Saturday, October 26, 2019

Niche Issues

In Bill Maher's "New Rule" segment on Friday, he argued, persuasively and correctly that too few Democrats understand that politics is "binary". If you understand that Donald Trump is a danger to the USA, the only choice is to vote for his Democratic opponent. However, on the way there, he knocked two- Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren- of the party's leading presidential contenders for foolish policies when, beginning at 1:01 of the video below, he maintains

The question Democrats must ask themselves is "What would make a voter say "Trump's right- I don't like him, but I don't have a choice?"

Well,let's go down the list. Bernie Sanders says we should let the Boston Marathon bomber vote. Why? Is there a great clamor to give deranged serial killers more of a voice in civil society? Is Hannibal Lechter thinking "I love Trump for his narcissistic personality disorder but Sanders really gets voters like me?

Now, I'm sure you can make an argument for this but we're trying to win an election here and this just feeds into what Trump is selling.

(Plays video of Trump on three occasions calling Democrats "crazy.")

Hey, Democrats, don't make Trump believable on that, and you win.

Elizabeth Warren has not come out in favor of imprisoned serial killers voting but she does want taxpayers to cover sex-change operations in prison- which brings up the question, if you tried, could you come up with a policy with more third rail buzzwords in it? Let's see: taxpayer sex change funded for prisoners.

I don't think you could. And again, where are the votes in this? You know how many transgender people there are in federal prisons in America? 473. And they can't vote.

That actually is close to Warren's pledge to

direct the Bureau of Prisons to end the Trump Administration’s dangerous policy of imprisoning transgender people in facilities based on their sex assigned at birth and ensure that all facilities meet the needs of transgender people, including by providing medically necessary care, like transition-related surgeries, while incarcerated.

That is probably a bad policy. Moreover, Maher nails it when he notes that more significantly it favorably affects virtually no one- 473 at the most, he contends- and gives Donald Trump an opening to claim she is "crazy." There simply is no upside.

Similarly, Sanders' support for allowing the Boston Marathon bomber to vote has no constituency.  At an April town hall, the Vermont senator was asked whether such individuals as sex offenders or terrorist Dzokhar Tsarnaev should be allowed to vote, wherein he responded

Yes, even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, 'Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote. Well, that person did that. Not going to let that person vote,' you're running down a slippery slope.

When Americans hear "sex offenders," they don't think of victimless crimes. And they do not envision prostitutes or someone caught exposing himself in the vicinity of an adult. They think of rapists and child pornographers. So if asked whether inmates should be allowed to vote- which generally they should- there is no reason not to respond "yes, except for murderers, rapists, terrorists, and sex offenders." Details can be worked out by a President Sanders. But there is virtually no constituency crying out for incarcerated terrorists, sex offenders, or trans-gendered individuals to vote. 

There are other issues on which Democrats have foolishly stuck their necks out, including reparations for slavery. The nominee will be running against an incumbent whom most blacks believe is a racist and whom roughly 10% support. Any black voter who would be eager to vote for the Democratic candidate because he/she supports reparations already is determined to vote against Donald Trump.

There are bold initiatives, such as on health care, which Democrats- such as Sanders and Warren have- can advocate, and which would benefit a very wide swath of voters. However, on boutique issues, such as those Bill Maher cites, Democrats should not be crazy, or appear to be. They also should not be foolish, nor appear to be.

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