Black Lives Matter. #MeToo. Joe Kennedy III?

Outraged by President Donald Trump's action in office and fueled by the #metoo and Black Lives Matters movements, De...

Posted: Jan 31, 2018 12:43 PM
Updated: Jan 31, 2018 12:43 PM

Outraged by President Donald Trump's action in office and fueled by the #metoo and Black Lives Matters movements, Democrats' liberal base is hugely engaged and activated.

What better time than the Democratic response to Trump's first State of the Union speech on Tuesday night to capitalize on that momentum with a voice from and of those twin movements, right?

Or pick Joe Kennedy III, a white male Massachusetts Democrat and scion to one of the most famous families in American politics.

That's not to say Kennedy wasn't good; "Droolgate" aside, he delivered a solid rebuttal to Trump and cast Democrats as a credible alternative. And it's not to say Kennedy isn't a voice for the future of the party; at 37, he is widely regarded as a rising star who might someday run for president.

It's just to say that, at first glance, he seemed like a somewhat odd pick for this moment.

But, there are lots of extenuating circumstances that went into the Kennedy selection that show just how hard it is to find exactly the right person to deliver the SOTU response. Among them:

1. 2020 politics: The most prominent names within the Democratic party -- Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris etc. -- are all actively thinking about running against Trump. They represent the diverse face that the party wants to put forward. But, to choose any one of them to deliver this very high profile address would look like that person was getting favorable treatment -- and a leg up in the 2020 jockeying. You can be sure that if, say, Gillibrand was chosen to give the Democratic Response, the political operations for Booker, Warren and Sanders would be up in arms. So, none of them wind up even getting considered.

2. Fundraising: A big part of the calculation when choosing who will give the response to President's State of the union speech is how the party's donor base will respond. You need someone people know -- or someone whose name they recognize. You need to turn their frustration in watching Trump's speech into actual dollar contributed to Democratic causes and committee. Whether or not donors know the specifics of Joe Kennedy III's life, they know his last name and like it. That makes it more likely they decide to part ways with their cash.

3. Proven performer: People, most of whom are sitting on their couch in sweats, are convinced that doing this sort of public speaking is easy. All you have to do is read the teleprompter! As we've seen in the recent past -- Marco Rubio's water grab, Bobby Jindal's unwitting "Kenneth the Page" impersonation -- it's a lot harder than it looks, even for people who make a living speaking in front of large numbers of people. Neither party wants to run the risk of a total PR disaster by plucking someone who isn't used to the bright lights of a national address. They want a proven performer; a safe pick is always better than a sorry pick.

When you run all of the prospective Democratic response deliverers through that gauntlet, the number of choices is much more limited. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has an interesting profile but is largely unknown nationally. Ditto Rhode Island's Gina Raimondo, who, nonetheless, would have been an intriguing pick. Virtually every Senate Democrat under 65 is running for -- or thinking about running for -- president. Aside from Nancy Pelosi, who is too divisive a figure to put in the response speaking slot, there just aren't any House members with national profiles.

And so, the duty fell to Joe Kennedy III. He wasn't the perfect pick. But that''s because a perfect pick almost certainly didn't exist.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 768624

Reported Deaths: 13993
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1055891807
Lake569801031
Allen43032699
St. Joseph37344568
Hamilton37335426
Elkhart29783470
Tippecanoe23503230
Vanderburgh23240405
Porter19580327
Johnson18843392
Hendricks18089323
Madison13575347
Clark13552198
Vigo12869256
LaPorte12578225
Monroe12575178
Delaware11155198
Howard10693237
Kosciusko9792124
Hancock8761150
Bartholomew8274157
Warrick8084157
Floyd8043182
Grant7378181
Wayne7239201
Boone7211105
Morgan6924143
Marshall6345117
Dubois6283118
Cass6096112
Dearborn602178
Noble600890
Henry5958111
Jackson517277
Shelby511598
Lawrence4928127
Gibson463696
Montgomery459292
DeKalb456785
Clinton456055
Harrison454077
Huntington417882
Whitley416745
Steuben411260
Miami406073
Jasper401655
Knox388691
Putnam385762
Wabash370384
Adams353856
Ripley351971
Jefferson343487
White340154
Daviess3089100
Wells304081
Greene295185
Decatur292693
Fayette286564
Posey282635
Scott281058
LaGrange277772
Clay274949
Washington254637
Randolph247783
Jennings239749
Spencer238731
Fountain235850
Starke229959
Owen222959
Sullivan221643
Fulton208945
Jay203032
Carroll197722
Orange191756
Perry189939
Vermillion181144
Rush177627
Tipton173347
Franklin172535
Parke155916
Pike142534
Blackford138032
Pulaski123748
Newton123336
Benton109715
Brown106243
Crawford105816
Martin92515
Warren87915
Switzerland8378
Union73610
Ohio58411
Unassigned0429

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1125420

Reported Deaths: 20490
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1305631493
Cuyahoga1173952263
Hamilton825481261
Montgomery536581062
Summit489381014
Lucas43799834
Butler40064614
Stark33876939
Lorain26072510
Warren24959312
Mahoning22738613
Lake21482396
Clermont20425261
Delaware19169138
Licking16879227
Trumbull16829492
Fairfield16825207
Medina15880276
Greene15565254
Clark14366308
Portage13450218
Wood13358201
Allen12064245
Richland11748213
Miami11047228
Wayne9275228
Columbiana9216236
Muskingum9144137
Pickaway8755123
Tuscarawas8724255
Marion8716140
Erie8146166
Ashtabula7280179
Hancock7050135
Ross7031165
Geauga6975153
Scioto6726108
Belmont6224179
Lawrence5964104
Union591649
Jefferson5729162
Huron5644122
Sandusky5498130
Darke5448131
Seneca5380128
Washington5373111
Athens527260
Auglaize507787
Mercer491785
Shelby484397
Knox4621113
Madison448066
Ashland446198
Defiance439499
Fulton436875
Putnam4358104
Crawford4120111
Brown410462
Preble3956107
Logan392279
Clinton391466
Ottawa376481
Highland366668
Williams357378
Champaign349860
Guernsey331554
Jackson321954
Perry299050
Morrow294943
Fayette289350
Hardin279665
Henry277467
Coshocton273061
Holmes2726102
Van Wert252365
Gallia251150
Adams250958
Pike244837
Wyandot235557
Hocking222963
Carroll201449
Paulding180142
Meigs151540
Monroe137945
Noble137939
Harrison115438
Morgan111724
Vinton87517
Unassigned04
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