Here’s a key paragraph from this op-ed by Bret Stephens in The New York Times on November 17:
“The old liberal left paid attention to complexity, ambiguity, the gray areas. A sense of complexity induced a measure of doubt, including self-doubt. The new left typically seeks to reduce things to elements such as race, class and gender, in ways that erase ambiguity and doubt. The new left is a factory of certitudes.”
Stephens writes this in noting the desertion of many formerly liberal journalists from bastions of left-leaning journalism. Count me in. The new left left me behind long ago.
I was brought up in a very liberal household and even as my own politics evolved more to the center, I never lost my inclination to support some time-honored liberal causes like civil rights, woman’s rights, and the right to health care. But this wokeness stuff and the knee-jerk leftist trend to environmental extremism, reducing everything to racism, and vilifying those who vote for Donald Trump for policy reasons even if they too deplore his personality is not for me. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump both because he seems to be a racist and because he never did come up with an alternative to the ACA as he tried to kill it. I actually liked what he did in the Middle East and his identification of China as our real prime enemy. I really thought he was ineffective BECAUSE of his personality. In the Washington, DC that I learned about when there in 2009, personality is more important than policy in being effective. So as my conservative friends extolled Trump’s policies, particularly his pre-covid success in reducing unemployment and promoting economic growth, they forgot that HOW he presents himself matters even more when it comes to electoral success. Thus, his loss. Trump’s only big policy screw up was his handling of the pandemic, but he could have overcome that had he not been so dismissive of the disease rate, the hospitalization rate, and the death rate. He seemed not to care and presidents have to care.
That being said, Mr. Biden would do well to listen to Mr. Stephens and not fall in with the woke crowd as he attempts to form a government even as the Trumpists refuse to cooperate. I am less concerned about this lack of concession than many because Biden knows the ropes in Washington and can probably hit the ground running on January 20 or at least walking briskly. Furthermore, once the Electoral College results are finalized on December 14, Trump will admit defeat, slink off to Mar-A-Lago and begin his plans for 2024. It should be noted that many from Josh Hawley to Ben Sasse are also making their plans for 2024 and that includes Jeff Flake who is not burdened by being in the Senate right now. Even if Trump wants the nomination in 2024, he may have to fight for it.
I do not believe that the Biden victory is one that will be celebrated by the Bernie Bros for more than a nanosecond. I suspect few, if any, of them will be appointed to the Cabinet because they are incompatible with the Biden philosophy and because they probably could not get approved by a GOP-led Senate which is the likely outcome after the Georgia runoffs in the first week of January. I don’t see the Dems winning both contested seats there and thus, Mitch McConnell will still lead the Senate and will be the bone stuck in the craw of Biden when it comes to forming his government. Biden knows this and will act accordingly appointing centrists to major offices and even a Republican or two.
Many of my readers accuse me of being a liberal. Socially, that’s true, but economically and in the area of foreign policy, it is not. Bret Stephens’ op-ed explains how many ex-liberals feel right now. Left behind by the left. Unwilling to throw in with the Trumpists and standing around looking for a new political home. We are waiting…