There was more than just mockery to President Donald Trump’s comment at a West Virginia rally that Democrats have moved so far left that Sen. Elizabeth Warren “is considered a conservative.”
With the remark, the president was acknowledging that the Massachusetts progressive had successfully maneuvered herself into good standing with the Democratic party establishment. At the same time, he was craftily pointing out the fatal weakness of a party with aging political hack leaders at the top and wild-eyed radicals in the younger ranks.
A cursory glance at the prospective Democrat 2020 field shows flawed candidates all around. An elder machine politician like former vice president Joe Biden will do nothing but antagonize younger progressives thirsting for a young Bernie Sanders to emerge. Bernie Sanders at age 77 is too old to be that young Bernie Sanders and would likely be an utter disaster in a general election.
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has the stench of decades serving a Clinton party cartel that every Democrat under the age of 50 with a brain is praying has finally departed the arena for keeps. He would be the most shocking candidate to emerge as a potential nominee.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has made a fool of herself during the circus that is the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination battle. She has turned off scores of Americans who believe in fair play with poorly reasoned remarks that paint her as a lightweight and a flake.
New-blood hopes seem to reside in two extremely mediocre senators, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, who can’t point to any significant accomplishes in their political careers. This of course didn’t prevent Barack Obama from winning the nomination in 2008 but Obama was able to position himself as the only liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton. It goes without saying that this is not the case in today’s Democratic Party, where strident progressivism is the party line.
Booker and Harris have been held back by aging Democratic congressional leaders who refuse to make way for a new generation. Though not particularly young at 53, Harris is nevertheless 32 years younger than the senior senator from her state, California warhorse Dianne Feinstein.
Path to Nomination?
Which, for better or worse, leaves us with Warren at the moment.
A Politico article back in January described a series of savvy behind-the-scenes moves by Warren to put her in good stead for 2020. She’s raised an impressive financial war chest. She’s met with party influencers and big-time donors. She’s helped raise money for Democrats in battleground states like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.
These actions have continued throughout 2018. She has also tried to make inroads with blue-collar workers, remembering the biggest error of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous 2016 campaign. Warren revealed a plan to make corporations more accountable to workers and has talked of her desire to save capitalism, not bury it, ala proud socialist Sanders.
As she has helped make party establishment figures more comfortable with her, Warren, even at the advanced age of 69, has easily retained her connection with the hard left base that makes up the Democratic grassroots today. This is how you win Democratic primaries.
However, using the very moment that she announced she would “take a hard look” at a 2020 run to spout liberal identity politics talking points is a telling sign as to where Warren’s political leanings truly reside.
“I watched powerful men helping a powerful man make it to an even more powerful position,” Warren said, referring to the Kavanaugh hearings. “I watched that and I thought, ‘Times up.’ It’s time for women to go to Washington and fix our broken government and that includes a woman at the top.”
Good grief. It’s a remix of the same tired song Hillary was singing two years ago. It will go over no better two years from now.
This is not the way to appeal to red-state voters in 2020. But that appeal was always going to be limited regardless. In her soul, Warren is a Massachusetts progressive. A leftist senator holding a comfortable seat in a deep-blue state, she will find favor within the same Democrat coastal states and urban regions that did nothing to help secure victory for Clinton in 2016.
And, really, how much appeal to the working class can a Democratic candidate who wants to abolish ICE really expect to garner?
The American people overwhelmingly want strong immigration enforcement that puts the interests of this nation’s citizens first. That puts our own workers first. By declaring her total opposition to this, Warren completely undercuts any rapport she may hope to achieve with working-class Americans.
In so many ways, Elizabeth Warren perfectly encapsulates the broken jigsaw puzzle that is the Democratic Party today. She may indeed be able to unite the party establishment dinosaurs with the younger radicals, but that will not get her one step closer to capturing the heartland voters who abhor the Democrats’ progressive agenda. An agenda that Warren embraces with all her heart.
Someday Democrats may learn real lessons. But if Warren is their standard bearer in 2020, they will repeat old mistakes once again and go down to another convincing defeat.
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