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By Michael Davidow, Radio Free New Hampshire
I like the state of Texas. My wife comes from the Metroplex, the area stretching from Dallas to Denton, which is approximately seven thousand miles wide and ten thousand miles long.
She has relatives from other places, too, so I have met my fair share of Texans over the years: north, south, east, and west.
Speaking generally, they are friendly, they are tall, and according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, also known as the official campaign arm of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, they can’t be trusted to choose their own candidates for national office.
John Culberson, a Republican, is running for re-election in the 7th Congressional District, a slice of Houston that just barely voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016. As you can imagine (because we live in a democracy) several Democrats are vying for the chance to beat him in 2018. One of them is named Laura Moser.
Ms. Moser was a writer for a while; she was a political activist for a while; she has a reputation for being fairly progressive (i.e., many of her donors are individuals who lack means); and she has been reported to look like a taller version of Carol Burnett, the comedienne from the seventies. Maybe that last fact got Nancy Pelosi’s goat (too many funny people get elected as it is). But either way, the DCCC has deemed Ms. Moser “too liberal” to prevail in the general election, so it has intervened against her in the primary election. DCCC spokeswoman Meredith Kelly has defended this by explaining that the 7th is a “Clinton District.”
That’s one hell of an insult, isn’t it? But I guess that makes New Hampshire a Clinton state, too; and America a Clinton country, for that matter (you might not have heard, but she won the popular vote). Yet I look around, and I don’t see it. Instead, I see the same problems we had two years ago, unaddressed – the problems that led to Donald Trump’s winning office in the first place (another thing you might not have heard—at least if you work for the DCCC). And for the Democratic party to address those problems, it must first understand what they are.
Because unlike Donald Trump’s brand, which is ersatz at best, the populism that made its mark in the Democratic party in 2016, in spite of its leaders’ attempts to denigrate it, was never about keeping the coal industry alive. Nor about embracing crude protectionism on trade. Nor about pandering to the uneducated or the unkind, nor about fighting future progress. It was about something far more basic, and it still is: about using our country’s wealth for the benefit of all, rather than reserving it for a fortunate few. This represents neither charity nor special pleading, either, because this wealth only exists because our country, as a whole—its fields, its factories, its universities, its army, its navy, its people— has made it possible.
Clinton’s wing of the party always argued a myth: that there is a natural order for an economy to follow, which can’t be changed (and only happens to benefit people like… the Clintons themselves). Yet we divide our resources in one fashion or another because we choose to divide them that way. We drive employment up or down by changing our fiscal policies; we benefit the wealthy or the poor, by changing our tax policies; we destroy our environment or save it, by changing our regulations. We do this all the time. The problem is not doing it. The problem is doing it in a one-sided way, for far too long, without caring about the consequences.
I therefore suggest that Nancy Pelosi learn what life is like for most people, and try hard to figure out why they might want a change.
But to do so, of course, she must first leave her own neighborhood, which is California’s 12th District, San Francisco, and visit Oakland, for pete’s sake. Or maybe she should visit Texas. Or maybe she should start with something even simpler: by visiting her own closet, and counting her items of clothing that are made in China versus France or Italy. I then suggest that she skip her next trip to Saks Fifth Avenue and go instead to a dollar store, to stock up on the sort of stuff that our great political decision makers – Clinton and Obama, no less than Bush and Reagan– have taken such great pains for decades now, to make available to the masses of our people.
She could use a new style, and if she doesn’t like it, she only needs to wait. Because it will all fall apart after a few washings. That is not politics. That is a fact. And that is why Trump got elected.
Michael Davidow of Manchester is a lawyer in Nashua. He is the author of Gate City, Split Thirty, and The Rocketdyne Commission, three novels about politics and advertising which, taken together, form The Henry Bell Project. His books are available on Amazon.