[guest post by JVW]
Though the actual vote was taken three weeks ago, earlier today the count was finalized and sixteen-term House incumbent Eliot Engel has lost his primary race to progressive insurgent Jamaal Bowman. The final tally shows Mr. Bowman with a ten-point margin of victory and an 11,000 vote lead.
Unlike two years ago when our lovable but hopelessly clueless niece Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez surprised a lazy and inattentive Joe Crowley, Rep. Engel had every reason to fear the progressive insurgency of Mr. Bowman, a middle-school principal by trade. Whereas our Lipstick Lenin won her primary two years ago by a 4,000 vote margin from a piddly 30,000 votes cast in a stealth campaign, this year saw nearly 80,000 votes cast (er, mailed-in), and Mr. Engel had a good enough read of the tea-leaves that he practically begged for a chance to pander to the crowd at a George Floyd rally, alas to no avail. Like Mr. Crowley in the last election cycle, Mr. Engel found himself the odd man out in a district that is trending young, diverse, and leftist.
If nothing else, Mr. Bowman is substantially more accomplished in his background than our delightfully daffy beloved relative (relatively speaking, of course). Whereas she went from undergrad to bartender to Congresswoman all before she turned 30 (thanks, Saikat Chakrabarti!), he has spent two decades as a teacher, guidance counselor, and principal. Other than that, Mr. Bowman appears to have the same cookie-cutter democrat socialist views that is rapidly becoming party orthodoxy, and he was endorsed by the motley hard-left crew of the Working Families Party, Justice Democrats, the DSA, MoveOn, Kos, and the assorted racial/ethnic groups that constitute the party of Thomas Jefferson these days. As I wrote two years ago, I am pleased to see another dinosaur Democrat from a rancid and bankrupt party machine kicked to the curb by his own, but we’re quickly coming to grips with the idea that what is replacing these time-serving hacks is a new generation with whom we nasty reactionary right-wingers share quite little. It could be a really brave new world ahead of us come January 2021.
[guest post by Dana]
From Andrew Sullivan’s farewell letter:
A critical mass of the staff and management at New York Magazine and Vox Media no longer want to associate with me, and, in a time of ever tightening budgets, I’m a luxury item they don’t want to afford. And that’s entirely their prerogative. They seem to believe, and this is increasingly the orthodoxy in mainstream media, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theory’s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media. That, to the best of my understanding, is why I’m out of here.
Two years ago, I wrote that we all live on campus now. That is an understatement. In academia, a tiny fraction of professors and administrators have not yet bent the knee to the woke program — and those few left are being purged. The latest study of Harvard University faculty, for example, finds that only 1.46 percent call themselves conservative. But that’s probably higher than the proportion of journalists who call themselves conservative at the New York Times or CNN or New York Magazine. And maybe it’s worth pointing out that “conservative” in my case means that I have passionately opposed Donald J. Trump and pioneered marriage equality, that I support legalized drugs, criminal-justice reform, more redistribution of wealth, aggressive action against climate change, police reform, a realist foreign policy, and laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. I was one of the first journalists in established media to come out. I was a major and early supporter of Barack Obama. I intend to vote for Biden in November.
It seems to me that if this conservatism is so foul that many of my peers are embarrassed to be working at the same magazine, then I have no idea what version of conservatism could ever be tolerated.
If the mainstream media will not host a diversity of opinion, or puts the “moral clarity” of some self-appointed saints before the goal of objectivity in reporting, if it treats writers as mere avatars for their race and gender or gender identity, rather than as unique individuals whose identity is largely irrelevant, then the nonmainstream needs to pick up the slack. What I hope to do at the Weekly Dish is to champion those younger writers who are increasingly shut out of the Establishment, to promote their blogs, articles, and podcasts, to link to them, and encourage them. I want to show them that they have a future in the American discourse. Instead of merely diagnosing the problem of illiberalism, I want to try to be part of the solution.
While Sullivan lost me when he ghoulishly obsessed over Sarah and Trig Palin, I nonetheless hope his new/old gig provides a “safe” space for vigorous and open debate from every political persuasion.
[guest post by Dana]
President Trump gave a speech yesterday about the administration rolling back environmental regulations. But this portion at the end of his speech is what caught my eye:
We have many exciting things that we’ll be announcing over the next eight weeks I would say. Things that nobody has even contemplated, thought about, thought possible and things that we’re going to get done and we have gotten done. We’ve started in most cases, but it’s going to be a very exciting eight weeks….we can honestly say nobody’s ever going to see eight weeks like we’re going to have, because we really have. We’re taking on immigration, taking on education, we’re taking on so many aspects of things that people were hopelessly tied up in knots in Congress. They’ve been working on some of these things for 25, 30 years, wasn’t happening.
But you’ll see levels of detail and you’ll see levels of thought that a lot of people believed very strongly we didn’t have in this country. We’re going to get things done. We’re going to get things done that they’ve wanted to see done for a long, long time. I think we’ll start sometime on Tuesday. We’ll be discussing our one plan on suburbia, but that’s one of many, many different plans. Then we’re going into the immigration, the world of immigration. The world of education. We’re going into the world of healthcare, very complete healthcare. And we have a lot of very exciting things to discuss, but cutting of regulation has been really something that I felt we could do and we could do fairly easily. Nothing’s easy in this country.
As a reminder, the 2020 election is about 15 weeks away, Trump is down in the polls, and his campaign appears to be struggling to get a foothold, especially as his in-person rallies (the place he and his base really feed off of one another, as well as gin up the most excitement for the president) are on hold. It should be an interesting eight weeks.