Last November, I offered some mid-term election thoughts here and here. In those pieces I asked liberals (I think the word "progressive" is so wimpish) a very straightforward question regarding the 2020 presidential election...
Do you want to be right or do you want to win?
So far, it looks like the left-wing of the democratic party wants Donald Trump to be re-elected, because they are acting like morons. Today and yesterday, a couple of articles caught my eye as I was flipboarding.
CNN, not exactly a conservative bell-ringer, featured an insightful piece entitled: How Democrats are handing Donald Trump a viable path to a second term. Then, early this morning, National Review offered: Trump Can Win Again Only If Democrats Keep Moving Leftward.
Let's review some facts. Donald Trump's approval rating has never crested above 50%. He is the only president since 1937 to be so consistently unpopular.
Trump is the most polarizing president in history. He is particularly in trouble in swing-states that he won in 2018, like Wisconsin.
Trump is a weak president with few tangible achievements.
Trump's "miracle" for the US economy is a myth.
Trump's strength lies in fear-mongering and in demonizing his opposition as "socialist" or "fake" or any of a myriad of other trigger point terms.
By most standards, Trump's path to re-election is in trouble. But the liberals, led most conspicuously by their latest sweetheart, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (ACO), are giving Trump the foothold he needs to turn things around. How?
CNN points its finger at ACO's "Green New Deal" and the Democrats stance on late-term abortions: "All you need to do is read a transcript of Trump's speech in El Paso, Texas, on Monday night -- billed as the first campaign speech of his 2020 race since the 2018 election -- to understand how much of an opportunity Trump thinks he was handed by Democrats on these two issues.
"Trump, repeatedly, hammered at the 'Green New Deal.'
"'I really don't like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane flights, of, 'Let's hop a train to California,' of ... 'You're not allowed to own cows anymore,'" he said.
"And: 'They want to take away your car, reduce the value of your home, and put millions of Americans out of work, spend $100 trillion, which, by the way, there's no such thing as $100 trillion. You have to spend $100 trillion. And remember this. No other country except us is going to do it. That's a little problem, too.'
"He also went after Democrats on abortion.
"Democrats are in favor of 'allowing children to be ripped from their mother's womb right up until the moment of birth,' Trump said at one point. Talking about Northam in particular, Trump said: 'The governor stated that he would even allow a newborn baby to come out into the world and wrap the baby and make the baby comfortable, and then talk to the mother, and talk to the father, and then execute the baby. Execute the baby.'"
Then there's the National Review piece: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) seems to grasp that it’s in her party’s interest not to go overboard in response to Trump, but collectively it’s as if the Democrats think the savvy political response to the radicalism they see in Trumpism is an alternatively radical agenda. The problem is that Trump’s actual agenda — so far— hasn’t been as radical as the disorientating nature of his norm-defying personal conduct and obvious contempt for institutional and democratic safeguards has led many liberals to believe.
"In many respects the parties are mirroring each other, as the incentive structure on both sides is geared toward the extremes. Politics is no longer about capturing the center where most voters gravitate, but revving up the ranks of the most passionate. Faced with that reality, enough Americans may hold their noses and vote against the devil they don’t know."
ACO trumpets that the conservative right is "losing the war." But that doesn't mean the liberal left is winning it. Far from it. For all of his many faults, Trump is an extremely effective campaigner. If allowed, he will drive a wedge between the liberal agenda and mainstream America with fear, exaggeration and lies. And, right now, the liberals are giving Trump plenty of ammo to spark fear in the mainstream electorate.
Beyond that, there is potential for dissension between moderates and liberals in the democratic ranks if the movers and shakers of the party continue to drift left. The Democrats need centrists to defeat Trump.
I give Polosi credit. She knows all this. She intentionally attempted to distance the Democratic Party from ACO's plan, mentioning that it was just one of many proposals being considered while mislabeling it as "the Green Dream." That is a step in the right direction.
However, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell sees the potential gold mine ACO can be for conservatives. He has stated that he will bring the Green New Deal up for a vote. He's no fool. He knows the Republican controlled senate will never pass the legislation. His intent is a tad more subtle. He wants to force senate Democrats (some of whom are either already running for president or plan to run) to expose their support (or non-support) for the Deal.
This is a chess match. Any Senate Democrat running for president that votes "Yes" on the Green New Deal will be crucified by Trump and the Republicans in 2020. If these candidates are smart, they will moderate their views.
Do you want to be right or do you want to win? ACO and liberals want to be right at the expense of everything, including the alienation of tens of millions of moderate voters that will decide whether or not Trump will be re-elected. These voters do not like Trump, but they like "socialism" and the other demons Trump will conjure up even less.
Polosi will likely seek a more centrist path forward. That's exactly what the Democrats need. A great example of this internal conflict is reflected in the candidacy of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Many see her as a moderate candidate. But Klobuchar herself wants to be known as "progessive." Does this mean she will vote in favor of the Green New Deal when McConnell brings it to a vote? If she does then she will lose points on electability and create tremendous fear-mongering fodder for Donald Trump.
For the Democrats, 2020 should be about unifying the country and bringing respectability and stability back to the office of the presidency. For Trump it will be about showing that he is the lesser of two evils with hyperbole about the specter of alleged socialism and the murder of babies. The way Democrats are behaving at the moment suggests that, despite all his drawbacks and inadequacies, Trump's chances for re-election have never been better.
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