May 3, 2017


Dems Need a Celebrity Apprentice (Josh Kraushaar, May 2, 2017, National Journal)

Thanks to Pres­id­ent Trump's un­pop­ular­ity, Demo­crat­ic en­ergy is sky-high and the party's path to a polit­ic­al comeback looks clear. But at a time when celebrity has be­come an es­sen­tial as­set in polit­ics, the party's most elect­able crop of fu­ture lead­ers is vir­tu­ally an­onym­ous. Pro­spect­ive Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates like Sens. Kirsten Gil­librand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Min­nesota, and Cory Book­er of New Jer­sey, as well as New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo, barely re­gister in polls. With buzz now the coin of the realm, not be­ing able to gen­er­ate non­stop news cov­er­age has be­come a ser­i­ous li­ab­il­ity. Dur­ing a re­cent pan­el about the Demo­crat­ic Party's fu­ture, a top Demo­crat­ic strategist only half-jok­ingly com­men­ted that she'd work to draft act­ress Kerry Wash­ing­ton in­to the pres­id­en­tial race. This is the im­pact of Trump's 2016 cam­paign on our body polit­ic.

In­deed, the Demo­crat­ic Party's most re­cog­niz­able can­did­ates are either past their primes, out of the polit­ic­al main­stream, or both. Up­com­ing vis­its to early-vot­ing states by War­ren, Sanders, and Biden are the equi­val­ent of a base­ball team re­ly­ing on a bunch of aging vet­er­ans whose best days are long be­hind them. "Bernie Sanders is now the lead­er of the Demo­crat­ic Party," lamen­ted one party of­fi­cial, at­trib­ut­ing Sanders's stand­ing to his su­per­i­or name iden­ti­fic­a­tion and deep con­nec­tion to his so­cial­ist-minded sup­port­ers.

If the party was run like a busi­ness, it would be look­ing to mar­ket pro­spect­ive can­did­ates to its core con­sumers--a young and di­verse con­stitu­ency that has grown in­creas­ingly dis­il­lu­sioned with polit­ics. The Demo­crats' lead­ing can­did­ates, however, are a demo­graph­ic mis­match: Biden will be 77 years old in 2020, and the memory of his ser­vice to Pres­id­ent Obama will have faded. Sanders will be push­ing 80 by the next pres­id­en­tial cam­paign, and he sounds more in­ter­ested in chan­ging the dir­ec­tion of the party than be­com­ing pres­id­ent. War­ren is the young­est of the bunch, but if elec­ted, would be the old­est pres­id­ent in Amer­ic­an his­tory. All would be run­ning on a plat­form of eco­nom­ic pro­gressiv­ism at a time when the en­ergy on the Left is fueled by iden­tity polit­ics.

Posted by at May 3, 2017 5:31 PM