Thursday, November 12, 2020

Never Assume A Candidate Wants To Win

A Democratic-leaning political scientist would like a word with the Democratic Party:


The answer is "no."  Bitecofer believes Ossoff (presumably Reverend Warnock, also) should nationalize the campaign, which is to culminate in a vote on January 5, 2021. 

She's probably right that national issues should be featured by the Georgia Democratic Party to excite partisans to move them to vote, which otherwise may be difficult because the presidential election has concluded.  That is what occurred in that presidential race, which ended in Joe Biden gaining more popular votes than any candidate ever. Donald Trump now stands at #2, which did not prevent a Democratic victory. It was a base election, which the Georgia runoff also probably will be.

Bitecofer legitimately believes also that Jon Ossoff may not want to win.  It's impossible to determine because almost no one can know what he, or the Party, has in mind if he loses.  However, a candidate of one of the two major political parties disinterested in winning an election would not be unprecedented.

John McCain may have had no inkling when he selected Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate that she would prove to be an albatross around his neck in November. He may not have realized that courageously telling a supporter at a general election rally that no, Barack Obama is not an Arab, would dampen enthusiasm among Republicans. He may not even have understood that emphasizing that he and Palin are "mavericks" (accurate, within Republican Party politics) would be counter-productive when running against a guy who was aiming to be the first black President ever.

Yet, there is another clue. In a period when we are reminded of the graciousness of each losing presidential candidate to the winner over at least the past few decades, that of John McCain demands particular attention. On November 5, 2008 he stated in his concession speech

I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Sen. Obama believes that, too. But we both recognize that though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to visit — to dine at the White House — was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.

"There is no better evidence," McCain maintained, that "America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time," than "the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States." Barack Obama not only emerged victorious but "has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country."

It's hard to understand the reason even to vote against an individual whose victory he believed illustrated the fairness of the nation and its people. It would have been fair to ask the Arizona senator why he ran against the man whose victory confirmed that this is "the greatest nation on earth"  and whose election was needed to erase the stain of "the cruel and prideful bigotry" characterizing the first half of the 20th century. 

In the absence of concrete evidence to the contrary, issuance by a candidate lauding the election of his opponent must suggest that the loser never intended to win. So if victory in the Georgia runoff is not the highest priority for Jon Ossoff, other Georgia Democrats, or someone well-connected to the state party, they can take solace with the likelihood that twelve years ago, the GOP candidate for the presidency of the USA did not run his own race with steely-eyed determination.


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This  is a reasonable question. If going to a predominantly Jewish neighborhood to harass and intimidate Jewish people at a synagogue is no...