Democrats are missing a tremendous opportunity in the age of Donald Trump.
As the 2020 election barrels towards us, and Donald Trump unleashes a new tirade of insults against members of the Democrat Party practically every day, U.S. voters are already tired of the hyper-partisanship, the daily outrage cycle, the ugliness.
Yet independent and moderate voters seem just as frustrated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as she continues the probably fruitless House march on impeachment. Democrats in the House, and even the ones running for President, are talking too much, making too many promises they don’t seem able to keep.
Democrats aren’t doing enough. Voters expect much more than partisan party tricks that seem designed to please the base and not much else.
Perhaps worst of all, Democrats keep allowing Trump to best them. His latest trick was convincing Democrats to abandon former Vice President and Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.
Democrats are in trouble.
Trump was a fluke; an aberration, a scorched-earth policy no one expected. He caught Democrats off-guard because they underestimated him. Allowing a Trump reelection would be tantamount to treason in the minds of Democratic stalwarts. Yet, Democrats seem to be putting all their eggs in the impeachment basket.
A basket which has certainly come up empty before, and when it counted.
Meanwhile, in the heartland, in Appalachia, in economically depressed areas benefiting from Trump’s “Opportunity Zones”, in Texas where a new Louis Vuitton factory recently opened: Trump support is growing.
People don’t want to get shouted down by their friends and neighbors, or attacked online; they don’t want to be called names. They don’t sport Trump bumper stickers or MAGA hats; they don’t dare.
But they love Trump.
Congress can issue a bipartisan proclamation condemning Trump’s decision to bring U.S. troops home from Syria and the military brass can all sign it.
The voters are fine with the decision. U.S. voters are tired of war. There is always a good reason to stay; sometimes there is a better one to leave. It is at least possible this is one of those times: The Kurds aren’t a U.S. ally and Turkey is.
Turkey declaring a five-day cease fire after a candid letter from President Trump that was openly mocked as childish by Democrats and lambasted in the press, is not helping the Democratic case with undecided voters either.
Democrats can continue to ignore the voters, and the writing on the wall. They can ignore Boris Johnson getting a preliminary deal on Brexit, and how hard Britons had to work to extricate themselves from the European Union- even as Democrats preach against populism.
Democrats can even downplay the center-left think tank report released last week that spells out the doom of Medicare for All by revealing the eye-popping tax hikes on everyone that, in the words of the researchers themselves, would “spark a revolution”.
The press isn’t doing Democrats any favors by failing to hold their feet to the investigative fire.
The problem many undecided voters have isn’t with the microscopic and deeply skeptical treatment Donald Trump receives at the hand of the U.S. press corps. Their real problem is with the lack of same during the Obama administration.
Democrats, and especially Democrats in the press, are still not willing to admit that some of the short-comings of the Obama administration- especially pertaining to economic prosperity, immigration, and foreign policy- led directly to the Trump administration.
By playing on people’s frustrations that 8-years of a Democratic president hadn’t left them better off financially and socially, Trump was able to pull people who voted for Obama in 2012 to his side in 2016.
Failing to realize this, admit it and take steps to redress it, at least in the form of acknowledgment of past failures and promises to do better, will leave Democrats in the same position they were in 2016.
Because Democrats still haven’t managed to tell undecided voters anything they didn’t already know about Donald Trump prior to November 4, 2016. In 2016, Democrats had already assured the public at large that Trump was a philanderer, a rich, entitled grabber, a racist, and someone who would try to illegally engineer an election by courting foreign powers.
Unless some Democrat is holding an Ace in a sleeve somewhere, unless a new candidate who can unite the and electrify the party joins the race, Democrats don’t seem to have positioned themselves well heading into the election year, which is bound to be an overly contentious one.
With the antics of Donald Trump, this should be an easy win for Democrats. That it isn’t proves that it might be time for Democrats to start worrying in earnest.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)