Left-wing radio talk show host and Fox News contributor Leslie Marshall recently penned a short but blunt opinion piece for the cable news giant’s website. The title of that piece was: “Democrats are losing the plot in their fight to unseat Trump in 2020.” Marshall is right, of course, and she is by no means the only political observer who can see the opposition party quickly unraveling. The anxiety currently felt by many party operatives and associates could be a little overblown, at this point, or it could herald President Donald Trump’s golden ticket to a second term.
First, though, a reality check because it is so easy to get swept away by media-generated tides of hysteria: Back in the 60s, then-British Prime Minister Harold Wilson famously said “[A] week is a long time in politics.” That being the case, the Democratic Party’s nomination of a candidate to challenge Trump in 2020 is an eon away and the election itself so far into the future that we may be flying our cars to the polling stations.
An awful lot can change in the meantime. The Democrat candidates are bickering amongst themselves, certainly, but that should be expected in a primary campaign. The party has become so monolithic, though, and so hostile toward the idea of political diversity that many on the left are panicking as they watch former V-P Joe Biden spar with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and others over events long passed.
The mere fact that these candidates are hitting each other where it hurts does not mean the party is crumbling – but the party is crumbling, indeed, and evidence of this can be found beyond the primary debate stage.
That is not to suggest that all is well in the primary battle, though: Biden may have been assumed by many to be the anointed one even before he entered the race. Of all the contenders, he was perhaps the one who had both a good chance of claiming the nomination and of wooing rustbelt voters in large enough numbers to derail Trump’s re-election. But the former Senator and Obama deputy has stumbled from apology to flip-flop and back to apology.
Michelle Obama, still beloved among Democrat voters, may have driven the last nail into the coffin of Biden’s campaign when she revealed her disdain for him during a recent interview. With New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s failure to launch, only Biden and Sen. Harris can hope to command the vital black vote, and the latter may now have the upper hand in that respect.
Outside of the primary contest, though, a perfect storm – though far from perfect in the eyes of Democrats – may be gathering against the party. The arrest of suspected pedophile Jeffrey Epstein could well prove to be a major distraction or perhaps even something much worse. Epstein and Trump knew each other, as the leftist media is keen to point out, but that relationship is insignificant compared to Epstein’s association with former president Bill Clinton. Epstein, who has been charged with sex trafficking, had a lot of powerful friends, and many are anticipating that some big names will be drawn into the investigation.
Christine Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has speculated on Twitter that “It is quite likely that some of our faves are implicated … “While Pelosi suggests that both Republicans and Democrats may be implicated, in some way, her use of the words “some of our faves” suggests ominously that one or more high-profile Democrats could be in trouble. Pelosi, after all, probably does not count too many Republicans among her “faves.”
While both prospective presidential challengers and congressional Democrats continue to insist – incredulously – that the US economy is in bad shape, the ideological split in the party is deepening. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and the extremist faction she has come to represent is openly feuding with Nancy Pelosi, and the so-called Justice Democrats are threatening to primary a couple of long-serving, more moderate Democrat members of Congress.
Increasingly insisting upon ideological purity, the party’s progressive/socialist wing spells trouble for those who are focused upon preventing a second term for Trump. This battle affects not only the presidential race but the battle for control of Congress in 2021.
Lack of a clear policy direction beyond vague promises of free stuff for everyone except successful white Americans is not helping the Democrats at all. The one thing the president’s political enemies think they still have going for them is the Russia collusion conspiracy theory which is now on life support. Former special counsel Robert Mueller will soon testify before a congressional hearing but that, too, is likely to be a disappointment for Democrats. Worse still, Republicans may hit Mueller with a barrage of questions that, even if not answered, will further expose the investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign to be a sham.
Making Donald Trump a one-term president seems at this point to be a gargantuan task. If Washington is a china shop then Trump is the bull. He has broken so much that, frankly, needed breaking. Has he broken the Democratic Party, though, or have Democrats themselves broken it? More to the point, for them: How and when can it be fixed?