Fear and Loathing at the Las Vegas Debate

Wednesday evening’s debate in Nevada was a spectacularly entertaining and grotesque spectacle. To call it a “debate” would not do justice to what really transpired. It was a character study in real-time of the soul of man under liberalism. The vulgarity, the vicious snipes, the shameful pandering to minorities, came together in a perfect summation of modern progressivism. If it can be taken as some kind of statement, some guileless expression of the true nature of the Left, then we must take it as a warning: for the love of God, keep these people out of the White House.

Until now, the Democratic candidates mostly have stuck to rehearsed lines about policy using woke buzzwords. There was plenty of that this time around, but there were fewer scripted moments. There was more ugliness but, at the same time, more truth was revealed.

The introduction of Mike Bloomberg turned Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) into a war-whooping berserker, and the rest quickly followed suit. Every candidate came with a poison-tipped dagger prepared for every other candidate. Their candor was for the benefit of the viewing public. It’s true that, as Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said, Pete Buttigieg is an unreconstructed political humanoid, a robot who has “memorized a bunch of talking points.” Who knew that civility was such a deceiver? When Democrats get real with each other, they say what we’re all thinking.

The brutal frankness was mixed with the usual dose of nauseating, identity-based pandering. Bloomberg had it coming, of course, but he was also the victim of a religious enthusiasm. Popular during his tenure as mayor of New York, Bloomberg was eviscerated more or less for the same things that had won him approval during his tenure. His straightforward comments on crime trends, and his city’s no-nonsense approach to dealing with them, became the target of a cultural inquisition.

Bloomberg’s presence accented the only real fault line: class. In spite of the viciousness, the only real disagreements that emerged had to do with healthcare and what counts as a just distribution of wealth. These are significant issues, but they’re not everything, and they are entangled with things like culture and immigration. But none of those entangling issues were discussed; instead, they were wielded like weapons. It was precisely that underlying and manic uniformity that was most striking. At the quietest moments, we got pretentious, polysyllabic word salad about “environmental justice” and “communities of color.” At the loudest we got, essentially, what Barack Obama had warned the Democrats about: a circular firing squad.

Buttigieg raised a great point: what was Amy Klobuchar thinking when she voted to make English the national language over a decade ago? Had she considered in the year 2007, when political figures from both parties still talked about illegal immigration like it was a crime, how that would impact undocumented communities? Did she consider how it would make them feel, how it would affect her standing in the pitiless gaze of History? It’s exactly like Buttigieg said: we need to “recognize that investing in Latino entrepreneurship is not just an investment in the Latino community, it is an investment in the future of America.”

NBC was on the same page. What would Klobuchar do, in short order, to “protect the Dreamers permanently?” The Left may have their disagreements, but some things, like immigration policy, are just not worth discussing. Add to that mix foreign policy, which somehow did not come up at all.

No one was pressed on immigration, other than to secure his or her commitment to amnesty, and in a debate that focused so much on healthcare, free healthcare for illegal immigrants did not come up either. It was as if they had it all figured out, except they didn’t. When it came time to talk jobs, they all agreed that killing thousands of good jobs today for the sake of an abstract struggle against the climate tomorrow is the way to go. Vague promises of new jobs in the “Green economy” would suffice for a plan. In a debate presumably focused on economics, the most basic part of economics—jobs—was left up to chance.

Like a walk down Fremont Street at 3 a.m., the Las Vegas showdown was a freakshow. It was tawdry and appalling. It was also revealing. These “debates” are typically shallow, but this one was more substantial than usual because it was so personal. It demystified all of the slogans about civility and working together and tolerance. The petty and vicious soul of the Left was on full display.

Trump should not be terribly worried. The Democrats showed that they are inept and unprepared for this election, too self-absorbed to set aside their personal ambitions and work for the good of their party, to say nothing of their country. None of these candidates deserves to be president, and the way things are looking none of them is likely to be burdened with the task. People who know how to do nothing but apologize for America, and even for their own existence, have no business being in the White House.

But they also gave a dark glimpse of what would happen if Trump loses. A government would come to power that is careless, even malicious, toward its people and yet solicitous of the welfare of foreign nationals who can’t speak English. This national despoliation would be justified with righteous indignation, with the same righteousness in which they targeted each other. As we now know, under the terrifying pressure of this righteousness, even the most wealthy and powerful men in the world, with enough raw ambition and cowardice, can be made to apologize for being alive.

Filled with this righteousness, petty tyrants would sell out the country while assured of the goodness of their work. That should terrify every American.

About Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a Mt. Vernon fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a staff writer and weekly columnist at the Conservative Institute. His writing has also appeared in the Daily Caller. Follow him on Twitter @matt_boose. ‏

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