Culturally and politically, this was a disastrous week for the left. The curious thing is, they don’t even know it.
The two big stories that dominated the last few days, at least in the political sphere, were the Democrat debates and the rape accusations against the president by writer E. Jean Carroll. Both of these quickly soured into debacles
First the debates. If Joe Biden is still the putative front-runner, Thursday night was a sign that the front-runner is seriously poxed. As it stands, the debate might have been his Waterloo: A Morning Consult poll found that his support slipped by 10 percent after his performance, according to The Hill.
If you wanted to find the cause of this, well, pick one. There was a question of whether Biden’s primary opponents were going to be willing to use his opposition to federally mandated school busing — which included working with Southern segregationists — back in the 1970s. The answer was an emphatic “yes.”
Kamala Harris, take it away:
While this is currently being plugged as the Bernard Shaw vs. Michael Dukakis moment of Biden’s campaign, it was far from the only punch the front-runner took. Thirty-eight-year-old Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, who’s been polling in double digits only because numbers below one are usually rendered with a zero and a decimal point before them, managed to get away from his gun-grabbing rhetoric long enough to score a body blow on Biden’s age:
“I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic convention and said it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans,” Swalwell said.
“He was right when he said that 32 years ago. He is still right today,” Swalwell said. “If we are going to solve the issue, pass the torch. If we are going to solve climate chaos, pass the torch. If we want to end gun violence and solve student debt, pass the torch.”
OK, so he didn’t totally get away from gun rhetoric. In fact, he also managed to repeat one of his more dubious claims about so-called “assault weapons” being “the most dangerous weapons,” which should be taken “from the most dangerous people,” while insisting that you could “[k]eep your pistols, keep your rifles, keep your shotguns.”
“Keep your pistols, keep your rifles, keep your shotguns. But we will take the most dangerous weapons.”
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) June 28, 2019
So, if you’re going to take “the most dangerous weapons from the most dangerous people,” you’re going to have to take handguns. But never mind that, because there were gaffes galore on Wednesday and Thursday — and not just NBC’s wretched audio issues.
While there were a few candidates who seemed to improve their standing in the conversation — Sen. Harris and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro seemed to be two of the biggest winners — it was only because of a lack of solid performances otherwise.
And then there was the outright embarrassment that was Marianne Williamson. Oh dear God, was there ever plenty of Marianne Williamson. Please let this woman keep talking, Democrats. America (or at least the GOP) needs more of her.
I could go on ad nauseum, so it’s probably best to move on to the other major debacle of the week, E. Jean Carroll.
For those who haven’t been following the specifics of the story, here’s a general outline: Carroll, a columnist for the women’s magazine Elle and bestselling author, published an excerpt of her new book in New York Magazine in which she claims that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City in the mid-1990s.
Whether or not you believed Carroll’s accusation, at least at first, was pretty much a matter of political Rorschach testing: Your pre-existing beliefs probably determined whether or not you found what she was saying credible.
However, if you were against Trump and still held those beliefs after Carroll’s dumpster conflagration of an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, congratulations: You have managed to fail a Rorschach test:
Carroll claimed she wasn’t victimized: “I was not thrown on the ground and ravaged,” Carroll said. “The word rape carries so many sexual connotations. This was not sexual. It just hurt.”
“I think most people think of rape as a violent assault,” Cooper responded.
“I think most people think of rape as being sexy,” Carroll said in response. “They think of the fantasies.”
And cue a commercial break. Good timing! “You’re fascinating to talk to,” Carroll told Cooper as the show went to break.
Anderson Cooper went straight to commercial right after this comment. pic.twitter.com/hkM7KCYw71
— Cameron Cawthorne (@Cam_Cawthorne) June 25, 2019
This somehow didn’t make her story less believable in the media. Take The New York Times, which compiled pretty much every outré statement Carroll made since the accusation became public — there are a whole lot of them — and declared her an “Anti-Victim” while still backing up her story by publishing the testimonials of friends who say she told them right after it had happened.
One gets the impression the argument is that because she’s less believable, she’s somehow more believable.
She’s described as “the girlfriend who would ride a Yugoslav freighter to Tangier; the plucky author of a popular column who dispensed advice on every aspect of her devoted readers’ lives, from sex to careers, but kept her own struggles private. She is a former Miss Cheerleader USA turned journalist, whose gonzo-style approach led The New York Times in 1981 to call her ‘feminism’s answer to Hunter S. Thompson.’”
Thompson, the famous inventor of “Gonzo journalism” (an individual whom Carroll would later write a biography of), once had his reportage described as the “most accurate and least factual” journalism out there.
I think one, and only one, of these things applies to E. Jean Carroll’s new book, but I again digress.
This was hardly the only piece of media fawning that seemed to insist we take Carroll’s accusations at face value, as if there’s nothing that could possibly convince some individuals that people occasionally lie — even, yes, about sexual assault — and that we might be able to distinguish these liars through their public behavior.
Beyond the debates and Carroll, there were also plenty of embarrassments for Democrats on the cultural front, too. I can’t believe we’re talking, as a culture, about knitting social media site Ravelry. But talking about them it are, since its administrators apparently believe that any support for Donald Trump represents “white supremacy” and must be extirpated from the platform.
We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry. We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. More details: https://t.co/hEyu9LjqXa
— Ravelry (@ravelry) June 23, 2019
And then there was Apple, which apparently was looking toward removing free speech-centric social media app Parler from the iOS App Store unless Parlet banned certain types of “offensive” speech; the CEO said that that “by offensive they mean conservative content.”
Whether or not that’s true I have no idea, but it certainly wasn’t a particularly good look when Parler is getting slow-rolled by the tech giant when almost no other social media platform gets this kind of treatment.
There was also the continuing controversy over the fact that the NBA decided the word “owner” was a bit too politically incorrect for the league. This discussion seemed to be inspired by a comment from Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green during an appearance on LeBron James’ HBO show last year and snowballed into the current state of things.
And so then this went viral:
Draymond Green, who said he found the word owner racially insensitive and helped to lead the NBA to refer to all team owners as governors now, says he’s an owner of a business in his Twitter bio. You can’t even make this stuff up. pic.twitter.com/L04BOQrms5
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 25, 2019
And yet, all of this doesn’t seem to feel like a disaster to the left — which almost compounds it.
This week was basically a case of the left doing the dirty work for Trump:
Liberals reminded America how intellectually bankrupt and tired their front-runner is and how far to the left his challengers are.
They reminded people that any accusation against Trump, particularly if it involves sexual assault, will be treated as though it should be believed no matter what credibility problems the accuser might have.
They reminded conservatives that social media and popular culture are both arrayed against them.
What’s worse for their side, they don’t realize they’re doing any of these things.
This is how Donald Trump got elected in 2016. It could be how he wins in 2020, as well.
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