Sunday, August 12, 2018


A lot of people think Elizabeth Warren will be the next president of the United States. I'd be happy to vote for her, but I've long felt that she has a number of hurdles to overcome.

You can argue that only racist yahoos who'd never vote for a Democrat will respond to President Trump's "Pocahontas" name-calling, but I assure you that if she's the nominee, Very Serious mainstream journalists and pundits will remind us that Questions Have Been Raised about whether Warren's career benefited from her claims of Native American ancestry. More than a few swing voters are likely to conclude that she's just another undeserving beneficiary of affirmative action. Not everyone who thinks this way is a rock-ribbed Republican.

Also, I worry that sexists in the anti-Trump electorate (especially its dudebro wing) will find Warren personally unappealing. I think she's feisty and regard her as the most articulate economic populist (in the good sense) that we have. But I fear some male voters will find her "shrill." It sucks, but we're going to have to acknowledge that potential hurdle in 2020 if Democrats nominate a woman.

And now Warren has committed an unforced error. She did it by telling the truth -- a truth you can't utter in American politics without paying a price.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren is facing tough criticism from local police chiefs over her recent remarks about racism and the criminal justice system....

While speaking Aug. 3 at Dillard University, a historically black college in New Orleans, Warren said the criminal justice system is “racist ... front to back.”

The remarks drew a rebuke from Yarmouth Police Chief Frank G. Frederickson, who wrote Friday on the department’s Facebook page that her comments were an “insult.”

He also questioned the sincerity of the condolences Warren offered after Yarmouth police Sergeant Sean Gannon and Weymouth police Sergeant Michael Chesna were shot and killed earlier this year.

“I now cannot trust her actions or words are real,” Frederickson wrote.

He also shared a letter to Warren from Dudley police Chief Steven J. Wojnar, who is president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.

“Labeling the entire criminal justice profession as “racist” spreads false and damaging information about our members,” wrote Wojnar....
This is mild compared to what she'll hear in the general election this year -- and that will be nothing compared to what she'll hear in 2020 if she's a presidential nominee. Trump won't let this go. Fox won't let this go. And the Very Serious crowd in the mainstream press will use it as an excuse to ask whether Democrats are dangerously far to the left -- a favorite mainstream media narrative.

Warren will still win her Senate race this year with little trouble -- she has overwhelming lead over her two most likely challengers. But this won't go away.

She's right, of course -- but she touched an American political third rail. There are truths you just can't utter, or must utter only in careful chosen, cautious words, if you want electoral success outside Blue America.

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