June 17, 2018

The Democrats Can Beat Trump

Rally at US Sen 0195 Senator Elizabeth WarrenThe Democratic Party still has time to learn something from the 2016 U.S. presidential election, craft a strong message that will appeal to voters, broaden their base, and select a pool of qualified candidates to compete against one another for the right to run against President Trump in the next election. It is not too late. In the last few weeks, I've found it necessary to remind myself of this repeatedly. I think I'm hoping that if I say it often enough, I might eventually be able to believe it.

Along with surprisingly little pushback from traditionally free-trade Republicans on his tariffs and countless reports about how well the U.S. economy is doing (even though some of us have not benefitted in the least), here are a few of the things I've seen in the last few weeks that I have found worrisome:
  • Progressive bloggers posting the results of polls showing that Trump would likely lose an election to almost anyone the Democratic Party decides to run
  • Many Democratic politicians choosing to make Trump's immigration policies the primary issue on which they'll oppose him
  • Report after report of "Hollywood elites" insulting Trump in ways likely to alienate those who elected him
  • Growing numbers of progressives on social media claiming that the Democrats don't need any message other than an anti-Trump one to be successful
I've got some serious deja vu here! I can't help thinking that we should know better by now. It is almost as if some people do not remember 2016 at all. I think that Trump is going to be tough to beat in 2020, especially if the economy stays strong. But if the Democrats and their base insist on using the same approach they used in 2016, something that would otherwise be tough starts to look almost impossible.

It seems to me that the left is hoping the outrage they feel over Trump will be more than enough to motivate sufficient numbers to vote for their eventual candidate. I see little reason to think this will be more successful in 2020 than it was in 2016. It would be one thing if Trump's base was disillusioned with him and less motivated to vote. Then the Democrats might be able to win with this strategy. Unfortunately, the manner in which many on the left have been behaving almost guarantees that Trump's base will be larger and more motivated than they were previously.

It is not too late. The Democrats can beat Trump. I'm just not sure it will happen unless they learn some things from 2016, find the right message and the right candidate, and stop strengthening Trump. Can they do it? Yes! Will they make the changes necessary to do it? I hope so.