There is a well-known saying in sports: “Good teams find a way to win and bad teams find a way to lose.” In 2016, the Democratic Party nominated probably the only candidate whom Donald Trump could beat in an election. Trump’s negatives were the unlikability and the sleaze factor. Instead of nominating a candidate who was likable and had a stellar reputation, the Democratic Party nominated Hillary Clinton. She had the same negative traits as Trump and was an establishment figure in a non-establishment election.
For the 2018 midterm elections, the Democratic Party was smart. They made sure they would nominate, in Republican or moderate Democratic districts, candidates whose views were in line with the districts. It worked. Moderate Democrats won many House of Representatives seats that were Republican. Thus, they were successful in taking back the House, which gave them power to shape the agenda, including having various investigations.
A presidential election is coming in 2020. Except for the Trump diehards, most Americans would agree that Trump’s negatives include his inability to act presidential in temperament. He also fails to respect the traditions and the sanctity of the office. This past week was a good example. He repeatedly attacked Senator John McCain. Not only was McCain a war hero and a great senator, but he has been dead for months. This attack would not be condoned even if an ordinary citizen did it, how much more so when it is the president of the United States who is making the comments.
Likewise, Trump got into a Twitter war with the husband of the senior adviser. It is unusual for a spouse to publicly trash his wife’s employer, especially when the employer is the president. Trump could have taken the high road and ignored it.
Many people are tired of the constant tweets by the president, which is only one example of a president who does not care about the tradition of the presidency.
Trump’s sleaze factor has not changed since 2016 because of revelations since he has been president. His polling numbers have been low throughout. He has a core group of supporters, which is a minority of the electorate, and he acts based on what they would want him to do. It appears that Trump is vulnerable if the right candidate is picked to oppose him.
There are many Democratic candidates for president. One would expect that each candidate would try to make themselves the anti-Trump, including keeping with traditions in this country and trying to appeal to the broadest group.
Instead, they have become prisoners of the progressive wing of the party. Each candidate is trying to show that they are the true progressive. When progressives want them to act in a certain way, they do so even if it is contrary to how they have acted in the past.
Moveon.org, a well-known progressive organization whose website celebrates the election of Ilhan Omar, said that the presidential candidates should not go to the AIPAC convention. According to Moveon, “AIPAC has … been known to peddle anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric while giving platforms to Islamophobes.” As of the date of this article, not one candidate said they will be there, including those who previously had spoken at AIPAC.
Also, a few of the candidates have supported proposals that would change essential parts of the government, some of which have been in effect since the founding of our country. This includes abolishing the electoral college. The requirement of an electoral college was debated in formation of the country and there have been discussions about it throughout the years. The basic arguments for it is that it protects the small states. When the country was formed, Virginia and Massachusetts were the most populous states. The other states were afraid that if the election was based solely on the popular vote, a candidate could win the popular vote of a populous state by such a large amount they would win the election even if they lost the majority of the remaining states. The argument on the other side in the electoral college is anti-Democratic. Why should a person’s vote in a small state be more important than a vote in a big state?
The most controversial idea, and I think the most foolish, is to increase the number of judges in the Supreme Court. The timing of this proposal is strange. Right now there is a Republican president and a Republican-controlled Senate where only a majority vote is required to confirm a Supreme Court justice. The president could just say to them, “I like the idea; let’s do it now.” If the proposal would be accepted, then the Republican-controlled Senate could pass the law and the president sign off on it and add more judges.
Also, this proposal shows short-sightedness and arrogance in the belief that the Democrats will win the presidency and take back the Senate in 2020. With ideas like these, the Democratic Party should instead worry about losing the House in 2020.
Even President Roosevelt, who had a large majority in Congress, was unable to pass such legislation when he was unhappy with the existing Supreme Court decisions.
There needs to be leadership in the moderate wing, including finding a candidate for president willing to stand up to the progressives when necessary such as it relates to Israel, court packing, and other bizarre proposals. If the Democratic Party lets the progressives drive the bus, they will lead them over the cliff in 2020.