Why Does It Sound Like Pandering When Democrats Say the Right Things?

The first viral image of the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate was Cory Booker glaring at Beto O’Rourke. The congressman from Texas had tossed a few lines of Spanish into his answer about the economy, and the senator from New Jersey looked aggravated. We got the payoff from that glare a half hour later, when Booker recited his own Spanish answer to a question about his first days in office. Booker, it seemed, was mad that O’Rourke had made the español move first.

As CNN notes, neither O’Rourke and Booker spoke perfect Spanish. But both men gave answers that were surely meaningful to many Spanish speakers. “We need to include each person in the success of this economy. But if we want to do that, we need to include each person in our democracy. Each voter, we need the representation, and each voice, we must listen to,” O’Rourke said, per CNN’s translation.


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