I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard people say that the democrats will win big in 2020, that Trump doesn’t stand a chance, that the democrats have a bunch of good candidates, that the nation will not re-elect Donald Trump, etc., etc. And I know those people saying this mean well, and in most cases, I think they believe it. But folks … make no mistake … it will be an uphill battle, and we haven’t yet taken the first step up that hill. In this post, I want to talk just a bit about what is wrong with the democratic stance and what some of the problems facing the democrats are going to be. I speak at the moment only of the presidential election, though I will later talk about the Senate and at some point, the House.
First problem … yes, we have a number of highly qualified candidates, from the elders, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, to the newbies like Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. But that is exactly the problem. Let me explain …
In 2016, when Bernie Sanders failed to be nominated by the Democratic Party, what did his most loyal supporters do? Some voted for independent candidates, some even voted for Trump, but the majority simply did not vote. If every Bernie supporter had cast their vote for Hillary Clinton, we would not have Trump in the Oval Office today. So, next year, at the Democratic Convention, if Kamala Harris is the nominee, what will Buttigieg’s and Warren’s supporters do? Some will vote for Ms. Harris, but more will likely either vote for an independent simply to show their anger with the Democratic Party or will simply stay home and not vote at all. Some will even vote for Trump. This is a big problem, folks, and while it makes no sense, it is reality.
Second problem … this election will not be, for the Democratic Party, about who is the most qualified and capable candidate, but will be only about who can beat Donald Trump. Which translates to: who has the most public appeal, who is the best-looking, who can win what will be naught more than a popularity contest. Oh yes, I hear you saying that we all care about the issues, and I agree … those reading this post no doubt care more about the candidate’s stance on such things as climate change, health care, taxes, foreign policy, gun regulation, Social Security, etc. But we, my friends, are not the majority. The majority do not vote with their heads, do not study the candidates and issues, but rather vote with their hearts. Why do you think Hillary failed to attain a larger margin in 2016? (I remind you that she did win the election by nearly 3 million votes) Because she was not warm & fuzzy, was not a ‘likeable’ persona. And the two straws that broke the camel’s back were her calling republicans ‘deplorables’, and Jim Comey’s “October Surprise”.
Third problem … nobody seems to be doing a damned thing about the fact that Russia did, in fact, influence our 2016 election and, while we will never know for certain if Hillary would have won the electoral college without the Russian influence, we can surmise that would have been the case. This should be something that Congress is demanding be addressed by our intelligence community, and perhaps it is being addressed, but it doesn’t seem to be taken very seriously at all.
Fourth problem … voter disenfranchisement and gerrymandering. Most of Trump’s base are white, middle-income, Christian, non-college-educated voters. They have driver’s licenses, they own cars, and they live in predominantly white, middle class neighborhoods with a polling place only a short distance. A large number of likely democratic voters are poor, are minorities, and live in neighborhoods where there are no polling places close by. They may not have driver’s licenses, they may not own reliable vehicles. They work at minimum wage jobs and by the time they get off work, take a bus to the closest polling place, it has closed, or the line is so long that they cannot wait in line to vote, for they must pick their child up at daycare. States are, even today, trying to pass stricter voting laws. In Texas, proposed legislation would force anyone taking more than 3 non-family-members to the polls to fill out a form listing the people being transported and the reason. In many states around the nation, voter ID laws are being introduced. Polling places on college campuses are being dismantled. And I haven’t seen much being done in the way of re-districting gerrymandered districts. These are all blatant attempts to discourage poor and minority voters, to make it harder for them to vote, and to ensure their votes are diluted when they can vote.
Fifth problem … voter apathy. We are so bombarded every day with news of corruption on both sides of the aisle that some people … I have had people tell me this … just throw up their hands and say, essentially, “To heck with it … they are all corrupt, so why bother?” As heated as the 2016 election was, do you know what percentage of eligible voters didn’t bother to vote? Take a guess. Almost 40%!!! Colorado, Minnesota, Maine & New Hampshire were the only states where 70% or more of eligible voters turned out to vote.
I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but the real danger, as I see it, is in being too complacent, in believing that because Trump is such a terrible president, he cannot possibly win. He was an awful candidate, but he won in 2016, largely because of Russian interference, Hillary’s unpopularity, voter apathy, and voter disenfranchisement. The Democratic Party needs to seriously get their act together, unite behind the best qualified candidate, and put together a winning platform that includes health care solutions, environmental stewardship, civil rights reform, gun reform, and a host of other solutions to the issues that are plaguing this nation today, such as dealing with Iran, North Korea and Russia, not to mention mending fences that Trump has torn down with our allies.
Let us not make the same mistake we made in 2016, thinking that Trump is such a buffoon he cannot possibly win. He is a buffoon, he is a madman, but … he won in 2016. Let us not let him win in 2020.