The racism of the progressive Left struts its stuff in the Los Angeles Times’ treatment of Larry Elder’s run for governor in California. Governor Gavin Newsome faces a recall election and, should he be defeated, another person will be elected simultaneously. Attorney, radio host and commentator Elder leads the pack of those hoping to replace Newsome.
Elder is a black conservative which means he terrifies the liberal powers that be in the Golden State. Now, my guess is that that alone makes it a good bet that Newsome will retain office. There are plenty of liberals and Democrats in the state who don’t like Newsome or the job he’s done as governor, but who’ll balk at voting for his recall if it means electing a Republican. I think Elder’s the best thing Newsome has going for him. We’ll soon find out.
Whatever happens, the Democratic establishment is pulling out all the stops to keep Newsome in office. That includes attacking Elder by means fair or foul, the latter being the Times’ method of choice.
It’s that method that’s so fascinating. Reading the Times piece, it’s plain that liberal Democrats have no argument on the merits with which to counter Elder’s oft-repeated comments on black crime, the police and the impact of liberal policies on black well-being. Put simply, the Times’ piece boils down to two assertions: (1) Larry Elder is a white supremacist and (2) by disagreeing with the black liberal leadership on how best to address racial issues, Elder is beyond the pale of right think. Amazingly, in an article of some 2,500 words, the author, Times columnist Erika Smith, never offers evidence for her naked assertions. It’s as if she believes the assertion itself proves its truth.
Despicably, her article calls Elder a white supremacist, right there in its headline. Not content with that absurd libel, Smith approvingly quotes state senator Sydney Kamlager thus:
“I’m not interested in going back to Jim Crow because I want to have a Black person as governor.”
Really? Elder’s election would mean the return to the era of Jim Crow? Yes, Jim Crow laws are uniformly illegal in this country and yes, the state will remain, on average, extremely liberal regardless of who’s governor, and yes, even in Republican-dominated states, nothing even resembling Jim Crow exists and no, Larry Elder no more espouses such racism than the man in the moon, but, in the echo chamber that is California left politics, such nonsense is OK to utter without fear of contradiction.
And that’s what Smith does. So, for example, she sneers at Elder for citing facts about high black crime rates and that blacks themselves are the main victims of black crime. Apparently, Smith disagrees. As such, we’d expect her to offer a cogent rejoinder. She doesn’t. Here’s Smith’s one response:
Few things infuriate me more than watching a Black person use willful blindness and cherry-picked facts to make overly simplistic [sic] arguments that whitewash the complex problems that come along with being Black in America.
That’s all. Now, as a writer, I know that, when you accuse someone else of “blindness,” using “cherry-picked facts” and being “overly simplistic,” the very next thing you must do is demonstrate how they are those things. You produce facts and argue logically to prove your points. Smith seizes the opportunity to do neither. If she could prove her points, she would have, but she didn’t. It’s telling.
What she does is move on to, paragraph after paragraph, simply quote others who do as she does, i.e., attack Elder with support-free claims. This represents the genre:
“He is a danger, a clear and present danger,” said Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
Oh, to whom? How so? Why do you say that? Nary a peep of factual support for her naked assertion. Apparently, it’s a self-evident truth.
What really rankles Smith and those she quotes is that Elder refuses to agree with “black leadership.”
“Larry Elder goes out of his way to be at odds with the leadership in the Black community and at odds with the thinking in the Black community.”
Memo to Smith, et al: that’s the point. One of Elder’s main arguments is that liberal black leadership, liberal policies and liberal thinking have entirely failed everyday blacks. He’s got a lot of company. People like Thomas Sowell, Jason Riley, Shelby Steele and others staunchly maintain that blacks generally would be far better off without liberal intervention. Malcolm X thought the same. Plus, since at least the 60s, there’s been a small cottage industry of black “leaders” who get power, prestige and money from exactly the liberal policies that hold many blacks back and are currently so wrong about their analysis of the causes and cures of racial disparities. Elder is happy to swim outside of that mainstream. He wants to lead.
Which brings me to one of the article’s core contradictions.
Some Black people do agree with him. We aren’t a monolith, so it’s true, he does have fans who are Black and are likely to vote for him.
Right. But, according to Smith, while black Americans “aren’t a monolith” and many are their disagreements over public policy, somehow there can be only one “black leadership” that, coincidentally, agrees with her and her friends. If there’s another set of black leaders, Smith doesn’t let on about them and carefully doesn’t quote any.
The reality of course is quite different. There are 47 million black Americans, they don’t all think alike and they don’t all think like Erika Smith or those she anoints as “leaders.” In fact, there’s a very lively debate underway for the souls and votes of black folk. We’ve been doing things the liberal way since Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and many blacks say it’s been a miserable and vastly expensive failure.
Those blacks tend to believe that the United States isn’t generally racist, that blacks are victimized mostly by other blacks and that blacks are fully capable of doing for themselves and should. It’s an argument for equality of rights, equality of treatment, equality of respect and equality of responsibility. It’s an argument against the notion that blacks are eternally victims who can’t succeed without white help. More and more, it’s an argument with far greater appeal than the old, outworn and unsuccessful assertions on display by those like Smith who’d rather open a vein than admit that racial disparities might have something to do with black behavior and not how “systems” treat that behavior.
People like Smith can (and will) continue hurling racist epithets at blacks like Elder who seek true leadership and offer real hope to black communities. But soon enough, a critical mass of people may come to realize that those epithets are all the Left has and that they’re not enough.