Folks, I’ve been staring at my computer screen for twenty-three minutes now. I want so desperately to find something deep and meaningful to write about, but I can’t.
I started the evening out by catching up on the latest from the 2020 Democrats news, and then I had to stop. I reclined in my chair a bit and I just stared at the screen, something I have been doing until right this minute, as the words appear on the screen.
They are advocating for the most extreme positions they have: After-birth abortion, Medicare for all, guaranteed jobs/guaranteed wages, etc.
Bernie Sanders is totally down with the Boston Marathon bomber being allowed to vote, as is the Chief of Staff for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
What’s the reason NOT to let incarcerated people vote? Shouldn’t the people most affected by unjust laws have some say in electing people to change them?
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) April 24, 2019
I mean, we’ve known that the left has been trending down the extreme path for a while, but it is still somewhat jarring to see their presidential candidates and the faces of their movement take such big strides when they have been rather successful in slowly moving the country leftward to this point.
A lot of people will insult Nancy Pelosi’s intelligence when it comes to some of the poorly-spun talking points she’s dropped in the past. But Pelosi is the left’s equivalent of Mitch McConnell. There is a political savviness that you can’t really underestimate. McConnell has run circles around Senate Democrats. But, Nancy Pelosi is trying to keep her party flying the same path they have been. She wants to keep inching the ball down the field.
She and her allies want to put a stop to this overtly leftward trend. She wants to continue to guide the country to the left from the shadows, inch by inch. But Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders, Kamala Harris, and others are pushing for full-on socialism at this point. They want to do what Barack Obama wanted desperately to do (and thankfully had more failures than successes in doing): Fundamentally change America.
The pendulum of American politics has always swung from one side to another. If you push too far one way, you’re going to help swing it even further back the other way. The long game is the more important one, and that’s what politicians like McConnell and Pelosi are trying to go for. McConnell wants to pack the courts with conservative judges and Pelosi wants to whittle away at Trump’s credibility and likability.
But the Democrats talking about anytime/anywhere abortion, impeachment, Medicare for All, etc. are not playing the long game. They are playing to score the big victory right now. There is no patience or nuance to their game.
And it terrifies Pelosi.
However, does Pelosi know how she got here? Do any of the Democrats understand it? Does Harris understand why she suddenly had to backtrack on supporting Sanders’ “Prisoners should vote!” platform?
We got here because the Democrats grew cocky. They had the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. They had a Supreme Court that, at best, broke even for many of their pet projects. They thought they had time. Instead of moving too fast, they moved too slow.
The Senate went, and then the House. Then they nominated Hillary Clinton, a woman no one could really connect with. Her campaign outright spurned blue-collar families, and there was even some data in the exit polling to show union households – usually reliably Democrat – split between her and Trump. The Blue Wall crumbled, and the Democrats lost everything.
Sure, they’ve regained the House, but with nowhere near the numbers the GOP swept political seats with just a few years before. To put the icing on the cake, their freshest faces are completely misreading their victory and believe it to be a sign that they should go full socialist.
But if there is one thing the electorate hates, it is extremes. And the Democrats’ extremes are scarier to moderates than the Republicans’ extremes.
I am sure Pelosi gets that. I am sure she and her allies have… or, at least, had… plans to move the ball down the field each cycle. The young bloods, the freshmen, they don’t have the patience for that, and the minority of Democratic voters that put those freshmen into office don’t either.
This is what’s making the 2020 candidates seem so odd when you watch them. You are watching them constantly try to find where they actually are policy-wise. Do they pull back and risk alienating the loudest voices, or do they push too far and run afoul of leadership and the strategists? That’s why Harris’ “I think we should have that conversation” answer rang out as a confusing, unsure answer. She doesn’t actually know what she believes.
The rest of the field – and the party as a whole – is in the same boat. That’s what will make 2020 so damn interesting to watch.