Dems are going to hit him repeatedly next year for his “very fine people on both sides” comment after Charlottesville. He might as well start hitting back now.
Trump says Democrats "anti-Jewish" party pic.twitter.com/lBLbSD2Fmv
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) March 8, 2019
I’d say “are becoming” instead of “have become,” as progressives are still a ways away from a full party takeover. But they’re working on it. Ilhan Omar, for instance, doesn’t seem the least bit shamed by this episode. She celebrated yesterday’s whitewash resolution on Twitter last night and winked at the controversy she’s caused in a profile for Politico:
What I learned is that, despite the cautionary tale offered by years of vicious Republican infighting, Democrats are dangerously close to entering into their own fratricidal conflict. On matters of both style and substance, the fractures within this freshman class are indicative of the broader divisions in a party long overdue for an ideological reckoning.
And Omar isn’t shying away from it. “I am certainly not looking to be comfortable, and I don’t want everyone necessarily to feel comfortable around me,” she told me, a mischievous smile tugging at her lips. “I think really the most exciting things happen when people are extremely uncomfortable.”
“Make Jews extremely uncomfortable” would be a fine 2020 slogan for the Democratic nominee. There’s no form of “disruption” quite like anti-semitism.
It’s not just Omar who’s looking to have uncomfortable conversations about AIPAC and “the Benjamins” and dual loyalty either:
I’ve heard this from more than one freshman Democrat when asked about Omar’s comments. They use the word “uncomfortable” often. Need for those types of convos. https://t.co/uYHqGn003I
— Anna Palmer (@apalmerdc) March 8, 2019
Politico has another story out today about how Bernie Sanders raced to be the first Democratic presidential candidate to solidly support Omar in this week’s controversy, knowing that progressives and some black voters will appreciate support for a Muslim woman of color forcing “uncomfortable conversations” about Jews and the nature of America’s support for the Jewish state. The left wants a Corbynized party and the DSA dregs make no bones about it. “If anti-Semitism is the price of a socialist America,” says Matt Continetti, aptly summing up their attitude, “so be it.”
Bear all of that in mind today when they start hyperventilating about Trump’s allegedly very unfair comments. But also read this NYT piece, which finds an interesting mix of reaction to what Omar said in her home district. Some “progressive” Jews are supportive but some Somali-Americans are not:
Longtime members of the Somali community still speak about the profiling they experienced in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and about the fear they felt after a mosque was bombed by white supremacists in nearby Bloomington in 2017. In those difficult times, they said, Jewish leaders in Minnesota made a point of stating their support.
“When religion is under attack, they stand by us, because they’ve been there,” said Zahra Ali, a Somali-American resident of Minneapolis who once saw Ms. Omar’s election as a beacon of hope but who did not plan to vote for her again.
“For her to go out there and target, on a daily basis, Jews, is very sad,” Ms. Ali said.
“There have already been mutterings about a primary challenge in 2020,” the Times goes on to say, without specifying who’s doing the alleged muttering and how loudly. Pelosi would no doubt love to cure her Omar headache by replacing her with a Democrat less prone to “uncomfortable conversations” but the perverse reality of this week’s uproar is that it’s made Omar into a progressive cause celebre. Any attempt by the Democratic leadership to promote a primary challenger to her would enrage the base at this point; if there’s to be one, it’ll have to be entirely grassroots, which makes it a longshot. And even if a challenger gained momentum and began to contend seriously for the seat, progressives would start chipping in with donations to Omar to try to beat back the challenge. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would surely make an appearance in the district to try to save her buddy’s seat as well. They’re not letting her go, especially not now. Says Seth Mandel:
Engel got rolled—because Dems ‘drop dead’ message to Jews 1) won’t lose them a meaningful number of Jewish voters, 2) will energize the grassroots ahead of the election.
“Throw the Jew down the well” is a net vote-getter, folks. Welcome to every point in history ever. https://t.co/jgNioWj28B
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) March 7, 2019
It’s true of Steve King’s district too, he went on to say. The most striking thing about Pelosi’s capitulation on the House resolution this week is that Omar ended up being punished less this time for pushing anti-semitic stereotypes than she was last month, when she chattered about AIPAC and “the Benjamins.” She was essentially rewarded for doubling down. The same is true with her electoral prospects: There’s probably less of a chance of a successful primary challenge now, after the dual-loyalty remarks, than there was before because now the left feels motivated to keep those “uncomfortable conversations” coming. This is what Corbynization looks like.