“America’s essentially conservative. Democratic centrists win national elections. Democratic leftists lose national elections. Seminar over.” - Facebook post by David Fitzsimmons, Daily Star columnist and cartoonist.
NY Times columnist Frank Bruni thinks he knows How Democrats Defeat Donald Trump. We should “Stop talking so much about the America that he’s destroying. Save your breath for the America you want to create.” (h/t my roving reporter, Sherry Moreau)_
I’ll jump right in. (If you crave introductions then read Bruni’s post.)
Stop hypothesizing about Democratic voters’ political priorities and policy appetites and look at the actual evidence of where Americans really are. That’s the 2018 midterms.
It may have minted young progressive superstars like the congresswomen in the squad, but they aren’t especially popular beyond their progressive fan clubs. More important, their victories had zilch to do with why or how Democrats regained control of Congress and have dubious relevance to how Democrats can do the same with the White House in 2020. The House members they replaced were Democrats, not Republicans, so their campaigns weren’t lessons in how to move voters from one party’s column to the other.
Other first-term House candidates’ bids did offer such lessons, so look harder at that crew. Lauren Underwood in the exurbs of Chicago, Xochitl Torres Small in southern New Mexico, Abigail Spanberger in the suburbs of Richmond, Va., and Antonio Delgado in upstate New York — these four defeated Republicans in districts where Trump had prevailed by four to 10 percentage points just two years earlier. None of them ran on the Green New Deal, single-payer health insurance, reparations or the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
They touted more restrained agendas. And they didn’t talk that much about Trump. They knew they didn’t need to. For voters offended by him, he’s his own negative ad, playing 24/7 on cable news.
Of the roughly 90 candidates on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list of 2018 challengers with some hope of turning a red House district blue, just two made a big pitch for single-payer health care. Both lost. While first-time candidates endorsed by the progressive groups Justice Democrats or Our Revolution certainly won House elections last year, not one flipped a seat. The party did pick up 40 seats overall — just not with the most progressive candidates.
… Reeling from the ugliness of [his]Trump’s] actions and words — which are meant to make them reel — Democrats want to repudiate him as forcefully as possible. But that can lead to a reaction that’s neither smart politics nor good policy.
Nancy Pelosi knows this. It’s why she hasn’t been talking up the Green New Deal, single-payer insurance or impeachment, and the suggestion that this makes her some squishy centrist pushover — some musty relic from a timid era — is bunk. She has her eyes on the most meaningful prize, one she pursued successfully in the midterms: Democratic victory. And she can see that in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published a little over a week ago, just 21 percent of registered voters said that there was enough evidence for Congress to begin impeachment hearings.
Maybe that will change once Mueller goes public in congressional hearings. Maybe.
There is nothing that would please me more (well, maybe a million bucks) than to see Trump impeached, tried, convicted, and removed from office. But that is not going to happen with his GOP enablers firmly ensconced in the Senate. So, we’ve got to find a better path to winning 2020 based on the merits of what Dems have to offer the nation.
… Many [voters] are wiped out by the raucous reality show of this presidency. And the way to promise something different isn’t to return Trump’s fire with even more heat. It’s to be dignified and deliberative.
I wonder what would happen if the Democratic nominee simply refused to talk about Trump. No responding to whatever stupid nickname he comes up with. No sweeping denunciation of some deed of his that any sensible American already knows is wrong. Just the articulation of better solutions to America’s problems. Trump would go mad with the lack of attention. And maybe then, thank heaven, he’d go away.