Lessons from 1968 and other commentary

2020 watch: Lessons From 1968

“A potential political bloodbath at this summer’s Democratic presidential convention, along with Bernie Sanders supporters’ ‘establishment versus Bernie’ campaign motif,” reminds City Journal’s Howard Husock of 1968. Like today, Democrats then “faced a showdown between their left and center wings” — which led to violence at the ’68 convention as anti-Vietnam War protestors fought with police. “Then as now, leftist activists denounced Democrats whom they deemed ‘not revolutionary enough.’” After Eugene McCarthy’s strong showing in New Hampshire drove President Lyndon Johnson out of the race, they “condemned” his vice president, Hubert Humphrey — who went on to become the nominee. Yet the “madness” didn’t lead to the election of a Democratic president. Instead, Richard Nixon, “longtime bête noire of the Left,” prevailed. “Sanders supporters should take note.”

Libertarian: The ‘Moderate Biden’ Fallacy

Joe Biden’s surprisingly strong Super Tuesday showing “looks like a victory for the Democratic Party’s moderate forces,” notes Reason’s Peter Suderman, but “there is a problem with this view”: Biden “is notably to the left of previous Democratic standard-bearers.” The former veep eschews rival Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All scheme but “would nevertheless set up a new, government-run insurance plan” and “expand eligibility for insurance subsidies well into the middle class.” He’s “proposed a $1.7 trillion climate plan that is similar in scope to many candidates on his left” and “$3.4 trillion worth of tax hikes,” double what Hillary Clinton called for in 2016. If Biden beats Sanders, he’ll “be the leftmost presidential nominee in memory even while representing the party’s center,” meaning “the party’s current moderates will have won — but true moderation will have lost.”

Conservative: Excusing ‘Liberal’ Violence

First Things’ R.R. Reno is “struck by the double standard” evidenced by Sen. Chuck Schumer’s threats to Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. “The media constantly warns us about the supposed threat of right-wing violence, carefully monitoring conservatives” and condemning any rhetoric that “seems to encourage ‘extremism.’ Yet politically motivated street violence in the United States comes almost entirely from leftist antifa gangs, which are not criticized and in most cases not prosecuted.” And Schumer’s “incendiary words” received “no rebukes from liberals.” Seeing the right as “a polluting force,” “establishment liberals” figure that makes it OK to “excuse the excesses” of their effort “to eradicate” conservatives’ influence. It’s clear the modern left is “not averse” to “threats and intimidation — and even violence — in defense of its causes.”

Science desk: Overdoing It on COVID-19

Attempts to protect yourself from coronavirus and prevent its spread can lead to “not always rational” worries about your daily habits, groans The Atlantic’s Sarah Zhang. After washing her hands “dutifully” for “two cycles of ‘Happy Birthday,’” for instance, she touched her phone, prompting worries that she had used it earlier with “unwashed hands while riding the bus and buying groceries and touching doorknobs.” She also fretted about the counter she set it on, and, “Oh my God, did I just touch my face?” Yet “it’s hard to change habits,” requiring real “mental energy.” Best to “stop beating yourself up about it” — lest you risk becoming “so overwhelmed” that you go down “a compulsive spiral” and “throw your (unwashed) hands up and despair.”

From the right: ‘Sexism’ Didn’t Cause Liz’s Loss

After Elizabeth Warren’s “disastrous performance on Super Tuesday,” her decision to end her campaign “shouldn’t have surprised anyone,” argues Commentary’s Christine Rosen. Yet her “staunchest supporters” are blaming “sexism” for her loss. In reality, “Warren didn’t have a gender problem,” but a “trust and authenticity problem” thanks to her “multiple fabulations about her personal history” and “opportunistic” embrace of “intersectionality politics.” Polls show voters are just as likely to vote for female as for male candidates, so Dems should “stop blaming sexism when a female candidate can’t sustain a winning campaign.” Sometimes, says Rosen, the candidate is “just not that good of a politician.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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