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 11:43 AM
Updated: Jan 31, 2018 11:43 AM

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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 755401

Reported Deaths: 8531
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1513291905
Ramsey62614972
Dakota56158520
Anoka53010513
Washington33145327
Stearns27922252
St. Louis23178352
Scott21316159
Wright20879170
Olmsted17821118
Sherburne15232111
Carver1336954
Clay1006598
Rice9855131
Blue Earth949559
Crow Wing9254105
Kandiyohi819195
Chisago816662
Otter Tail7807104
Benton7363108
Beltrami633276
Mower631740
Douglas616189
Goodhue603683
Winona603653
Itasca596978
McLeod580868
Steele572425
Isanti558172
Morrison541565
Becker518762
Polk502577
Freeborn480842
Nobles477052
Lyon444456
Carlton438666
Nicollet423051
Pine419930
Cass413142
Mille Lacs403565
Brown398846
Todd389336
Le Sueur378331
Meeker350452
Waseca322629
Martin316534
Wabasha28495
Hubbard283644
Dodge26819
Roseau258924
Fillmore236312
Redwood234143
Wadena230229
Houston229017
Renville224249
Faribault214630
Pennington213227
Sibley204512
Cottonwood193027
Kanabec187130
Chippewa185839
Aitkin178442
Watonwan168711
Pope15328
Rock153219
Yellow Medicine151120
Jackson144114
Koochiching137219
Clearwater133318
Swift132619
Pipestone131627
Marshall131419
Murray131310
Stevens122311
Lake106221
Wilkin100214
Lac qui Parle95024
Mahnomen86312
Norman8459
Big Stone7874
Grant7669
Lincoln7525
Kittson59522
Red Lake5769
Unassigned528124
Traverse5005
Lake of the Woods4524
Cook2420

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 467281

Reported Deaths: 6685
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk73698716
Linn28680379
Scott24441271
Black Hawk20130355
Woodbury18854242
Johnson17800100
Dubuque15577228
Pottawattamie14073197
Dallas13894107
Story1275148
Warren763496
Webster6876111
Cerro Gordo6816107
Clinton6814100
Des Moines657893
Marshall635484
Muscatine6294113
Wapello5807136
Jasper571478
Lee560787
Sioux560276
Marion499791
Buena Vista489745
Plymouth459187
Henry378647
Jones365160
Washington362255
Bremer353867
Benton352056
Boone344837
Carroll341753
Crawford337345
Mahaska313656
Dickinson297651
Clay274631
Buchanan274239
Jackson270445
Kossuth269373
Hardin266448
Tama261476
Fayette253848
Delaware253444
Cedar246326
Page244827
Wright240945
Winneshiek230837
Hamilton228553
Floyd216744
Harrison215277
Madison214325
Clayton210058
Poweshiek206840
Iowa204229
Butler203237
Jefferson197340
Mills197227
Allamakee192952
Cherokee191943
Lyon190641
Cass190557
Winnebago185432
Hancock184739
Calhoun184115
Appanoose175950
Shelby174239
Louisa169651
Grundy167937
Emmet163842
Franklin163328
Humboldt161826
Mitchell161843
Union159437
Chickasaw156418
Sac156323
Guthrie154034
Palo Alto140831
Clarke140028
Montgomery138941
Keokuk137534
Monroe131534
Howard125422
Ida116641
Davis113825
Greene113712
Lucas112224
Pocahontas109323
Monona107436
Worth10678
Adair103634
Osceola91117
Fremont83711
Van Buren82721
Decatur81212
Taylor78612
Wayne72024
Ringgold66827
Audubon64514
Adams4984
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