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June 3rd, 2010 5:38 pm
The Other Candidate Running Against Barbara Boxer

For those paying attention to the U.S. Senate race in California, it would be a forgivable sin of omission if one thought that all of Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) campaign opponents sported an “R” after their name.  But apparently, she’s got competition in her Democratic primary next Tuesday: Slate contributor Mickey Kaus.

Surprisingly, Kaus is running to Boxer’s right on issues like firing bad public school teachers (supports), and amnesty for illegal immigrants (opposes).  And for those who would tar and feather Kaus as an ideological heretic, consider his response:

I’d argue these are the positions a liberal who cared about government and inequality would take. Why do Democrats reject them? They increasingly say it’s not so much because of policy, but because of politics: they have to turn out the “base” to win the next election, and the “base” consists of union members and Latinos (plus African Americans, who are badly hurt by illegal immigration but whom the party takes for granted).

Never mind that this theory is nearly unfalsifiable–if the Democrats lose, its proponents will always say that they just didn’t please the base enough. Has base-pleasing ever panned out? Looking back over recent elections, I can only think of one where the “base” was clearly more important than the moderate middle–that was the presidential election of 2004, when George W. Bush turned out millions of new right-wing voters many people thought didn’t exist. But most recent mid-term elections have been preceded by predictions that “Hey, given the low turnout it all depends on mobilizing the base!”–only to be followed by acknowledgments that it was moderate swing voters who swung the result.

If only Senator Boxer would debate this guy…

H/T: Huffington Post

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