Deradicalizing The Democrats?

In spite of the fact that polls have never consistently shown Trump having as much as a 50% approval rating, most Republicans are highly confident that he will be re-elected, and the presumably policy-neutral international betting market agrees. If you think Trump’s going to win you have to lay down $150 to possibly win $100. In the case of the Democrat currently perceived as having the best shot – Bernie – a $100 bet on his chances today could win you between $400 and $450; the other Democrats face much longer odds.

Given the polls – and the overwhelming lineup of media voices that are openly working against Trump – one might think that the betting market would anticipate another very close race. Why doesn’t it?

The three most common answers to that question are, first, that presidents generally get re-elected when the economy’s objective numbers regarding inflation, employment and GDP growth are favorable; second, that Trump’s popularity is understated because his relentless anathematization by Democrats and most of the established media have led some of his supporters to hide their enthusiasm for his leadership; and, finally, that the crop of Democratic challengers is notably weak. Each of these explanations has some weight, but I think all three miss the big picture: the Democratic party has drifted way too far left for the American public.    

***

Many leaders of the Democratic party think the problem is Bernie.

They pulled the rug out from under his campaign in 2016 and are doubtless trying to do it again. They wish old Joe had more spark and, since Klobuchar lights few fires, are probably praying that their non-crazy constituencies will unite behind Bloomberg. (Hillary wants to be the one that the moderates unite behind, but she’s severely damaged goods, and I’m pretty sure the party’s leaders know it). Besides, a Bloomberg nomination would mean nearly infinite money supporting Democratic candidates.    

Bloomberg might take the nomination in a brokered convention and, given his gigantic money advantage and his track record as a successful manager in both private and public sector jobs, prove to be a formidable candidate. For what it’s worth, he’s the only Democratic candidate who I think would have a prayer (not that I’ve shown much foresight in my political prognostications to date!).  

But, … a Bloomberg nomination would tear the Democratic party apart. He’s a Wall Street man through and through, in an age when about half of the Democratic voters (those who support Bernie and Fauxcahontas) despise Wall Street. Many Bernie Bros and Occupy Wall Street –types would rather slit their own throats than vote for an arch-capitalist like Bloomberg.

And even Bloomberg, for all his managerial competence, will look like a crazy leftie to most Americans. He’s fanatically wedded to the Green New Deal – which would radically change the American economy – to completely unrestricted abortion rights and to getting rid of the Second Amendment. Each of these stances is deeply frightening to huge segments of the population. Do you think the 400,000 oilfield workers in must-win Pennsylvania or people who want to ban late-term abortions or any hunters anywhere will support Bloomberg? They will not. He could still win, of course, but only by finding a whole lot of new voters. In swing states.

***

Bernie may not be the solution for Democrats, but he isn’t the problem.

Anyone who has been following that party’s presidential debates can see that the candidates are all, to only slightly varying degrees, supportive of 1) the Green New Deal, 2) either Medicaid for All (i.e., socialized medicine) or a “public option” that would be a stepping stone leading to the same end result, 3) dramatically higher taxes to pay for the foregoing, 4) open borders, 5) absolutely unrestricted abortion rights; 6) strict new gun control laws and 7) premising the nation’s legal policies on the view that Americans are irredeemably racist, sexist, etc. so solutions to these problems must be imposed from above. Taken as a whole, these positions promise radical changes to our economic system and culture.

As I pointed out a long time ago in It’s Never Enough the Democrats have become the never-satisfied party of more. They want more of our money, they want to redistribute more of the nation’s wealth and they want to make more rules that restrict our freedoms. In Bernie and their current crop of candidates, they’ve just taken their defining characteristic to its logical extreme. Bernie, a more-or-less unrepentant old commie, embodies that philosophy. The other Democrats aren’t fighting him on his positions, because they know that those positions now represent the philosophical preferences of maybe a plurality of all, and definitely their most fervent, supporters.

***

I think it would be kinda fun to have a couple of beers and a friendly argument with Bernie. On a personal level, I understand his appeal, which is beautifully described in this (https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-bernie-sanders-experience-11581119172?mod=opinion_lead_pos5) oped in today’s Wall Street Journal. Like me, Bernie’s a true believer – we’re just in opposite camps.

But I think his – or any other of the Democratic candidates – being elected president with the kind of platform that their party’s nominee will definitely be running on, would be a disaster for the country. The American public as a whole, I am convinced, may not love Trump but they are not looking for radical policy changes.

So I’m hoping that the betting markets are right and that a crushing defeat forces the Democrats to reconsider the radicalism of their current thinking.    

M.H. Johnston

10 comments to Deradicalizing The Democrats?

  • Doug  says:

    ” I’m, ah, gonna get me a beer and have, ah, a good old unifying debate with my friend Bernie” says Lizzy Warren. People have all forgotten that Bernie has had a heart attack. Not sure he’d make it 100 days.

  • Anonymous  says:

    Mark,
    I know you did not vote for Donald Trump. You told me you could not vote for a person with his morals. You had no respect for his business ethics.
    If he were to run against Michael Bloomberg who I think you would agree has the exact opposite qualities. Would you now vote for Donald Trump instead
    of Bloomberg?
    Richard Schaps

  • Anonymous  says:

    Will you vote for him if he shoots someone on 5th Ave?

    • M Johnston  says:

      That would depend on the circumstances.

  • Anonymous  says:

    Mark,
    You wrote this below …..how does that square with support of Trump?
    At the risk of seeming glib: I think one has to worry about the soul of somebody whose ego is so dependent on the admiration of others that he cheats to create apparent victories that he knows are false. By effectively asserting that the best he is capable of is to deceive others, he does damage to his innermost sense of self. He’s like an addict whose “hit” is poison.
    KH

    • M Johnston  says:

      I think Trump is turning out to be an excellent president and a vastly better person than I once thought he was. As you know, too, that sentence wasn’t written about him.

  • Anonymous  says:

    And you think he’s a net positive for the country we reside in?

    • M Johnston  says:

      Absolutely – and I think you would too, if you looked at the facts rather than through the miasma of social disapproval fostered by the major media.

  • Anonymous  says:

    Having lived decades amidst Trump and Bloomberg endeavors in NYC; who to support in that choice is the most clear cut political decision of my lifetime based on personal first hand experiences and observation. Has nothing to do with media spin, culture wars nor social disapproval.
    KH

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>