FLOTSAM & JETSAM: Why liberals lose elections

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Why liberals lose elections

Sam Smith - I'm no fan of Joe Biden but the current uproar over a few hugs and kisses he gave in public offers more than a hint that we may be once again on our way to another liberal election disaster. I was raised on the local politics of Philly, Boston and DC where few politicians were worth emulating or admiring. You supported them to get something done - not the way you might pick a pastor for your church. And as noted here before, LB Johnson and Adam Clayton Powell got more good legislation passed in less time than almost anyone in our history but you wouldn't want either one of them near your daughter.

True, I helped to start two third parties - the DC Statehood Party and the national Green Party - but unlike many members of the latter group I thought of them as instruments for new policies, not in order to get two percent of the vote in a national campaign. And it's worked: 80% of DC residents now support statehood and many of the current Democratic presidential candidates are echoing ideas pushed by the Greens for years.

 It would be great if we could win -  as some 600 Socialist mayors did before WWI -  but the rules aren't like that any more. And so, you have to treat politics as a battlefield and not as a religion that proves your virtue.

As things stand now, Joe Biden is the candidate who shows the best chance of beating Trump in non-blue states where the election will be decided. To reject him for the way he kissed some hair or lips is to play right into the goals of a guy who not only has abused women much of his life, but wants to do away with national healthcare, dump immigrants into concentration camps and turn the Supreme Court into a major anti-democratic force.

Is Biden my choice? No, but if he wins the nomination I'll support him just as I backed Hillary Clinton despite the fact that three of her close business partners went to prison and the real estate hustle she and her husband ran caused over 50% of the purchasers to lose their lots. She was, however, running against Donald Trump.

I hope one or more of the other Democratic candidates  will show surprising strength and change the game, but I also don't want Trump to win again because of a handful of misplaced hugs. Liberals have to learn that politics is not where you prove how noble you or your candidate are, but what will be the best way to get some good things done.