Demo­cratic can­di­dates are run­ning a race of in­au­then­tic­ity

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Opinion - BY VIC­TOR DAVIS HAN­SON Vic­tor Davis Han­son is a clas­si­cist and his­to­rian at the Hoover In­sti­tu­tion, Stan­ford Univer­si­tyE­mail: au­[email protected]

An epi­demic of false iden­ti­ties, mas­saged ré­sumés and warped an­ces­tries has bro­ken out among the cur­rent Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial pri­mary can­di­dates.

Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren (D-Mass.) for years claimed Na­tive Amer­i­can an­ces­try. An em­bat­tled War­ren iron­i­cally took a DNA test that only proved her crit­ics’ con­tention that she was no more of Na­tive Amer­i­can her­itage than the vast ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans.

An­other Demo­cratic can­di­date, Robert Fran­cis O’Rourke, is a rich white male who grew up in af­flu­ence. O’Rourke some time ago adopted the name “Beto,” an ab­bre­vi­a­tion for the Span­ish “Roberto.” The Span­ish­s­peak­ing, Ir­ish-Amer­i­can O’Rourke, with a wink and nod, has as­sumed a use­ful near-Latino iden­tity.

That ruse be­came a car­i­ca­ture in O’Rourke’s

2018 race for the Texas Se­nate. The sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Cuban-Amer­i­can in­cum­bent, Sen. Rafael Ed­ward “Ted” Cruz, was por­trayed by the me­dia as the non-Span­ish-speak­ing “white guy” pit­ted against the more au­then­tic Ir­ishAmer­i­can Latino “Beto.”

Few would know that New York City Mayor Bill de Bla­sio was ac­tu­ally born with the al­lit­er­a­tive Euro­pean name War­ren Wil­helm Jr. With to­day’s po­lit­i­cally cor­rect cal­i­bra­tions of avoid­ing North­ern Euro­pean nomen­cla­ture, the Lati­nate “de Bla­sio” ap­par­ently ranks higher than the overtly Ger­man “Wil­helm.”

It has long been a pop­ulist tra­di­tion that pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates down­play their fi­nan­cial suc­cess or even fab­ri­cate a “born in a log cabin” myth of early poverty and ad­ver­sity. But re­cently, Demo­cratic can­di­dates have taken that trope to iden­tity-pol­i­tics ex­tremes.

For­mer San An­to­nio Mayor Ju­lian Cas­tro em­pha­sizes his com­mon-man Latino roots. But Cas­tro never spoke flu­ent Span­ish. Cas­tro’s par­ents were solidly mid­dle-class, and he took Latin and Ja­panese in school.

Sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.) of­ten poses as a spokesman for the African Amer­i­can in­ner-city and is hop­ing to gain the nom­i­na­tion on the strength of his mi­nor­ity bona fides. But Booker grew up in the af­flu­ent and nearly all­white sub­urbs of New Jer­sey, the child of two IBM ex­ec­u­tives who sent him to Stan­ford, after which he be­came a Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law School grad­u­ate.

Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris (D-Calif.) at­tacked for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den in a re­cent de­bate by claim­ing that his op­po­si­tion some 40 years ago to court-man­dated bus­ing had en­dan­gered her own chance at a good pri­ma­ryschool ed­u­ca­tion. Per­haps. But the city of Berke­ley, where Har­ris briefly lived in as a child be­fore mi­grat­ing to Canada, was well-in­te­grated. A lo­cal school dis­trict, not a fed­eral court, in­sti­tuted the bus­ing pro­gram she joined. Both of her par­ents have Ph.D.s, one a for­mer Stan­ford pro­fes­sor, the other a sci­en­tist who of­ten flew the young Har­ris to In­dia to visit rel­a­tives.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) is run­ning again as an un­apolo­getic so­cial­ist, wag­ing rhetor­i­cal class war­fare against the haves on be­half of the havenots. But while Sanders was of­ten un­der­em­ployed in his ear­lier years, after a life­time of pub­lic of­fice he is now a mil­lion­aire. He re­port­edly owns three homes and earned nearly $1 mil­lion from book roy­al­ties in both 2016 and 2017.

All of these can­di­dates

are run­ning hard against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, the as­sumed wealth­ier, whiter and more toxic male in the White House.

Trump may be many things, and he may ex­ag­ger­ate data and fudge facts. But he at least seems au­then­ti­cally Trump. He does not claim to be a poor vic­tim, but in­stead brags on, or even ex­ag­ger­ates, his bil­lions.

Trump does not down­play his po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect Scot­tish and Ger­man back­ground. In­stead, he of­ten em­pha­sizes both to the point of over­state­ment.

He al­ways ap­pears with his cus­tom­ary comb-over hair, or­ange tan, long tie and suit, and he speaks in the same Queens ac­cent whether he is talk­ing to Alabama farm­ers, West Vir­ginia min­ers or Michi­gan auto work­ers.

In con­trast, Trump’s Demo­cratic ri­vals do not seem es­pe­cially forth­com­ing about who they are. When con­ve­nient, they play down their ad­vanced de­grees, the suc­cess of their par­ents, their own ad­van­taged up­bring­ings, suc­cess­ful as­sim­i­la­tion and stereo­typ­i­cally

bour­geois lives. And based on their at­tacks on fron­trun­ner Bi­den, they seem to want to dis­tance them­selves from any­one up­per­mid­dle-class, white, male, het­ero­sex­ual, Chris­tian or old.

Yet at this late date in the Amer­i­can re­pub­lic, it is hard to find mid­dleaged pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates with­out suc­cess­ful busi­ness or po­lit­i­cal back­grounds, much less any who were or are poor — or who are vic­tim­ized women or os­tra­cized mi­nori­ties.

No mat­ter. The mantra of the new pro­gres­sive move­ment is that racism, misog­yny and class op­pres­sion are ev­ery­where — and that no one is bet­ter ac­quainted with such en­demic ha­tred than up­scale Demo­cratic can­di­dates, who have sup­pos­edly lived through such or­deals.

No won­der such fan­tasies so of­ten re­sult in farce.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.