Tuesday’s primary results were hailed as “historic” by a number of media outlets. “Vermont Democrats made history Tuesday” declared the Burlington Free Press. NPR framed the matter with the same word, “historic,” as did the New York Times, ABC, and others. Most were pealing the bells for Vermont’s first “openly transgender” candidate for governor, Christine Hallquist. Hallquist was born male but now prefers to dress as a woman. Her success in the Democratic primary is being celebrated as comparable to the breakthroughs of African-American candidates (here is the New York Times video trumpeting a “night of firsts”).
The words “history” or “historic” in the mouths of progressives are always laudatory. They are honorifics, not descriptions. After all, lots of things are firsts – a Holocaust-denying, Nazi sympathizer made it onto the ballot on the Republican ticket in Illinois’s 3rd congressional district. That doesn’t get described as historic. Donald Trump is the first person to be elected without any previous governmental service at all. That’s not historic. No, progressives have a proprietary feeling about history. They are convinced that it “bends toward justice” as Barack Obama was fond of quoting, and that it will inevitably trend their way.More