Here’s a headline from the Washington Post worthy of attention: “Democrats, stop embracing losing issues and focus on getting rid of Trump.”
That header appeared above an op-ed by veteran liberal columnist Richard Cohen. In his piece, Cohen painted a dire picture of the donkeys: “The Democratic Party is on a tear. One by one, its candidates have embraced losing issue after losing issue.” [emphasis added]
Did this Postie really opine that the Democratic presidential hopefuls, less than a year-and-a-half prior to the next national election, have “embraced losing issue after losing issue”?
Yes, that’s exactly what Cohen said, and he was happy to itemize some of those loser issues:
First came reparations for slavery, a noble idea lacking only popular support and practicality and possibly amounting to yet another attempt to right a wrong with money. Before that, the various candidates raised their hands in support of Medicare-for-all, which could strip millions of people of their private insurance plans. That is sure to be characterized by Trump as socialized medicine with the sick growing old and dying, covered in cobwebs while waiting to see the doctor.
Cohen added, “GOP strategists must be hyperventilating over all the goodies arrayed before them.” And then he snarked, “This is a campaign even Trump could win.”
There’s more: Cohen also took note of school busing, the liberal cause from the 1970s that Kamala Harris exhumed to attack Joe Biden. As Cohen recalls:
With the possible exception of the Civil War draft, no program has been more hated by working-class Democrats — more whites than blacks, but plenty of blacks as well. In large U.S. cities, busing was seen as an effort by liberals to send white kids to schools they would not, for a moment, send their own kids to.
To put it mildly, this sort of pessimism is not what Washington Post readers want to read, or what they are used to reading. For the two-and-a-half years of the Trump presidency, Post readers have been reassured, on a daily basis, of what most of them already believed: that Trump is just about the most wretched, stupid, wicked man ever to live in America, let alone to dwell in the White House.
If one buys into such a telling, then there’s an obvious question: How could anyone like Trump? And the answer, of course, is that almost nobody at the Post does; the choice, on the op-ed page, is typically between Hate-Trump liberals and Never-Trump “conservatives.”
Surely, Trump is doomed, right? Right??
So readers of the news section of the Post were no doubt disturbed to see a July 7 story in which two reporters analyzed new polling data showing Trump on the uptick. The piece concluded that Trump “has a narrow but real path to reelection.”
For Post readers, even the thought that Trump might win a second term was bad enough. Yet then, to make matters worse, along comes columnist Cohen to argue that the Democratic presidential hopefuls—aided and abetted by all those progressive tweeters and chatterers—are working, inadvertently, to widen Trump’s path to re-election.
On the right, some sage observers agree with Cohen that the Democrats are self-destructing. For instance, writing for The American Conservative, populist-nationalist legend Pat Buchanan opined:
If the 2020 campaign becomes a conversation about reparations for slavery and the bussing of white kids from the suburbs into inner-city schools to achieve greater integration, the Democrats will be in a world of hurt.
Indeed, as this author wrote for Breitbart News back in February, what might be called the “AOC-ization” of the Democrats—that is, the left-wing-ization of the party, in the spirit of a certain New York City Congresswoman—is simply an updating of the “McGovernization” that the Democrats did to themselves, way back in 1972.
In that year, Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern led his party on a radical lurch to the left—and led himself to a disastrous defeat in the November election, losing 49 of 50 states.
Now today, as we have seen, the Post’s Richard Cohen has been warning his fellow liberals that if the Democrats keep going down their current path, AOC-ization could become synonymous with McGovernization.
Of course, as a matter of constitutional law, it’s impossible for AOC to be on the presidential ballot next year. And yet no matter whom the Democrats nominate in 2020, it’s a safe bet that President Trump will make it seem as though AOC is, in fact, on the ticket. And the same will seem to be true for her far-left friends, such as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. After all, if these left-wing lawmakers are setting the tone for the Democrats, why indeed shouldn’t Trump joust against them? Since these radicals would be helping to shape policy in the next Democratic administration, why shouldn’t Trump highlight the impact of those policies, so the voters can know what’s in store for them?
Moreover, in running against extremists in Congress, Trump would have the opportunity to replay the Truman Strategy, which brought victory to the plain-speaking populist incumbent seeking re-election back in 1948.
In the meantime, if one wants an early peek at the sort of unshirted hell that Team Trump is likely planning to unleash on the Democratic presidential challenger next year, one need only look at this video, released by Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign, aimed at a Democratic senatorial challenger.
— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) July 9, 2019
Most likely you’ll agree: Mitch gets the job done. And so can all Republicans, if they stay focused on what the Democrats have done, are doing, and will do. And funnily enough, the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen has just provided the GOP with a roadmap.