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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Favorite Non-Fiction Books, #32: One-Car Caravan

Not pictured: Pete Buttigieg. He was only 22.

The steady stream of Democratic candidates announcing their pursuit of the presidency reminds me of Shapiro's book chronicling the lead-up to the 2004 election. That was the last time there was a deeply unpopular, divisive, and incompetent Republican in their first term in the White House, and there was no shortage of Democrats seeking to unseat Bush the Younger. Kerry, Edwards, Kucinich, Dean, Lieberman, Clark, etc. jumped into the ring in 2003, all trying to demonstrate why they were nationally viable. Their positions on the Iraq war, on health care, and on a host of other issues were stripped bare and examined in the kind of exhaustive, self-destructive detail that only the modern media and the holier-than-thou true believers of the modern left can muster. Hence Shapiro's title - Democrats could screw up a one-car caravan. Our talent for fumbling the easiest of electoral opportunities was on display again in 2016, when the predictable and unproductive Clinton-Sanders rift, encouraged by a gleeful corporate media and the plutocrats who run the GOP, led to the worst squander in political history.

And we're about to do it again.

Every time a Democrat says they're interested in contesting for the right to run against Trump, the knives come out and the poor daring soul is dissected for signs of ideological purity. Ain't nobody ever good enough. Ain't nobody ever clean enough. Ain't nobody ever holy enough. There's an old line, perhaps from PJ O'Rourke, that Republican voters want to fall in line, Democratic voters want to fall in love. We saw this in 2016, when the GOP base held their noses and voted for the most unqualified, immoral, and unethical grifter ever to be nominated by a major party for president (and that includes Warren Harding), while Democrats took to social media in droves to declare their intent to sit out or vote third party to preserve their philosophical self-respect. There are lots of ways to run a railroad, I guess. But if we keep behaving like we did in 2003, we'll wind up with a result like we did in 2004.

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