‘Democrats … like to fall in love. Republicans fall in line.’
February 2019 – Appearing at Drew University, GOP political strategist and pundit Ana Navarro delivered a spirited analysis of the state of U.S. politics in 2019, peppering dozens of observations with one-liners.
It was an insightful and amusing night at Drew Forum. Sponsored by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the event also included questions from the audience. Here are the seven best bits.
1. The Drama
Reflecting on the daily torrent of twists and turns in Washington, D.C., particularly around the administration of President Donald Trump, Navarro helpfully explained why a certain type of TV drama is waning. “No wonder Scandal went off the air. No wonder House of Cards went off the air. The Trump-related Congressional hearings … ruined scripted TV political drama because there’s absolutely nothing that Shonda Rhimes could come up with that can match the reality of what we’re living today.”
2. Can We Talk?
The trend of people adopting extreme views leaves little room for middle ground, let alone a civil exchange of different ideas, according to Navarro. “We are seeing that all over America, where it’s affecting professional relationships and family relationships and romantic relationships. And it has become very, very hard to talk to each other in some instances,” she said. “We lose the aspect of what diversity of thought means. And too often we’re just surrounding ourselves with people who agree with us and think like us and consuming news that confirms what we already believe.”
3. An Awakening
“The American spirit to defend our values, the things that unite us—it’s awoken,” Navarro said. “And I see it alive all around the streets of America. We saw it in the millions of women who marched in Washington and across the country the day after his swearing in. Peacefully. We saw it in the thousands of people who showed up impromptu to protest the Muslim ban. Look, nobody goes to LaGuardia unless they absolutely have to!”
4. Two Americas
The GOP strategist credited Democrat John Edwards for identifying the schism between haves and have-nots in the U.S. way back in 2003, during an unsuccessful bid for president. “Turns out he was right,” Navarro said. “Twenty sixteen and 2018 have revealed that yes, in fact, we are two Americas—maybe even more than that. And there’s a deep schism determined by geography: rural versus urban or suburban. There’s division in our social classes. White versus people of color. Gender. Education levels. We are a deeply divided country and there are politicians exploiting and emphasizing those divisions to stay in power.”
5. Inspiration Required
Winning an election requires more than just being against someone, particularly if you’re a Democrat, according to Navarro. “Anybody here ever been in a bad marriage or a bad relationship? It’s easier to leave a bad relationship when you are in love with somebody else, when you’ve got some thing or someone … that makes you feel good. And Democrats—they’re picky. They like to fall in love. Republicans fall in line.”
6. Eleven Dems
Surveying an already crowded field of Democrats running or weighing a run for president in 2020, Navarro sees positive attributes in Sen. Kamala Harris (“She’s engaging, she laughs, she’s smart”) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (“Her Republican colleagues say she’s really good to work with”) and a silver lining to Sen. Bernie Sanders running again: “We get Larry David back on Saturday Night Live.” She’s not a fan of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, however. And while she skewered the “meaning of life” blog entries that would-be candidate Beto O’Rourke is posting, she praised former Vice President Joe Biden, another potential contender—and past Drew Forum speaker. “He’s capable of normal human emotions and empathy,” Navarro said. “He’s the anti-Trump.”
When a man in the audience broached the idea of Navarro running for office, she squashed it instantly. “Nunca!” she said, using the Spanish word for never. “I’m not fit to run for office. I don’t want anybody to delve into my private life. I don’t want to eat so many chicken dinners. It’s tough. Running for office can be very, very tough—on families, on careers. I like it on the other side.”