Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Fall of the House of Kennedy?

Incumbent Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) decisively beat back a primary challenge by Joe Kennedy yesterday, and I very much liked this take on his victory:
Corporate Democrats want to make the left out to be purity-obsessed and unwilling to compromise, but the left rallied around a longtime politician with a mixed record because he actively courted their support and became a champion of one of their major legislative priorities.
Someone else tweeted, before the results were in:
It's not that Markey is some democratic socialist, and no need to revise him as such. It's that he made a bet that the young left would redefine and save him, leaned into it, and so far that bet seems to be paying off. That is validation and power on its own.
Kennedy lost despite Democratic establishment support.  Nancy Pelosi endorsed him, for example, despite her former opposition to Democrats primarying Democrats, so Kennedy's defeat was among other things a rebuke to her, and a sign that her faction is losing its influence.  As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “No one gets to complain about primary challenges again.”

What had Markey done to draw Pelosi's opposition?  Presumably, he'd become friendly with Ocasio-Cortez and the other leftish Democratic newcomers known collectively as the Squad, and adopted some of their policy proposals such as the Green New Deal.  As a result he won support from the kind of activists and workers whom centrists denounce as purists.  You'd think that the Dem establishment would be celebrating their willingness to compromise, but I haven't seen that happening yet.  As someone else commented, "Liberals don't believe in compromise or coalition building or democracy... they want a 'party' that is entirely authoritarian dictates by their favorite oligarchs."

The corporate media have been singing one note about this primary: Kennedy's status as a scion of a political dynasty.  The Boston Globe, for example, called it "an unprecedented defeat to a Kennedy in Massachusetts."  It's the first time in decades that Massachusetts hasn't had a Kennedy in office!  And some backseat drivers have been saying things like "He was impatient. He should have waited", or "Let him wait his turn. There was no need for a change" (this from a "Sports columnist emeritus" from the Globe).  "His turn" implies that the seat was Kennedy's by right, perhaps by birthright, and when the time is fulfilled he can claim it.  I heard similar claims about Hillary Clinton: it was her year.  (There was a funny thread a couple of weeks ago, culminating with "He who can draw this golf club from the bag will be the Rightful Senator from Massachusetts!")  But it's not how a democracy, or even just a republic is supposed to work, and reminding the political establishment of that fact is one of the best things about Kennedy's defeat.

I've said it before: the elites and their sycophants claim that the dumb voters just care about personalities, while they care about issues.  They keep reminding us that we should vote for the guy we'd like to have a beer with, not the one whose policies we support.  Again and again we're seeing the opposite, and I find that heartening.