Friday 28 June 2019

The nature of political charisma

"Warren absolutely came alive when she started taking questions from her audience. Explaining incredibly complex policy problems in a perfectly coherent way turns out to be Warren’s superpower. And while I went in dubious that Warren’s policy-minded campaign could ever compete with the charisma-driven, Father-Knows-Best performances of presidential candidates from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, let alone the supercharged persona of Donald Trump, I realized that I was completely confused about the nature of political charisma itself. [...] 
Warren is, in brief, almost painfully serious precisely because she is banking on public seriousness, running on the notion that bread and circus have had their day, and it is time now to save the republic. Warren is hoping voters are willing to engage with a persona that is competent and sober, qualities they persistently say they value when speaking to pollsters but tend to reject in favor of charisma at the ballot box. But she is proof that competent and sober does not have to mean cold and impersonal on the trail." 
Slate: Watching Elizabeth Warren Come Alive, June 6, 2019 
Warren also said that night that she supported a “national full-blown conversation” about reparations for slavery and Jim Crow. She saw this as a necessary response to the stark wealth gap between black and white families. “Today in America — because of housing discrimination, because of employment discrimination — we live in a world where the average white family has $100 and the average black family has about $5.” Several Democratic candidates have said they support a commission to study reparations. Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of the influential 2014 Atlantic article “The Case for Reparations,” said in a recent interview with The New Yorker that Warren was the candidate whose commitment seemed real because she had asked him to talk with her about his article when it came out years ago. “She was deeply serious,” Coates said.
Warren is often serious and doesn’t hesitate to convey her moral outrage. “I’ll own it,” she told me about her anger. She talked about women expressing to her their distress about sexual harassment and assault. “Well, yeah,” Warren said. “No kidding that a woman might be angry about that. Women have a right to be angry about being treated badly.”
The New York Times: Elizabeth Warren Is Completely Serious, June 17, 2019

No comments: