Imagine a Republican woman candidate whose conservative credentials are questioned by some....because the candidate's husband is African-American.
Now imagine a Fox News show in which a conservative pundit advises that the candidate needs a "strong white man" as her advocate. A second conservative pundit agrees, adding: "let's just be candid. When you're saying she needs to have an advocate out there for her, it's not going to be her [African-American] husband."
Now imagine the firestorm that would light up the political/media landscape. Cries of sexism and racism would echo through the land. A woman can't succeed without a "strong man?" And black men need not apply? Both pundits -- and the show host if he hadn't vigorously disagreed with their takes -- would be banished from the boob tube by dawn.
But the mirror image of that scenario is what played out on Joy Reid's MSNBC show this morning. The topic was Kamala Harris's presidential prospects. Tiffany Cross of The Beat DC was first up. After claiming that Harris's record as a prosecutor made her suspect among African-American men, she said:
TIFFANY CROSS: Black men. Blue-collar black men. They're going to have a problem with her record . . . but I will say, I think the African-American community expects more from people who look like us, particularly a candidate who represents us . . . She needs to find a strong, black man advocate who can be in her corner at some point in the campaign -- at any space in her campaign, I would say, that's my key advice: find a prominent blue-collar, self-made, black man to be in your corner."
MSNBC analyst Jason Johnson took it a step further, disqualifying Harris's white husband as a potential advocate. "Let's just be candid. When you're saying she needs to have an advocate out there, it's not going to be her [white] husband. She needs to surround herself with African-American men."
Note: this was also an exercise in identity politics at its most explicit. Consider this from Cross: "the African-American community expects more from people who look like us."
Reid didn't disagree with any of her guests, but fretted that Harris might be the only candidate to pay a price for her law-enforcement background, whereas Joe Biden and Cory Booker voted for a crime bill which is now controversial on the left.