Pick old man Biden, talk trans rights, make Ilhan Omar the star: 5 ways Dems can lose 2020 to Trump…(6…)

Monday, April 15, 2019
By Paul Martin

15 Apr, 2019

The Democratic Party appears to be ignoring the warning signs along a road that could see Donald Trump celebrate a mathematically unlikely victory next November.
The incumbent remains a divisive candidate, whose low-forties approval rating even in the face of persistently robust economic news and the dampened fire of Mueller report expectations, suggests that it is impossible for the Republican to win handily, if at all. Many will simply never vote for him, and no president this disliked has ever won a second term. But in a divided country with an electoral college, a narrow victory may be all that is needed (or possible) particularly if the Democrats make themselves as polarizing as Trump.

And while the challengers are still in their base-pandering stage of the election cycle, their unfortunate political instincts appear not just a show, but symptoms of a political movement struggling to win over the voters at large. This is what the Democrats shouldn’t do, if they want to get serious about getting back in the White House.

Pick a candidate for the party, not the people

One would assume that in a competitive field of nearly twenty professional politicians that are currently campaigning ahead of the first primary debate in June, there is at least one Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, a charismatic new voice, or at least a non-threatening competent choice to unite the never-Trumpers.

Instead, the bunch seems politically limited, with much internal, but little external appeal – in two broad groups.

Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and even Bernie Sanders – this time around – are there because they are a big name with a campaign apparatus all revved up. Much like Hillary Clinton, they are a known quantity, with limitations that have been exposed (get ready for a year of “Pocahontas” or speculation about where “Uncle Joe’s” hands have been as he makes another verbal gaffe). Perhaps their biggest problem is their literal seniority – all three will be at least 70 by the time the election comes. To challenge a man who has been accused by his opponents of gradually slipping into dementia with even older candidates is egregious strategic logic, however much you feel sorry that they didn’t get their chance last time.

The other group fulfills progressive identity criteria. Kamala Harris or Cory Booker may – literally – look like perfect candidates, without ever having convincingly demonstrated why they are. As “I’m with her” amply demonstrated, you can’t just identity politick your way into leading a nation.

The Democrats will hope that by the caucuses starting in February the wheat will emerge glowing from the chaff, as Bill Clinton did in a come-from-behind victory in 1992 – with a Beto O’Rourke, an Amy Klobuchar or even a Pete Buttigieg primed for that role. But notably, both Obama and Trump were already political supernovas 18 months before their wins.

Get caught up in mourning for Mueller

Let it go. Even though some were always provably unhinged conspiracy theories, Russia collusion accusations fuelled base anger for the best part of Trump’s first term. Now, the hangover is here.

Some are suggesting hair-of-the-dog, as the House is leveraged for legal warfare against the sitting president. The Democrats would be advised to pick a new tack here, and a more plausible narrative this time – uncovering genuine lawbreaking on a smaller scale is worth more than a fantastical Kremlin puppet scenario.

The Rest…HERE

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