Common Dreams - February 18, 2020
Princeton University professor Eddie Glaude on cable news network MSNBC on Tuesday morning called out former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt for hypocritically insisting that President Donald Trump represents a crisis of democracy—but that Schmidt would not vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders if Sanders got the Democratic nomination.
"If Donald Trump is the emergency that you say he is, and the Democratic Party puts forward Bernie Sanders, and you tell me you can't vote for him, then it seems to me that Donald Trump isn't the emergency that you say he is," Glaude said in response to Schmidt's pleas that the Democrats nominate someone that Republicans could vote for.
Schmidt, in response, said that Sanders is promising "free everything," a reference to the Vermont senator's plans to tax the rich to pay for social services like healthcare and student loan forgiveness. Host Stephanie Ruhle pushed back, calling that charge unfair.
"Brilliant Eddie Glaude calling out 'Never Bernie' hypocrisy," said activist Samuel Finklestein.
A longtime GOP operative, Schmidt served in the President George W. Bush administration as an aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney; Schmidt then worked on Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, which relied on stoking homophobic panic over gay marriage as a strategy to get out the right-wing vote. Schmidt was also an advisor to former Sen. John McCain's presidential run in 2008. He has been an MSNBC contributor since at least 2011, leaving briefly in 2019 to work on Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's failed exploration of a presidential bid.
After Trump's ascendance and election, Schmidt adopted a "Never-Trump" stance, using the perception of himself as a principled conservative to encourage the Democratic Party to shift further to the right.
On Tuesday, Glaude had had enough.
After his MSNBC appearance, the Princeton professor took to Twitter to remind voters that GOP concern over Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, is hard to reconcile with the party's overuse of the term in recent years.
"Remember: Republicans called Barack Obama a socialist," Glaude tweeted. "We can't be afraid of that word. Candidates must be bold and visionary—our country desperately needs it."
"Not that these labels tell us much about anything," added Glaude. "But Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was, according to many, a democratic socialist."