Dr. Ken Houser’s letter “Stop the infighting” (The Sentinel, Aug. 7, 2019) voices a concern many share regarding the Democratic presidential debates. As he says, “If the Democratic party’s objective is to take back the White House in 2020, they need to stop attacking each other.”
There is, however, another side to this “infighting.” I compare it to something familiar to most Pennsylvanians. It’s the annual deer rut. The stags engage in combat to establish a hierarchy, and the alphas — the strongest, most agile — win the prize: they get to replenish the herd.
Presidential debates, Democratic and Republican alike, serve a similar function: which candidate is the alpha — the strongest, the wisest, the most compelling, the one to win the prize of the nomination?
To further the analogy, in the first two 2019 debates I’ve seen a couple of lower tier candidates react like “deer in the headlights” when they were attacked. Even bottom rank is too high for them.
The Republicans experienced the same debate rutting last time. Their candidates fought tooth and nail. Trump ran against the GOP herd and horned out even the crown prince, whom he called “low energy Jeb” Bush and other would-be’s like “little Marco” Rubio.
This time the Democrats need not worry that their contestants will dash all hopes of a 2020 victory. Trump’s GOP rivals said even worse things about him four years ago. He won anyway.
Besides, in the Dem debates, the hopefuls won’t say anything about one another that Trump’s minions won’t snuff out on their own. What’s more, The Donald will dream up even more outlandish accusations to hurl at his eventual opponent.
Let “The Rut” continue. It’s part of the great American quadrennial game!
Jered L. Hock