It is only natural that we should be focusing on the November election. For the past five months, there has been lots of talk about the “blue wave” that is going to hand over the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats – and maybe even the Senate.
Until recently, the Democrats and their friendly pundits were predicting such an outcome with an unwarranted degree of certainty – similar to the certainty they predicted Trump’s defeat. For a while, Democrats even had a very strong lead with what is known as the generic ballot – would you prefer the Democrats or the Republicans be in charge of the Congress? Trump’s popularity rating was languishing in the mid-30s percentile. His pugnacious and mendacious personality style is creating unnecessary controversies.
Things have changed a bit, however. Trump’s ratings are now well into the 40 percent range – maybe even flirting with that magical 50 percent mark. Almost two-thirds of Americans like the direction the country is heading – as opposed to two-thirds who thought America was going in the wrong direction at the end of the Obama administration. More specific to Congress, the current generic ballot has the Dems with a modest 4-point lead – and that puts it into the margin of error. It is now anyone’s game.
That being said, it is far to early to start placing bets. There is a lot of road ahead and anything can happen. Since the party in the White House traditionally loses power in Congress in the first mid-term, retaining the House and Senate would be the fifth-in-a-row upset election in favor of the Grand Old Party.
The cheerleading news media has and continues to pump false popularity into the Democratic Party and the left-wing policies they have perniciously pursued despite election-after-elections setbacks. Democrats see themselves winning the public relations battle, but it has not been translating into enough votes on election day.
They cling to a few rather meaningless interim elections as an indication of popular support. That is the spin of the cheerleaders. Any serious pundit would see a mixed bag in those results and no harbinger of things to come in November.
The problem is simple to identify. The Democrats have gone too far to the left for this right-of-center nation. That should have been obvious long before they suffered the ultimate humiliation of losing to Donald Trump – the man who they proclaimed had no path to the presidency.
While the presidential personality continues to be a problem and a potential Achilles Heel, most of America seems to prefer his conservative policies, even if they are a bit too populist in some cases. To the derangement of the Democrats and much of the media, the people seem to make a distinction between Trump’s less popular personality and his more popular policies and achievements.
Win or lose in November, the Democrats have a daunting problem in 2020. Most of the entrenched leaders seem to believe that the failure of their party has not been moving to the left fast enough or far enough. Just as the Republican Party has been moving to a more conservative position over recent decades, with occasional periods of moderation as seen in the Bush presidencies, the Democrats have been tracking left, with periods of moderation as seen in the “third way” Clinton presidency.
What the Democrats failed to understand is that the rightward movement of the GOP has been more in line with the philosophy of most of the public, while the leftward movement of the Democratic Party has been against the philosophic grain of the public – ergo the unprecedented string of Republican Election Day victories since 2010. The Democrats mistakenly viewed the election and re-election of Barack Obama as a sign of fundamental change in the philosophic winds rather than the personal individual victories of a popular figure against weak opponents.
The rise of the radical left within the Democratic Party brought into leadership such diehard progressives as Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. At the local levels, Democrats elected extreme liberals such as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Senator Kamala Harris. Overseeing the party structure and fundraising are two radical progressives – DNC Chairmen Tom Perez and Vice Chairman Keith Ellison.
Democrat Congressman James Clyburn, who is part of the Democrat leadership team in the House, recently said that if his party does not take control of the House in 2018, the entire leadership of the Party should step down. Clyburn’s sentiment is correct, but his timing is off. That should have happened after the debacle of 2016. But, better late than never.
It is obvious that the Democrats still have not learned. The (very) old guard of the party – people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – are calling for the party to become more progressive, more left-wing and more confrontational to America’s historic limited government culture.
Democrat leaders alternately pound their chests and pat themselves on their backs for recruiting an “exciting group of young, dynamic candidates across the country.” Discarding the hype, it is true that their recruitment numbers are better than average, but there is a problem. Many of the new Democrats rise from the party’s hardcore left base, and consequently most of them will lose.
Democrats have fallen into a pandemic problem to which Republicans only occasionally succumb, i.e., nominating candidates who are popular with the base but cannot pass muster with the broader electorate in general elections.
There are contemporary voices in the Democrat wilderness, however. Those who cry out that the Party has gone too far to the left. It should be brought back in line with the folks in fly-over America that have abandoned their Party. There are those within the House Democrat caucus who are calling for Nancy Pelosi to step down – and there are rumblings of a challenge to her leadership. Unfortunately for the Democrats, that is not going to happen. The left is fully in control of the Party. There is neither time nor opportunity for the Democrats to make a right turn in an effort to avoid yet another head-on collision with the American working class.
By any traditional measure, the election of 2018 is for the Democrats to lose. They have all the advantages – history, the media, a Republican President easy to damn and a divided Republican Party. But what should be a slam dunk – that predicted blue tsunami – is being tamped down by a slowly rising Republican tide.
If Republicans maintain control of both the House and the Senate, Clyburn’s call for the entire leadership to resign may be the only thing that can give the Democrats any chance of reclaiming the White House in 2020. Absent such an unlikely turnaround, and to the horror of the leftist Democrats and their allies in the press, America could be looking to another six years – at least – of Republican governance in Washington and around the country.