April 7, 2019

"Mayor Pete" Buttigieg was one of the white male Democratic candidates that the mainstream media chose to focus on this Sunday.

But as his wont, Chuck Todd approached the South Bend, Indiana mayor with simplistic talking points borne from the Republican Party. Democratic candidates can only be "progressives" or "socialists," you see. Never mind that even Bernie Sanders doesn't consider himself a Socialist, but a Democratic Socialist, in the style of the Scandinavian countries. Chuck Todd doesn't want to tax his little brain with anything other than simplistic, meaningless labels that only help Republicans in elections.

Perhaps Todd thought that he was actually committing journalism to demand that Buttigieg come down on one side or the other on capitalism.

But good on Mayor Pete to be able to respond appropriately to Todd's idiocy:

"Look, America is a capitalist society. But it's got to be democratic capitalism. And that part's really important. And it's slipping away from us. In other words, when capitalism comes into tension with democracy, which is more important to you? I believe democracy is more important. And when you have capitalism capturing democracy, when you have the kind of regulatory capture, where powerful corporations are able to arrange the rules for their benefit, that's not real capitalism. If you want to see what happens when you have capitalism without democracy, you can see it very clearly in Russia. It turns into crony capitalism. And that turns into oligarchy. So I know the temptation, especially for the commentariat is to kind of align everybody as dots on a spectrum, but that's not how most voters think."

I suspect that's a more direct and cogent answer than Todd has ever gotten from any number of Republican politicos, but sadly, just pearls before undeserving swine.

But then Mayor Pete sinks into the bothsiderism that is mainstream media's stock in trade and just loses the good will he might have generated.

"Having a president who doesn't even have an ideology, just a style, undertaking a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. While the Democratic Party has only been able to explain its ideological commitments by comparing itself to the Republicans for the better part of my lifetime."

Oh no. No. No. No. I'm not sure where Mayor Pete has been these last few years, but ACA and now Medicare For All is not an ideological commitment as a comparison to the Republicans. The Republicans are running against it, without an idea of how to replace it. Same with the DREAM Act. Same with any number of detailed plans that you can find on Elizabeth Warren's, Kamala Harris', Kirsten Gillibrand's and Cory Booker's campaign websites. Affirmative progressive plans, all; not simply reactions to Republicans.

If there is anything I'd like to see this election cycle, it is to have Democratic candidates refusing to play with right wing framing.

Not that they'll get any assistance from Chuck Todd.

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