NYT, WaPo Op-Eds Blast Dem Candidates After Trump Once Again Makes Them Embrace Race-Baiting Extremist
A couple weeks ago, President Trump took aim at “The Squad” — Reps. Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
The Democratic Party quickly unified, with members coming to their defense and lauding them for their work.
Then Trump ripped Baltimore as a rat infested hellhole, also hitting Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, the city congressman. That brought more Democrats out to defend the city and claim Trump is racist.
Those racism charges immediately brought out race-baiter Al Sharpton, who, true to form, Trump promptly blasted. And once again, top Democrats were forced to rally around the target of Trump’s ire.
.@TheRevAl has dedicated his life to the fight for justice for all. No amount of racist tweets from the man in the White House will erase that—and we must not let them divide us. I stand with my friend Al Sharpton in calling out these ongoing attacks on people of color.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 29, 2019
.@TheRevAl has spent his life fighting for what’s right and working to improve our nation, even in the face of hate. It’s shameful, yet unsurprising that Trump would continue to attack those who have done so much for our country.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 29, 2019
.@TheRevAl is a champion in the fight for civil rights. The fact that President Trump continues to use the power of the presidency to unleash racist attacks on the people he serves is despicable. This hate has no place in our country. It’s beneath the dignity of the office.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 29, 2019
Finally, some political pundits are starting to catch on to the strategy.
In a New York Times op-ed earlier this week, Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury hit Democrats for defending Sharpton.
“They’ve handed Trump an easy win and yoked themselves to a genuine bigot,” he wrote. “The problem for Democrats is that Al Sharpton actually is, as Mr. Trump put it on Twitter, ‘a con man.’ And not just a con man: Mr. Sharpton is an ambulance-chasing, anti-Semitic, anti-white race hustler.”
“His history of offensive statements is longer than the current American president’s. And Mr. Sharpton’s worst sin — his blatant incitement to violence during the Crown Heights riots of 1991 — leaves no doubt that he is not a leader, as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio described him, who has spent his years ‘pushing for justice in the teachings of Dr. King.’ “
This is a losing strategy. Progressives have been bluffing on the race issue for years now: downplaying black-on-black urban violence, ignoring the polarizing effects of racial identity politics, maintaining a code of silence on the collapse of the black family and more. Mr. Trump knows it.
If Democrats cannot distinguish between Mr. Sharpton’s hucksterism and genuine moral leadership on race and justice in America, I assure you that many moderate voters in battleground states will have no trouble doing so. Shouting “racist” at Mr. Trump, even if there is truth to the accusation, will gain Democrats nothing. The president cannot be further damaged by that epithet. Meantime, he wins votes every time a prominent Democratic politician overreacts to his provocations by defending the indefensible.
Over at the Washington Post, another writer hit Democrats for embracing Sharpton.
Citing the endorsement of the three top Democrats, Seth Mandel, executive editor of the Washington Examiner magazine, writes: “Sharpton is unworthy of such praise, so much so that the decision to back him reflexively is a massive moral demerit. Calling Sharpton a lifelong fighter for “justice” ignores his history of race-baiting and deadly anti-Semitic incitement.”
We are routinely told that harsh criticism of minority members of Congress amounts to incitement to violence. What of Sharpton, who initially made his career out of explicit incitement to violence? This is no idle concern. “The increase in the number of physical assaults against Orthodox Jews in New York City is a matter of empirical fact,” reports Armin Rosen at Tablet. “Anti-Semitic hate crimes against persons, which describes nearly everything involving physical contact, jumped from 17 in 2017 to 33 in 2018, with the number for the first half of 2019 standing at 19, according to the NYPD’s hate crime unit. … And yet, many believe the attacks are even more widespread than has been reported.” De Blasio claims anti-Semitism is a right-wing phenomenon, but in New York, Rosen writes, “the perpetrators who have been recorded on CCTV cameras are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic.”
You can believe that Jewish lives matter, or you can pepper your public career with slavish fan fiction about Al Sharpton. When the sun sets on the careers of this crop of Democrats and their stories are written, what will the record show about the choice they made?