NYT Plays Identify Politics: Dem's ‘Remarkable Counterpoint to Anti-Muslim Policy and Sentiment’

August 15th, 2018 4:30 PM

Indulging in obvious identify politics in Wednesday’s New York Times, reporter Elizabeth Dias celebrated Rashida Tlaib’s Democratic primary victory in Detroit right along with her supporters in “Candidate’s Palestinian Heritage Infuses Sense of Community in Detroit.

In November, Ms. Tlaib (pronounced ta-LEEB), a daughter of Palestinian immigrants, may become the first Muslim woman to serve in Congress. Her victory in the Democratic primary last week, though narrow, all but guarantees her election, as she is running unopposed in a very blue district that Representative John Conyers Jr. held for more than half a century. (She could be joined by another Muslim woman, Ilhan Omar, who won the Democratic primary in her Minneapolis House district Tuesday night).

Dias admitted that Tlaib “champions progressive policies like Medicare For All, a $15 minimum wage and abolishing ICE, and is both a Democrat and a democratic socialist....” But the real story is she’s Muslim.

The paper loves her leftism, but likes her ethnic and religious background even more.

Already, her story offers a remarkable counterpoint to anti-Muslim policy and sentiment rising around the country, and especially to President Trump, who has banned travel from several majority-Muslim countries. Ms. Tlaib drew national attention when she confronted Mr. Trump during his 2016 speech to the Detroit Economic Club.

In a year when a record number of women are running for Congress, and races across the country include gay, lesbian and transgender candidates and many people of color, Ms. Tlaib, 42, represents a new addition to the mosaic of American politics.

Dias relayed some piteous, sympathy-inducing anecdotes:

She passed her old high school, Southwestern, now boarded up and empty because of budget cuts, and cried out in delight when she noticed someone had put her campaign sign on the fence. Down the road, she pointed out the mural she helped paint years ago beneath a bridge, and the sidewalk where she vomited after a girl beat her up at age 9 or 10 because she was scrawny and poor.

Dias followed around Tlaib, who seems to exist in a constant state of symbol-making and virtue signaling, while ignoring harder-edged stands like her pledge to vote against military aid to Israel.

Ms. Tlaib attributes her political vision and sense of justice to her Palestinian heritage. She often references checkpoints around her relatives’ homes near Ramallah in the West Bank and how they limit residents’ access to health care and education.

When she stopped by a Middle Eastern bakery for lunch, she refused to purchase a water bottle, in spite of the summer heat, because it was manufactured by Nestle, which has increased the volume of water it pumps from Lake Michigan.


Asked how she proposes to pay for Medicare For All, she pulled up the Department of Defense website and read aloud from its daily announcements of new contracts, some earmarked for hundreds of millions of dollars. “This is unbelievable,” she said. “Oh and by the way, this was just for the Navy.”

She sees standing up for Muslims and Arab-Americans amid the rise of Islamophobia as part of her broader civil rights ambitions for all Americans....

At least Dias tagged Tlaib correct ideologically -- perhaps a sign that the paper thinks America no longer fears the "far-left" tag and it is free to celebrate it?

Ms. Tlaib, who voted for Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Michigan primary, is part of a new class of far-left candidates that has had some political successes so far -- most prominently Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York -- but that also has had many losses....


She hopes at least one other Muslim woman will be there too. This weekend, Ms. Tlaib sent a dozen of her campaign workers to Minnesota to do a last minute canvas push for [Ilhan] Omar, a state legislator.

In 2012, Omar tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized the world” to ignore its “evil doings.” Dias didn’t mention it.