If you are a Democrat, you should be profoundly embarrassed by last night’s debate. For the rest of us, it was thoroughly entertaining. Bernie Sanders screamed and flailed his arms like he was conducting an orchestra. Kamala Harris burst out into fits of inappropriate laughter like your drunk aunt on Thanksgiving. Julian Castro called Joe Biden an old fart, in so many words, and Andrew Yang openly bribed the audience. And this is to say nothing of the actual policy ideas put forward — ideas that include Bernie’s magical free health care for all and O’Rourke’s nationwide gun confiscation program. One wonders how O’Rourke plans to enact this program while working as a shift supervisor at Home Depot. He certainly isn’t going to win the presidency, after all, and he won’t get elected to office in Texas again now that he’s come out as a dyed-in-the-wool gun grabber.
The ABC moderators were almost as incompetent as the people they were moderating. Aside from the complete lack of follow-up questions, they also allotted absurd stretches of time for softball questions. For example, the candidates were allowed to spend the last half hour of the debate trading flattering stories about themselves. At another point, they were given the opportunity to “tackle racism.” It seems that all ten contenders agree that racism is bad. They all took a bold anti-racism stance and were given ample time to elaborate on it.
White men Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg were not going to let the pandering opportunity go to waste. O’Rourke said that racism is “endemic” and “foundational” in our country. Buttigieg — who, we should note, managed to make it through the entire debate and only mention Mike Pence once — declared that our nation is plagued by “systemic racism.” Buttigieg assures us that he has “the most comprehensive vision” to defeat this scourge once and for all.
But this all raises an awkward question. If racism is “systemic,” “endemic,” and “foundational,” and if the system is fundamentally structured so as to keep the black man down and the white man up, then why are O’Rourke and Buttigieg (and Biden and Sanders) even in the race at all? Indeed, how can Buttigieg claim to have “the most comprehensive vision” for combating racism while he shares the stage with ethnic and racial minorities like Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, and the Native American Elizabeth Warren? Isn’t it rather presumptuous, arrogant, and even bigoted to claim that you, as a white man, are more equipped to slay the dragon of systemic racism than a black woman or a Latino man?
The Left’s racism doctrine states very plainly that white people are inherently racist. Only white people can be racist — because only they have institutional power, or some such nonsense — and only people of color can experience racism. I doubt very much that O’Rourke and Buttigieg would disagree with this creedal statement. Yet they remain in the race. They, as inherently racist, privileged white men who have benefited from an intrinsically prejudiced system established by slave-owning misogynists, have the gall to put themselves forward as the ones most equipped to resist the very system they inherenty perpetuate. If the whole goal of the racist system is to prevent people of color from attaining wealth and power, then aren’t O’Rourke and Buttigieg only reinforcing that very system by taking votes from candidates of color? If they really wanted to strike a blow to systemic racism, wouldn’t it best be struck by their immediate withdrawl from the race?
The same contradiction arises when male candidates like Joe Biden and Eric Swalwell (may his candidacy rest in peace) pledge to pick a female vice president. If it is so important to have a female in the White House, why must she come in second place? Why wouldn’t you offer your services as a female president’s vice president, rather than the other way around? Isn’t this like saying, “I think a woman should have power — but not too much power, let’s not carried away now?”
This is what happens when you play the identity politics game. You can’t win. At least not as a white man.