The Democratic National Convention gave former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, four minutes to offer his endorsement of Joe Biden. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left-wing media star, got only a minute and a half. The Democrats knew what they were doing.
Kasich made the case for Republicans and independents who regret their 2016 vote for Donald Trump — or didn’t vote — to stop the president’s rampage against normality. He was adding votes to Biden’s tally.
The day Kasich spoke, AOC tweeted that “a Republican who fights against women’s rights doesn’t get to say who is or isn’t representative of the Dem party.” She was subtracting votes, the definition of political malpractice.
AOC should know that high school is over. In politics, the popular girls (and boys) don’t declare who is “in” and who is “out.” AOC does that a lot, opining from her woke bunker who deserves admission to or rejection from the Democratic Party of her mind.
If the Democrats wanted to showcase the party’s young future, they could have profitably handed AOC’s 90 seconds to Rep. Abby Finkenauer. In 2018, Finkenauer defeated an incumbent tea party Republican in northeast Iowa. Part of an electoral wave that delivered control of the House to the Democrats, she is only 10 months older than AOC.
It’s no huge feat to win a seat in a totally safe Democratic (or Republican) district. The moderate Democrats who flipped seats in purple parts of the country are the true party heroes. They don’t tend toward flash. And in representing districts outside the media corridors on the coasts, they draw too little attention.
As for Kasich’s pro-life beliefs, it happens that many Democrats share them, especially in the immigrant communities that form a good part of the Democratic base. And there are other pro-life Americans who dislike President Donald Trump but feel Democrats scorn them.
Opposition to abortion is not my view, but it’s a view that deserves respect. If Kasich can draw some social conservatives to the Biden side and help him over the finish line, where is the problem for any Democrat — assuming the objective is to win?
Many on the activist left ignore the obvious: Their liberal strongholds can’t win national elections. The candidate who pulls in the most Electoral College votes is the one who gets the power. It is this power that has enabled Trump to stomp over a variety of social and political norms. Advocates for reproductive rights know it lets him name Supreme Court justices and push measures that curtail access to abortion, or even birth control.
The 2020 Democratic Party platform says unequivocally that every woman should have access to “safe and legal abortion.” Biden supports a right to abortion. And, by the way, Kasich didn’t even mention abortion in his convention speech.
Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Biden was a masterpiece. No hesitation, no harping over policy details on which Sanders and Biden disagree. Sanders remains an inspiration to many on the left, and his ardent fans should follow his example. That means setting aside their critiques for the moment and concentrating on what’s at stake.
If they are politically astute, the activists — on climate, sexual identity or whatever — will stop sniping at Biden in this race where the alternative is Trump. They would have every right to try influencing a Biden presidency, but in case some haven’t noticed, he’s not president yet.
Bernie said on Monday night, “As long as I am here, I will work with progressives, with moderates and, yes, with conservatives to preserve this nation” from the threat of Trumpism. He’s blessing Biden’s big tent, and so should all Democrats. Welcome, John Kasich, and anyone else who cares to enter.
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