Don't chase votes you'll never get
October 13, 2019
Our family befriended another family in my hometown. We’ll call them the Milsons.
The Milsons visited the Wilsons for dinner and game nights, and the Wilsons visited the Milsons for dinner and game nights. After they moved across the state, we traveled to be part of a surprise Milson anniversary party. Milsons came to our high school graduations.
The Milsons did a few things quite differently from us. Every Halloween, while I was trying to convince my parents Alex Trebek would be a great Halloween costume, the Milsons were posting a sign on their porch to let trick-or-treaters know they didn’t participate in Halloween. They never demanded we stop buying costumes and candy corn, and we still got along just fine.
Flash forward to Thursday. A Democratic presidential candidate forum on LGBTQ issues aired on CNN, and a gay rights leader asked Elizabeth Warren how she’d respond if a voter approached her and said, “I’m old-fashioned, and my faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
Warren responded that she would assume it was a man who asked the question, likely because it was a man asking the question at the forum. “I’m going to say, ‘Then just marry one woman.’ I’m cool with that ... assuming you can find one.”
Seemed like a reasonable response to me. You don’t have to do things your faith teaches you not to do, and you shouldn’t expect lawmakers to outlaw it. And if you describe yourself as old-fashioned, a new-fashioned world may prove difficult.
But then the Bipartisan Unicorn Hunting Brigade pounced. The Washington Post’s Annie Linskey penned, “Warren’s same-sex marriage quip captures what some find exciting — and others distressing — about her.”
It warned that such an answer from Warren served to alienate certain segments of the population —specifically, “conservatives warn that she can come off as condescending and dismissive.”
From the story: Trump voters in places such as the Florida Panhandle and central Pennsylvania, (conservative John Ziegler) said, will think, “Oh my God — this woman hates us.”
It’s classic concern trolling — disingenuous concern about an issue that derails substantive discussion. The Washington Post story never got around to explaining why Warren should take electoral advice from people who want her to lose elections.
The Post isn’t alone in this. Just last month, the New York Times published a piece on how voters reacted on an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, and a bylined reporter promoted the story on Twitter by noting talks with “swing voters” who hated the idea of impeachment. Their swing voters included a person who’s been to 23 Trump rallies and wrote a book about him, a person who voted Trump in 2016 and Republicans in the midterms and a guy with a framed picture of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Gee, I wonder where they’re going to swing in 2020.
Trump voters are going to vote for Trump. It’s literally how they’re described. They’re voting Trump, and they’re unconcerned with whether Elizabeth Warren wants to be BFFs with them.
Exactly how much time should Warren, or anybody, spend chasing their votes or worrying about what offends them?
About as much time as the Milsons spend shopping for Halloween costumes.
Kevin Wilson is editor of the Eastern New Mexico News. He can be contacted at 575-763-3431, ext. 320, or by email: