“This is no time for small ideas,” says Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She may be right.
First positioned as a young, idealistic progressive, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and his campaign team obviously saw more opportunity in the moderate ground so shakily cornered by former Vice President Joe Biden.
Buttigieg’s recent pivot to the middle has lost him many friends and admirers on the left. Many more potential supporters were lost by his clumsy missteps courting the African-American vote and his past professional life consulting for McKinsey. Buttigieg is currently under heavy friendly fire for his “Audacity of Nope” play for the middle ground.
That doesn’t make Buttigieg wrong about the middle ground.
In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats obviously see something to working with President Donald Trump with one hand and impeaching him as an enemy of the constitution with the other.
Is it polling? Concern about moderate seats and swing districts?
Plain, old-fashioned obfuscation?
While those on the left profane against the “Ludicrous Optics” of this, and of House Democrats attending the White House Christmas Party, those on the right decry it as vindication of the President.
If Trump is as bad as House Democrats say he is, a threat to our very Democracy, this line of reasoning goes, why are House Democrats suddenly willing to work with him?
And, if none of this is partisan, why does the House Democrat’s move to vote for Trump’s USMCA seem like partisan positioning to both sides of the aisle?
But while Democratic theatrics in the House play out to the delight of left-leaning media networks and few others- judging by the abysmally low ratings the Ukraine hearings have enjoyed- Trump has been busily plowing away at his conservative agenda.
A conservative agenda, it should be noted, that contains cornerstones unthinkable to conservatives a decade ago, including paid family leave and everything for which the Unions asked contained in Trump’s USMCA.
Just in time for Christmas.
So it is against this backdrop- the overall failure of Democratic impeachment proceedings to move the needle of public opinion against the President, the radical amounts of money the Trump team has been raising on impeachment and using against Democrats in vulnerable districts- that news of Boris Johnson’s crushing defeat of Britain’s Labour Party has fallen like a lead balloon.
With House impeachment floundering, no daylight showing between President Trump and Senate Republicans, and the Trump campaign cash monster growing daily, the dismal state of the Democratic field of 2020 contenders seems all the more lamentable.
Sen. Kamala Harris is done, Beto O’Rourke is gone, Pete Buttigieg may soon be going the same way if the left continues to cancel one of its brightest stars over a dubious deal-breaker like McKinsey.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar can’t get a break. Sen. Cory Booker is hanging on by a thread. Andrew Yang never really moved into serious candidate territory.
Former President Barack Obama has pledged, not to support any particular candidate, but to actively campaign against one in particular- Sen. Bernie Sanders. That plus Bernie’s recent heart attack make the likelihood of his becoming the Democratic nominee look weaker by the day.
While the left seems ready to forgive Sen. Elizabeth Warren over her erstwhile claims of Native American ancestry, it seems less enthusiastic about the fuzzy math swirling around her Medicare for All promises. At least Sanders is willing to admit and address that a tax on the Middle Class would be required to administer such a massive government program.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
Both have laid claim to the moderate ground. Both claim to be able to unite the Democratic Party and beat Donald Trump.
Neither thinks the other can do it, but both agree on two things:
- Trump is terrible.
- Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are, too.
Cautioning the party on going too far left is practically a catch-phrase of the Democratic moderate these days. It is usually put forth under the guise of electability. The ‘Silent Majority’ is normally invoked at least once.
It is with these arguments, and others even more tenuous, that both Bloomberg and Biden have recently used Britain’s overwhelming vote for Boris Johnson, his Torys, and Brexit as evidence that Biden or Bloomberg, rather than Warren, Sanders, or Buttigieg, ought to be the nominee.
Whether there is any truth whatsoever to this remains to be seen.
Because while it may be true that Britons voted overwhelming against the Labour Party, the tremendous unpopularity of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and his open-hearted embrace of anti-Semitism, certainly played a large role.
None of the Democratic candidates currently running for President, least of all Elizabeth Warren is anywhere near as unpopular.
A larger role was played by Brexit itself, a massive social issue underpinning this election and every candidate running in it. There is no similar issue so singular in U.S. politics today.
Biden and Bloomberg might be right; they might be wrong. Bernie Sanders and A.O.C. might be right- the Democratic Party might be most inspired by a revolutionary shift, not another timid tiptoe around the middle. They might also be disastrously wrong, too.
Democrats in leadership, the Democratic National Committee, Democrats in the media and Democratic voters of every progressive persuasion must stop trying to predict, poll, and measure electability.
No one knows what is going to happen in November 2020, least of all Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg. No one knows what might happen between now and then.
Luckily for confused Democrats, and even the Democratic Socialists, this is still a Democracy. There is an easy solution for not being able to predict the future.
Let the people decide.
Let the people in the Democratic Party decide like they did in 2008, when they broke with the Democratic establishment-backed candidate Hillary Clinton and took a chance on an unknown named Barack Obama.
Maybe you’ve heard of him.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)