Friday, December 28, 2018


Vanity Fair's David Drucker says that Republicans would love to run against Elizabeth Warren:
Without naming names, I asked several senior Republican insiders which Democrat, or Democrats, at the top of the opposition ticket would most reassure them about 2020. Without exception, Elizabeth Warren, the 69-year-old progressive senator from Massachusetts, topped every wish list. “There’s a lot of Hillary Clinton in her,” said a veteran Republican operative in D.C. who hails from the Midwest and keeps a close eye on the heartland. “She’s elitist and doesn’t appear very nimble. It would be hard for her to expand her base or reach directly into Trump’s base.”
Why is Elizabeth Warren too "elitist" to beat Trump? She's from humble Oklahoma roots. She's professorial at times, but so was Barack Obama, who convincingly beat the Republicans twice. Why does she seem beatable to them?

These insiders also named Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders as beatable. Drucker says that their reasoning is that America is "a center-right country." But Sanders demonstrated a lot of appeal in 2016, though he may not be able to sustain it in 2020 if he runs (and might not have been able to sustain it in a 2016 general election). Why did polls show him doing better than Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump throughout the spring of 2016? Sometimes I think it's because his accent makes him sound uneducated, and, thus, "regular," as my late mother might have put it. But that still doesn't explain why Obama broke through.

Now, who are these Republican insiders claiming to fear?
... if there’s a key aspect to the fear Beto O’Rourke inspires in some Republicans, it’s the outgoing Texas congressman’s combination of sunny disposition and 21st-century social media agility. Sure, he’s unabashedly progressive, but to borrow a phrase from Vice President Mike Pence: He’s not angry about it. Nor, as it happens, does O’Rourke look down upon so-called heretics, or, if you prefer, “deplorables.”
... former Vice President Joe Biden was cited as among the few Democrats who many Republicans believe might dispatch the incumbent with relative ease. Is Biden progressive? Absolutely. Gaffe-prone? Duh. But he is the antithesis of Trump, with the added benefit that he’s been vetted before, and passed muster. “He wreaks calmness and normalcy, which I feel like people crave over the chaos of the Trump administration,” a Republican strategist headquartered in the Southwest said.
Biden exudes calmness? Seriously? And he's not really normal -- but he is, again, "regular." He seems to have a rapport with "ordinary" (read: older white) people.

O'Rourke too? I guess so, despite the fact that he comes off as someone who might easily be painted as an elitist. I spotted this quote in a Jonathan Chait piece about the Bernie-Beto wars.
“Reading Karl Marx is cool,” said Nomiki Konst, a Sanders loyalist and candidate for New York City public advocate, to NBC. “Doing a livestream while you’re doing your laundry is a gimmick.”
But apparently people like O'Rourke because he livestreams his laundry, or his steering-wheel drumming while listening to "Baba O'Reilly."

But why do no women make the cut? I think a surprising percentage of our fellow citizens like Homer Simpson-y qualities in men -- Biden's gaffes, O'Rourke's boy-man skater affect. They want men to be serious when necessary, but this stuff makes them seem relatable.

I don't think women get cut any slack in that way. They can't be gaffe-prone or shambolic or immature -- and yet when they seem too much like the grownups in the room (Warren, Gillibrand, Hillary Clinton), they're punished for it.

Or who knows? Maybe the public will surprise us and rally around a candidate whose appeal the experts can't grasp. I'd like that.

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