Loretta Sanchez Dabbing Is Actually Interpretative Dance Of Donald Trump's Political Strategy
This year, 2016, has been a strange one for politics. We’ve had erratic polls, fainting candidates, and there have even been some signs that Georgia might turn blue (even though it almost certainly won't based on the latest polling). But on Wednesday night, we reached a new level of, well, I don’t quite know what the right word is... absurdity? Inanity? Farce? Maybe I’ll just stick with je ne sais quoi. At Wednesday’s debate between the two candidates for California’s U.S. Senate seat (both of whom are Democrats, more on this later), Rep. Loretta Sanchez closed out with a “dab” after being admonished repeatedly for not finishing up her closing statement.
The one and only debate, held at California State University, Los Angeles, saw the candidates spar on a number of issues, but all anyone could talk about the next morning was the dab, and current front-runner California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ pretty amazing facial reaction to it. Granted, it's not every day you see a member of Congress borrow a flamboyant move perhaps most closely associated with the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton.
Due to California’s relatively new “open blanket primary” (sometimes called a “jungle primary”), all primary candidates appear on the same ballot, and the top two performers go on to the general election, even if they’re from the same party. This is the first time since the law went into effect that a Senate election has had two candidates from the same party.
Because the party outcome of the race is a foregone conclusion, it hasn’t received a lot of national attention, but polls show that even though Harris has a clear lead against Sanchez — the latest RealClearPolitics average has Harris up by 13 points — there’s still a substantial contingent of undecided voters, 31 percent according to the most recent KABC/SurveyUSA poll.
While the stunt doesn’t seem to have ingratiated Sanchez to pundits (we’ll have to wait a bit to see if it had an effect on voters), it does feel weirdly in line with an election cycle that has included so many other outlandish moments. As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made clear, the media likes a spectacle. He has benefited hugely from the circus-like atmosphere he’s cultivated in his campaign and brought to the debate stage last week for his first face-off against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Much of Trump’s success has been predicated on his taking advantage of established rules of decorum that he chooses to ignore. And once those rules become optional, a whole new world of political insanity opens up.
Sanchez’s “dab” on Wednesday might have been spontaneous, or it might have been calculated — the Congresswoman is running double digits behind Harris and needed something to make her stick out. At the moment, the current political calculus (which factors in Trump’s current successes) says that always playing by the rules doesn’t necessarily work to a candidate’s benefit.
The November election will not only be indicative of which candidate the voters support; it will also be a referendum on political decorum. If Clinton wins, it will be a sign that you can’t just say whatever you want, pick and choose your own truths, focus on merely putting on an entertaining shows — at least not and still be rewarded with high office. If Trump wins, well… throw that rule book out the window.