Sunday, November 11, 2018

Historically Literate

The Day of Jubilee has arrived- or so it must have, because racial bias and misogyny have disappeared from American life and politics.

We have it on no less an authority than National Review's senior political correspondent, Jim Geraghty. Last month TIME's Molly Ball and Alana Abramson reported

But when it comes to the party’s presidential nominee in 2020, Avenatti thinks in different terms. “I think it better be a white male,” he says. He hastens to add that he wishes it weren’t so, but it’s undeniable that people listen to white men more than they do others; it’s why he’s been successful representing Daniels and immigrant mothers, he says. “When you have a white male making the arguments, they carry more weight,” he says. “Should they carry more weight? Absolutely not. But do they? Yes.”

Shamelessly (the GOP way), Geraghty responded

Besides shameless and self-serving — par for the course for Avenatti — his argument is historically illiterate. We just had a two-term African-American president! Women have been elected to statewide offices in 49 out of the 50 states. The holdout is that notorious bastion of right-wing misogyny . . . er, Vermont. Forty states have elected minorities to statewide office. The electorate didn’t have a problem with a woman president. The electorate had a problem with that particular woman as president.

Well, of course it's self-serving.  But it is not historically illiterate.

In late October, 2012 Geraghty predicted Mitt Romney would win the popular vote for president and stated it’s also relatively rare for a candidate to win the popular vote and lose the Electoral College. Although I'm unable to confirm it, he appears to have voted twice against presidential nominee Obama. It's fascinating how many individuals who believe Barack Obama's election proved the USA has banished racism chose not to vote for that individual.

I'm less impressed than is Geraghty that after roughly 240 years of a representative democracy, we now have elected women and minorities to statewide office nearly everywhere. Moreover, the exclusion of any female president requires Geraghty to demonstrate that the defeat of Hillary Clinton was completely unrelated to her gender, especially given her emphasis on "breaking the glass ceiling."

Still, the most loathsome portion of Geraghty's claim is that the argument that electing a black as president is a tough slog is "historically illiterate."

Yes, Barack Obama was elected President ten years ago. However, more recently came the nomination by the Republican Party, and election to President, of a guy who built his political career on birtherism, denying that the black President, whose election is claimed to have unshackled us from the curse of racism, had not been born in the USA, hence an illegitimate President. As President, he has continued attacks prompted by animosity toward minorities.

When he launched his presidential campaign, Donald Trump notably referred to Mexican immigrants as "rapists." Time after time candidate Trump made remarks which were ethnically biased, which included one which the usually sycophantic Paul Ryan referred to as "the textbook definition of a racist comment."

“Whoa,” another voice said.

“I did try and f--- her. She was married,” Trump says.

Trump continues: “And I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.’”

“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married,” Trump says. “Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.”

At that point in the audio, Trump and Bush appear to notice Arianne Zucker, the actress who is waiting to escort them into the soap-opera set.

“Your girl’s hot as s---, in the purple,” says Bush, who’s now a co-host of NBC’s “Today” show.

“Whoa!” Trump says. “Whoa!”

“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s.

“Grab them by the p---y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

So let's review. After nearly eight years of GOP rule, dring a period of great economic crisis following a disastrous war, a black Democrat is elected President.  Eight years later, propelled by distrust of immigrants and of racial minorities, an unabashed bigot and proud perpetrator of sexual assault who had denounced the black man is elected President.

This invalidates, in the mind of a prominent National Review journalist, Michael Avenatti's claim that a nominee who is white and male has the best chance of being elected President in 2020. This argument does not make Jim Geraghty himself racist, misogynistic, or sexist. It makes him despicably dishonest.

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