Mr. Sullivan’s penchant for political moralizing is a never ending phenomenon, some examples of his analysis of the governor’s race in Virginia between Ed Gillespie and Ralph Northam are demonstrative of his rampant self-congratulation, not to speak of his self-conception as ‘expert’ .
On Democrat Northham:
Northam seems to me almost a classic Democratic politician of our time. I have no idea what his core message is (and neither, it seems, does he); on paper, he’s close to perfect; his personality is anodyne; his skills as a campaigner are risible; and he has negative charisma. More to the point, he is running against an amphibian swamp creature, Ed Gillespie, and yet the Washington lobbyist is outflanking him on populism. Northam’s ads are super lame, and have lately been largely on the defensive, especially on crime, culture, and immigration. He hasn’t galvanized minority voters, has alienated many white voters, and has failed to consolidate a broader anti-Trump coalition. In Virginia, Trump’s approval rating is 38/59, but Northam is winning only 81 percent of the disapprovers, while Gillespie is winning 95 percent of the approvers. Northam’s early double-digit lead has now collapsed to within the margin of error.
On Republican Gillespie
If all this sounds like a rerun of 2016, well, that’s what it is. But insofar as it also represents Trump’s consolidation of the GOP, it’s all too 2017. Ed Gillespie is the last person you’d predict to become a Trump-style populist, and bring out the enraged base. He’s deeply Establishment, formerly moderate, and easily identified as part of the Washington-as-usual crowd. And yet he’s morphed — successfully — into a Bannonite, without losing mainstream Republican support. Somehow, the GOP still manages to rally together; and somehow, even now, the Democrats cannot. Gillespie also has a killer instinct. Putting what’s left of his conscience and decency in cold storage, he has been pushing out ads that make the Willie Horton spot look like Mr. Rogers. One ad targets Northam for believing that the Confederate statues should come down or be placed in museums; another blasts him for his waffling on sanctuary cities (in a state where none exist!) and links him to weakness against the MS-13 gang; another all but calls him sympathetic to pedophiles. The ads are brutal, foul, racist, demagogic, and effective. They embrace Trumpism with fervor and shamelessness and, in Gillespie’s case, staggering cynicism.
The ‘as if’ of both these ‘evaluations’ of the candidates is that reader is ignorant of Sullivan’s own ‘political evolution’ from worshipful acolyte of Thatcher , to Neo-Conservative, to Centrist Neo-Liberal of the Clinton warmongering variety. As an advocate/apologist for that monument of Conservative Sociology ‘The Bell Curve’ Mr. Sullivan’s attack on ‘Gillespie’s case, staggering cynicism‘ is an example of the Sullivan investment in his cultivated ignorance of the history of racism in America. It is an act of will, not of some kind or type of historical analysis. Staggering is the fact that Sullivan somehow thinks that his readers are ignorant of his historically verifiable past. The record of the utterly corrupt, and clueless Democratic Party machine, in the thrall of Clinton and her minions, is well known.
The political monster of the ‘Left’ makes its obligatory appearance, fear mongering is the cornerstone of Sullivan’s political world view, he shares that specter with both the Republicans and Democrats. But his conclusion is what? Sullivan as Cassandra or Tiresias?
This is not a good omen. If Gillespie wins, or the result is close, it means the Trump-transformed GOP is electorally viable in every swing district in 2018. That it could win in the state where actual white supremacists marched this past summer and when the president is 20 points underwater is a sobering reminder of the actual state of play in our politics. I can only hope it’s a wake-up call to the Dems. In 2017, they are either useless or actively counterproductive in the struggle to resist right-authoritarianism. They have learned nothing from 2016. Their intelligentsia seems determined to ensure that no midwestern whites ever vote for the party again. Their public faces are still Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi. They still believe that something other than electoral politics — the courts, the press, the special counsel — will propel them back to power. They can’t seem to grasp the nettle of left-populism. And they remain obsessed with a Russia scandal that most swing voters don’t give a damn about.
They think they are “woke.” They are, in fact, in a political coma.
Their intelligentsia seems determined to ensure that no midwestern whites ever vote for the party again. Mr. Sullivan presumes that the reader buys the Party Line that he is somehow not part of the Democratic Intelligentsia, or at the least its witting ally! Sullivan must demonstrate his independence: that he is some how apart from that body of apologists/advocates that are/were the Midwives of Trump.
Sullivan declares that the current leadership of the Democratic Party: ‘They can’t seem to grasp the nettle of left-populism.’ Such is the cultivated political myopia of Sullivan, neither he nor the current leadership of the Democratic Party, confront the fact that the future of the Democratic Party lies in the New Deal Democrats Warren and Sanders. But if not them, then the Greens and the Libertarians will be that force for change. There is an alternative! Sullivan hews to the myth that these two parties are eternal!