By Colleen O'Connor
I have never met the woman. Never met her parent or her grandparents, her friends or enemies. Don’t live in the District.
But, seriously, give the woman, Sara Jacobs, a fighting chance.
A recent article in the San Diego Union-Tribune contains the opening salvo in what could be the most contentious congressional race in the county. Most pundits see Darrell Issa as the designated Republican incumbent most likely to lose in 2018.
Why? He represents the toss-up 49th District, is a long-term Republican incumbent in an anti-everything year, and has already drawn three opponents—Doug Applegate, Mike Levin and Paul Kerr. The North County district is expected to be “a brutal battleground in 2018.”
And now, Sara Jacobs has entered the fray. Not just entered. She is probably the candidate most likely to win. Hence, the salvos.
Who is she? What has she done? What makes her an outside favorite—and target—so early?
Big reason no. 1. She is the granddaughter of Irwin Jacobs, the co-founder of Qualcomm.
Reason no. 2. She can probably self-fund her race. And/or her grandparents can fill up the Democratic party’s ATM and form a new Political Action Committee to provide even greater financial help.
Reason no. 3. She is hugely well-connected. Enough so that she was able (as the U-T story reports) to land an inside job with the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign as a foreign policy adviser. Wikileaks provided the emails as convincing proof that “Mary Pat Bonner, one of the most prolific Democratic fundraisers in the history of elections, began lobbying top officials in the Clinton campaign to get Jacobs a job.”
Reason no. 4. She is probably the perfect candidate for what the aging Democratic party most needs in 2018: a poster candidate for the future. Young, highly-educated (Columbia University master’s degree); some real world experience (albeit as an intern or a volunteer); and capable of leveraging power, wealth and intelligence to garner real help for her constituents.
Add to this, the possibility that she may already be her own woman. She may already have disagreements with her parents and grandparents. She may, indeed, be able to think for herself and not be a puppet of the 1 Percent.
Think about it. The Millennials have almost thrown in the towel on conventional politics. A whopping majority now want a third party — 71 percent want neither the Democrats nor the Republicans to represent them. Someone better listen.
Jacobs enters a world where automation could wipe out a third of all jobs by 2030. According to Axios, a massive government intervention “will be required to hold societies together against the ravages of labor disruption over the next 13 years. Up to 800 million people—including a third of the work force in the U.S. and Germany—will be made jobless by 2030.”
Perhaps Jacobs knows someone who knows something about the future of everything tech: automation, artificial intelligence, robots, etc. Or maybe she has already taught herself. Such revolutionary changes demand youth to keep up. Jacobs could meet that future.
If she can’t stand up during a campaign, answer questions, rebut with enthusiasm and knowledge, she will lose. If she is glib, silly or without character, she will lose. Character cannot be faked. It is mustered in any crisis only by those who possess it. And she will face a crisis sooner rather than later.
For the Democrats, Jacobs’ entry into the race gives them more gusto and more potential than that race would otherwise have generated. Her action in combat will be fascinating to watch. And it may make the Democrats relevant again.
So, why not give her a fighting chance.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.
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