Ed Driscoll

THE SHARPTON FACTOR: Howard Kurtz

THE SHARPTON FACTOR: Howard Kurtz writes that Democrats are in a damned-if they-do, damned-if-they-don’t position with Al Sharpton:

For a guy who has no chance of winning, Sharpton is having a sizable impact on the calculations of every other Democrat, all of whom will be hunting for minority votes. (Although many middle-class blacks are wary of Sharpton as well. How he does outside New York, especially among blacks, will determine whether he’s the next Jesse Jackson or more of a gadfly candidate.)

Sharpton is a smarter politician than most people realize, but he’s also a symbol of the kind of divisive racial politics that the Republicans would like to wrap around the neck of the eventual Democratic nominee. So maybe tip-toeing around him isn’t the smartest strategy. One GOP strategist says privately that a Democrat with chutzpah could really help himself by pulling a Sister Souljah moment and ripping Reverend Al. (Ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani never gave Sharpton the time of day, but then he wasn’t running in any Democratic primaries.)

Orrin Judd also has some thoughts.