This chorus was bound to get a rendition (or three hundred and sixty seven renditions) from self-proclaimed ‘moderates’, ‘liberals’ and other assorted centrists, once the US Presidential Election did not become the landslide Joe Biden victory the Democratic National Committee promised.
Any time the given wisdom that “centrism is the safest option” is undermined by events in the real world, centrist politicians and media people will be very quick to find anyone or anything else to blame. With Biden, at best, limping to the sparsest of victories, and possibly tumbling to another Democrat defeat by Donald Trump (of all people!), since last night there has been much finger-pointing by centrists. All of them have involved laying the blame squarely at the door of ABJB (Anyone-But-Joe-Biden), but I think I have stumbled upon the worst example. Michael Cohen, journalist for the Boston Globe, had this extraordinary excuse; –
Just stop and think about the breathtaking arrogance required to attempt such a blame-shift. Cohen is saying that the Democrats have the right to expect all the left-leaning support at every Election, and for all the right-leaning support to be too small to challenge their good, safe, reliable centrist candidate. If that is not how it works out, then obviously the voters have got it wrong.
Even if this was not a ludicrously patronising attitude, it would still be a useless explanation. After all, what does he propose to do about it? Throw out the electorate and get in a new one?
But I digress. The point is, it is ludicrously patronising, and the startling air of entitlement behind it he is expressing on behalf of the Democrats is almost childish. Cohen argues that the electorate has a ‘duty’ to vote for the Democrats, and that if they do not, they should be shamed.
This is not how it works, Mr Cohen. Democracy works in the opposite way. In a democracy, the parties try to find out what the electorate need and want, work out a way to provide said needs and wants, and then present a plan for doing so. If this presentation is done correctly, and the electorate like what is being offered, then they will vote for the party that offers them what best meets their needs. Biden, like Hillary Clinton four years ago, did not really offer anything much, at least until forced to by other Democrats further to the left. He did not offer anything that came particularly close to what the American public wanted or needed. All he offered was just that he “isn’t Trump.” (And given one is a free-market-loving rapist with narcissistic dementia, and the other is a free-market-loving woman-groper with early-onset senile dementia, Biden does not even deliver particularly well on that score either.)
This is a reality that the DNC just will not face, because they know that the answer lies in moving to the left, which might anger their sponsors: So long as the Democrats continue to focus on what they think the electorate should vote against, and not on what they can offer the electorate to vote for, they will continue having problems mobilising support.
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