The LGBTQ Forum

In case you weren’t aware, was a Democratic Candidates’ forum in Iowa recently that specialized on LGBTQ issues.

Not a Shitshow

Many Republicans, even those of the Never Trump variety, found it wince-inducing. And yes, if you search through the whole 2½ hour forum, you can easily compile a video of the “worst of the worst” excerpts. That’s more a function of the length of the event than of how bad (or not) it was. Any 2½ hour forum is going to have its off moments.

Only to Be Expected

The LGBTQ community is one of the Democrat’s core constituencies, and it is an identity politics issue*. Thus, such issues can be brought up without the perceived risks of class politics, something the Establishment wing of the party is loathe to broach. Given that partywide consensus, such a forum is only to be expected.

* Note that labeling something “identity politics” is not a dismissal of it as an issue unworthy of concern. Most so-called identity politics is tightly bound to the cause of human liberation, and thus critically important. The rub is, so is class politics. Identity politics only becomes a problem when it is pursued in place of class politics, not in addition to class politics. Focusing on class politics without identity politics is as big and glaring an omission as is focusing on identity politics without class politics.

There Were Problems

There was little or no effort made to standardize any questions, making comparisons between the candidates more difficult. Moreover, the moderators really slipped up on the format, allowing Williamson to give an opening statement but not any other candidates.

Biden Did Poorly

He stumbled when he wasn’t allowed his opening statement. Clearly, candidates had been informed they were to give one, then the moderators slipped up. He should have been pushier. Then he really stumbled when his past record was brought up, in many cases trying to employ technicalities and weasel words to deny his past positions.

Look, Biden has a problem: no other candidate has held an an office as high as he has, and public attitudes on LGBTQ issues have shifted a lot in the past quarter century. To get where he did, he had to espouse ideas, whether he believed them or not, which are now considered unacceptably backward. Biden probably couldn’t be that frank, but he could have said that despite his age, he’s open to learning, and his evolution on LGBTQ issues is evidence of that. Instead, he came off as slimy and evasive.

Sanders Did Worst of All

He was a no-show. To reiterate, focusing on class politics without identity politics is as big and glaring an omission as is focusing on identity politics without class politics.

Warren Did Well

There wasn’t much schoolmarm on display that night. She really connected with her audience. Her answer on the marriage issue was a classic. If this is a representative sample of how Warren is now presenting herself, she is a much more viable candidate than she used to be, and probably now the most viable candidate, period.

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