Dear Commons Community,
Maureen Dowd in her column this morning entitled, “Wokeness Derails the Democrats” takes aim at what wrong in last Tuesday’s elections. Here is an excerpt.
“In Shakespeare, when characters want to fulfill their desires, they escape to what’s been called the Green World.
And that’s what Democrats promised voters: that they could leave behind the vitriol and aggravation of Donald Trump’s America and escape to an Arden that was cool, calm and reassuring.
Democrats violated that pledge. On the way to that verdant forest, we got led into a circular firing squad. Tight margins in Congress do not bring out the best in pols.
“We promised to change the rancor and division,” said one top Democrat. “So we offered something else: division and rancor.”
Many who were sick of Trump chaos and ineptitude are now sick of Biden chaos and ineptitude. Scranton Joe was supposed to be the sensible, steady one.
After all, as Democrats are keenly aware, Trump lost the 2020 race as much as Biden won it. Only 44,000 votes in Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia saved Biden from an Electoral College tie.
And for a long time now, people have been watching the spectacle of Democrats grinding away at the sausage and fighting for their piece of the pie (to make a metaphoric meal). And it has not been a pretty picture.
The question raised by Tuesday’s debacle for Democrats is: Now that President Biden’s high poll ratings and good will are squandered, how do they turn the mishegoss into a winning message?
There’s some truth in what James Carville told Judy Woodruff: “What went wrong is this stupid wokeness. Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Wash. I mean, this defund the police lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln’s name off of schools.”
There’s also some truth in what Representative Abigail Spanberger, a moderate Virginia Democrat in a tough re-election battle, told The Times’s Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns about the president: “Nobody elected him to be F.D.R., they elected him to be normal and stop the chaos.”
Biden has pursued his two bills with Captain Ahab-like zeal; he pines to be F.D.R. and eclipse Barack Obama, who pushed him aside for Hillary.
Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi hail the bills as transformational. But what are you transforming into? The election cratering showed that such overweening efforts are putting off many voters who are still struggling just to get by, as they move beyond the degradation wrought by Trump and Covid.
While the Democrats wallow in a family food fight, Americans are still stressed and exhausted from the whole Covid ordeal, confronting high gas prices and stymied from getting the appliances and Christmas toys they want.
“I used to advise mayors, you can be as visionary as you want, but just make sure you take the garbage out and fill the potholes,’’ said David Axelrod, who oversaw messaging for Barack Obama.
Republicans have not lost their talent for coming up with boogeymen to scare white voters, and thanks to a dumb comment by Terry McAuliffe in a debate, they have succeeded in turning parents’ rights in schools into a wedge issue.
Some in the G.O.P. see Glenn Youngkin as a template for moving beyond Trump. The members of my family who voted for Trump are eager to see their party move back to a more palatable and recognizable form of conservatism.
We’ll see. So far, tiptoeing around Jabba the Trump has had limited utility. Despite everything, he still has great sway in the Republican Party.”
I tend to agree with Dowd although I don’t know if “wokeness” is the right word for her theme. Merriam-Webster defines wokeness as “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” It has been used derisively by some in the media especially by the Fox News crowd. In my opinion, the Democrats are a house divided by factions that fueled by uncompromising ardor.