When politicians are engaged in a fierce campaign competition against their political opposition in a fight to career death, they go ahead and reach for the stars. There is a very good reason for this.
Voters love that sort of thing, as any politician worth his salt knows.
Millions of people play the lottery, after all; because hope springs eternal. After the election, voters know, it’s always time to come back down to earth. Just like lotto players who know in their hearts that their next scratch-off isn’t likely to net them millions, voters know their favorite candidate is likely to disappoint them.
Just like they know their “lesser of two evils” candidate is almost contractually obligated to disappoint them even more.
Each and every person elected to higher office arrives with a certain set of skills, including the ability to sell pure blue-sky promises that have been broken a million times before by a million other politicians- somehow- for campaign donations. Most have a communication style at least charismatic enough to get themselves elected.
Meaning? Everyone in the political field elected to higher office can talk a good game; they wouldn’t be there otherwise. Anyone can wax poetic about everything they would fix about America if they ruled the world, for a change.
Of those, few have the intestinal fortitude for politics; the campaign trail is grueling, the pressure is enormous, it requires great sacrifice of time, money and privacy. Fewer people still have the unique set of personal and professional skills necessary to be a successful lawmaker. Even fewer care to hold public office for fear of the scrutiny such a position would invite into their personal lives.
Of those left, the ability of convince people of things they really ought to know better than to believe is that essential “It” factor, that final nebulous element that separates the Spiro Agnews from the John F. Kennedys.
As much as it will pain those on the left to admit it, no one currently running for the Democratic nomination has that.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg is treated with a revulsion from certain progressive sectors usually only reserved for Republicans. “Wall Street Pete” and “Pete Romney” are two of the nicer nicknames recently coined for him in the progressive press. “Lying MFer” is less polite.
In contrast, no one ever accused former President Bill Clinton of being a liar- at least, no one on the left.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a scolding Ivy League professor who wants to raise taxes to pay for Medicare for All. At least Sen. Bernie Sanders is willing to be honest about that. But former President Barack “The Great Democratic Coalition Builder” Obama has said publicly that he will campaign against Sanders, should it come to that.
Just to be clear: Democrats have plenty of transcendental politics for sale this election season, to be sure.
With much fanfare and showing of hands the leading candidates have all pledged themselves to medicare for all, free college, universal childcare, involuntary gun confiscation, open borders and the Green New Deal, just to name a few.
Once upon a time, Democrats would have avoided making the kind of statement Democratic front runner Joe Biden made during this weeks debate. When asked if he would sacrifice American jobs in the present for a greener economy in the future via a program like the Green New Deal, the former Vice President did not hesitate to answer in the affirmative.
It was a telling moment. A moment that is sure to show up on Trump campaign ads in the Rust Best and Heartland, where the robust economy has been benefitting small communities left behind in recent decades by manufacturing job erosion to cheaper labor marketplaces.
But just because Democrats have transcendental politics for sale doesn’t mean anyone is buying them.
On the right, disdain for progressive plans to remake the U.S. economy into a sort of post-EU utopia and globalist paradise is abundant to the point of redundancy. Any socialist Democrat worth their salt can name off conservative talking points against sweeping centralized government better than most Republicans. From the failure of government after government to successfully implement such ambitious programs to recent riots around the world against even small energy cost increases, such socialist ideals have no shortage of points against them.
That Democrats have failed to sell Republicans on a massive overhaul and restructuring of the U.S. economy and the federal government isn’t at all surprising.
What is surprising is how few people on the left seem convinced in the efficacy of such programs. Fewer still seem convinced anyone on the Democratic national stage can actually do any of the enormous things they are promising on the campaign trail, let alone all of them.
In startling contrast, Trump is selling transcendental politics on a massive scale, and his voters are buying it hook, line, and sinker.
His promises to put America first, his promises to take on the “swamp” in Washington, his promises to grow the U.S. economy; just the fact that the Unions recently got everything they asked for- and more- from Trump’s USMCA should strike fear into the heart of every progressive liberal in America.
As should the fact that the Trump campaign grew its donor base by 600,000 people from the time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced impeachment a few short weeks ago until now. And counting.
Democratic attacks in the House and impeachment have only cemented his status as swamp-draining folk hero. Impeachment efforts have only improved his popularity, increased his fundraising, grown his donor roster and energized his base.
Democrats, it is being more than whispered by left-leaning publications like the Washington Post, might be in trouble.
Trump supporters are buying the legend of President Donald Trump. And he is only getting started.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)