not only did they lose, they lost to Donald Trump, whose candidacy should have resembled that of Mike Bloomberg. And yet, thanks to poor leadership that allowed as many as 17 candidates on the stage at one time, Trump won.

The Democrats had a golden opportunity to win in 2020 with Beto O’Rourke. Young, attractive, and likable, he brings the added bonus of that Bobby Kennedy aura. Most important, he was their only chance of winning Texas and its 38 electoral votes. By flipping Texas, Democrats are back in The White House. Why did leadership not haul Beto into the back room and have some Henry Higgins type teach him to walk and talk like a moderate?

They seem more inclined to try to connect with their fringe, where Beto is not a good fit: too male, too white, too straight, too likable, not angry enough and not the right kind of different. The problem is, the fringe support is composed of activists from various groups that will never be satisfied because they only know how to be angry, bitter and disruptive.

They stand at the gates, shaking the bars, shouting, “Let us in! Let us in!” Upon being told they are already in, they pause, then begin shaking the bars, shouting, “Let us out! Let us out!” They are chronically disgruntled and terminally grumpy.

Speaking of Bernie Sanders, the independent-turned-Democrat found himself jostled out of the Democratic primary in 2016 by some sketchy practices at the upper levels of the Democratic National Committee. He did not protest strongly, and I suspect he did not actually want to be president, nor does he now. Sanders is an agitator, not a leader.

Agitators can become leaders in third-world countries and banana republics, but not in the White House. Unable to deliver what he promised to the fringe, Sanders would become the winner of their discontent. He knows that. Moreover, most American voters, including independents and moderates, do not want to be incited. We want strong, competent leaders with a positive message and vision. It’s simple math: There are not enough fringe people to elect a fringe person to the presidency.

Meanwhile, after pitching Beto overboard the DNC did its best to nudge Tulsi Gabbard into steerage and keep her there. It is as though the aging, unattractive, dislikable, venomous step-siblings are trying to keep Cinderella from attending the ball. Gabbard comes across as a moderate, able to get her message out there without finger-wagging, snarling, incoherent babbling, or a nagging, fingernails-across-the-chalkboard voice. The militant feminist fringe that detests men simply for being men will no doubt resent Gabbard’s overall pleasantness. If men like her, that is reason enough to dislike her. Fine. Now they are stuck with two men, and, with Sanders fading, they have placed all their eggs in one basket case. Well played, DNC. Well played.

Bruce LaRue lives in Mount Ulla.