As establishment ersatz frontrunner Joe Biden continues slowly to melt away, one may expect the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race to tack even more leftward in months to come. This only will continue to hurt the party with the undecided voters it must win over to defeat President Donald Trump in a general election. Recent polling shows much damage already has been done.
Swing and a Miss
A Harvard/Harris Poll has found that a whopping 69% of swing voters are somewhat unlikely or very unlikely to vote for a presidential candidate who advocates increased immigration into the United States. Breitbart’s John Binder ably broke down the data, and none of it is good for Democrat insistence on maintaining an open-borders purity test for its White House hopefuls. Two-thirds of those polled who described themselves as “moderates” state they would be unlikely to support a pro-immigration candidate. Heck, even 45% of those who said they were Democrats hold a similar view.
Unsurprisingly, working-class and “lower middle class” voters expressed a strong dislike for more immigration. A telling 65% of those polled without college degrees are opposed to pro-immigration candidates, further indicating that increased legal and illegal immigration is seen as a serious threat to the job security of working Americans.
Democrat allies in the leftist media readily acknowledge that these voters will be crucial in 2020. Nate Cohn at The New York Times cites evidence that Trump’s Electoral College cushion may grow next year as a result, even if he loses the popular vote once again. “For now, the mostly white working-class Rust Belt states, decisive in the 2016 election, remain at the center of the electoral map, based on our estimates,” Cohn wrote in July. “The Democrats have few obviously promising alternative paths to win without these battleground states.”
Heart Cooks Brain
For progressives emotionally wedded to a politically unfeasible “embrace massive immigration or you’re a racist” party line, the situation is agonizing. The head tells them Dems must tone down the divisive immigration rhetoric, but the heart just can’t bear to concede a self-righteous inch on the issue. Eric Levitz, writing at New York magazine in June, personified the quandary bedeviling every Dem presidential candidate not named Biden.
In an article bearing the loaded headline “The Tyranny of the Unwoke White Swing Voter,” Levitz took a positively schizophrenic approach toward appealing to a class of Americans he so clearly despises. “The typical independent, white non-college voter resents undocumented immigrants, and (nonwhite) identity politics,” Levitz disapprovingly wrote. Yet he is all too aware that these voters may very well decide the election once again. “The smart play, therefore, isn’t to sacrifice the party’s commitment to social liberalism and cosmopolitan values, but to avoid emphasizing those things,” he somewhat rationally observed. Yet only a few paragraphs later Levitz was off the rails again, tripping over his palpable loathing for the very Americans without whom Dems will not be able to win.
“[O]ur [Electoral College] system operates on the principle that whiter, more rural areas deserve disproportionate influence over the federal government,” he whined, before incoherently arguing that Democrat emphasis on increased turnout of minority and young voters can somehow negate these distasteful flyover country hicks who have too much say in national affairs.
This is the madness that the Democratic Party finds itself locked into in 2019. It is a mania that has been displayed repeatedly by its presidential contenders. Dems are intelligent enough to realize that they must win over a healthy portion of the rural, heartland voters who propelled Trump into the White House in 2016. Yet they still cannot resist insulting these very people again and again, labeling their support for policies to reduce immigration as “white supremacy” while bemoaning the fact that their meaningless little states are allowed an impactful say in presidential elections.
As an increasingly flummoxed Biden fades, top-tier Dem candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) continue to climb out on a radical pro-immigration branch that they will not be able to climb back from in a general election. With grizzled old class warrior Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) too frequently joining them in playing the race card in a quest to placate the party’s progressive base, Democrats find themselves completely lacking an electable candidate who will be able to reach the voters they must have yet can’t bring themselves to stomach.