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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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Rep. Jamie Raskin is the future of the Democratic Party

Jul 06, 2023

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Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) has been serving in Congress since 2017. He’s a familiar name because he was led the Trump impeachment effort after the Jan. 6 insurrection. He’s also known for his votes to repeal the death penalty and to legalize same-sex marriage, as well as for announcing he was in remission from lymphoma.

Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid says that while we all need to get behind Biden right now, Raskin’s experience and personal strength make him the future of the Democratic Party and someone we should all support moving forward.

Today I’d like to take a moment to hold space for the future of the Democratic Party. I maintain, as I said in my last piece, that now is the time for all of us to get behind Biden, because splintering off the Democratic vote with a third-party candidate all but guarantees us another four years — or infinity — with Trump. But for a moment, let’s imagine what the future could be. I’d like to introduce you to Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin.

You’ve probably heard of him. He was the lead impeachment manager for the second impeachment of Donald Trump — the one that followed the insurrection at the Capitol. But the journey that this man has been on over the past three years is so tremendous and so painful and so honorable that it gives me hope. 

As a Democratic Representative, Raskin has had a remarkable career. He’s voted to repeal the death penalty, led the fight to legalize same-sex marriage, among other initiatives. And then, on December 31, 2020, Representative Raskin lost his middle child — his only son, Tommy — to suicide. Five days later, the family buried their child, and less than 24 hours after that unimaginable event, on January 6, 2021, Raskin went to the Capitol to certify the results of the 2020 election and carry out his duty to help ensure the peaceful transfer of power. His family didn’t want him to go, but he insisted.

Today I’d like to take a moment to hold space for the future of the Democratic Party. I maintain as I said in my last piece that now is the time for all of us to get behind Biden, because splintering off the Democratic vote with a third party candidate all but guarantees us another four years — or infinity — with Trump. But for a moment, let’s imagine what the future could be. I’d like to introduce you to Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin.

 

You’ve probably heard of him. He was the lead impeachment manager for the second impeachment of Donald Trump — the one that followed the insurrection at the Capitol. But the journey that this man has been on over the past three years is so tremendous and so painful and so honorable, that it gives me hope. 

 

As a Democratic Representative, Raskin has had a remarkable career. He’s voted to repeal the death penalty, led the fight to legalize same sex marriage, among other initiatives. And then, on December 31, 2020, Representative Raskin lost his middle child — his only son Tommy — to suicide. Five days later, the family buried their child, and less than 24 hours after that unimaginable event, on January 6, 2021, Raskin went to the Capitol to certify the results of the 2020 election and carry out his duty to help ensure the peaceful transfer of power. His family didn’t want him to go, but he insisted. 

 

His daughter and son-in-law accompanied him. Within hours, that daughter and son in law were barricaded in a room with Raskin’s chief of staff, who stood guard at the door with a fire poker. Elsewhere in the Capitol, Raskin had to contend with the possibility of losing multiple family members within the space of a week. On January 12, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asked if Raskin would lead the impeachment hearings. Now this man could have most of us would have said no; it’s not the time, things are too hard. And he would have been fully justified in doing so. And yet he said yes, and he stepped into a world where he has to endure constant death threats against himself and his family from the MAGA right. 

 

On December 31, 2020, two years to the day after his son died, Raskin began cancer treatment for the second time. This time it was stage two lymphoma, a serious but curable cancer. Throughout the spring, he has been going through rounds of chemo while not missing a single hearing or vote. And he has done it while showcasing an optimism and belief in this nation that, frankly, it blows me away. 

 

You know, I think one of the things about Biden that gives me the most confidence in him is the tragedy that he’s endured. Loss on that scale, hardship of that intensity. It can break you or it can, as Leonard Cohen loosely said, crack you open to let the light in. It can provide you with empathy not just for your own kind, but for humanity at large. Because you know more than most the grief isn’t reserved for people like you. You can feel how others might ache because you ache as well. And in a leader that is a remarkable, beautiful and perhaps even essential quality. I have a feeling that Jamie Raskin may be headed somewhere quite big should he choose to go there. And if he does, I look forward to supporting him.

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