Are Democrats in danger of repeating the mistakes of 2016? | The Tylt
Are Democrats in danger of repeating the mistakes of 2016?
With a vast, still-active network of motivated supporters, Bernie Sanders is near the top of most lists of potential Democratic candidates. Per The Atlantic:
Sanders advisers and allies believe he’s earned the right of first refusal: He was the runner-up to Clinton, galvanized a fresh flock of young voters, and fundamentally reframed the issue matrix for a hyper-progressive party going forward. He would start with a leg up: a nationally tested organization with the hardened experience of one presidential run already under its belt, an email list of 7 million proven donors, and the ability to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. (Tim Tagaris, Sanders’s digital–fund-raising guru, has privately floated a range of between $275 million and $300 million for a primary campaign, one aide recalls.) A common refrain bandied about in Bernieland is that Sanders won at least 40 percent of the primary vote in 37 states.
There are many who argue Sanders lost the 2016 primary when he moved toward more centrist policies, vying for a chunk of Hillary Clinton's base. That move backfired, turning some of his historically stalwart supporters against him. According to Vanity Fair writer T.A. Frank, Sanders would have a shot at the presidency if he moved back to his historical roots.
This is where Bernie Sanders comes in. Like Trump in 2016, Bernie seemed to grasp that endless foreign wars, the loss of dignified jobs, and the bailouts 2008 had changed the mood of the electorate significantly. Where Trump broke all of the rules and voiced heretical thoughts from the left, however, Sanders lacked the audacity to break all the rules and voice heretical thoughts from the right. In 2020, he’ll have the chance to change that, if he wants.
In many respects, this simply means reconnecting with his unreconstructed self, the fellow whose politics were set in 50 years ago and haven’t changed since much in their essentials. As a product of his time, he is more interested in remedying racial and sexual disparities by focusing on economic disparities rather than the opposite. He has been, perhaps out of expedience, friendly to gun owners, to an extent that got him in trouble in the primaries of 2016. Most important (although bias from this writer may be possible), he is opposed to open borders, famously dismissing them as “a Koch brothers proposal” to get cheap labor.
...[S]econd runs for office often go well. Bernie’s age would matter less if he’d pledge to undergo an annual examination for cognitive functioning—something any president ought to have, really. And Sanders has many advantages over his rivals. He has already made a name for himself on the national stage. He commands a grassroots army. And he has a credibility with the base that his rivals don’t. It will forgive him for socially conservative heresies that it wouldn’t tolerate from anyone else. So let the Sanders 2020 campaign begin. If nothing else, it’ll be a great show. Not that we’re living in boring times.
Some are even calling for Hillary Clinton to attempt a third presidential run. Matthew Walther argues in The Nation that Clinton softened many of her more controversial views—hawkish on foreign policy, calling children "super predators"— in 2016. If she ran on those principals, she would have a chance at stripping Trump of some of his contingency.
The cornerstone of her campaign could be a promise to crack down on perpetrators of sexual assault, especially against children. She could promise, among other things, to bring back the death penalty for rapists. She could also come out hard against pornography, the sexualization of women in media, and the gender pay gap. She could hold Trump-style rallies where abusers were ritually shamed, where the chants are turned against the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with promises to "Lock him up!"
On the other hand, even some within these politicians' camps, some say its time for new candidates. Per Politico:
[A] sizable contingent of the people who helped build [Bernie Sanders'] insurgent 2016 campaign is ambivalent about a second run, according to interviews with more than a dozen former staffers. Many of them are looking for a different progressive champion to finish what Sanders started.
Sanders should just declare victory, they said, content in the knowledge that much of his 2016 platform has been adopted by other ambitious Democrats considering White House bids. Plus, he’s a white man who would turn 80 in his first year as president, who’d be trying to lead a diverse party fueled by the energy of young voters, women and people of color.
...“He’s the grandpa of the movement,” said another campaign worker from 2016, “but that might not make him the best choice for 2020.”
Jason Zengerle, GQ's political correspondent, broke down the odds that each rumored candidate has of defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Zengerle determined that while both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are well-liked within the party, they are not the right candidates to go up against Trump in 2020.
A literature of alternative histories has sprung up about Democratic candidates other than Hillary Clinton who would have won in 2016. The two most popular titles in this genre? “Bernie Would Have Won” and “Biden Would Have Won.” Are they viable for 2020?
A recent poll put Bernie Sanders’s approval rating at 75 percent, which makes him the most popular politician in America. He’s the standard-bearer for the populist left whose “Medicare for All” bill, while still a liberal pipe dream, now seems as much of a litmus test for ambitious national Democrats as abortion rights. He will also be 79 years old on Election Day 2020.
Joe Biden, a son of Scranton, Pa., appeals to the same working-class white voters who flocked to Mr. Trump in 2016. Some progressives no doubt look upon him fondly from his days as Barack Obama’s vice president. But Mr. Biden’s three-decades-long centrist Senate record, from his handling of Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearing in 1991 to his vote for the 2005 bankruptcy bill, might make him a tough sell to today’s Democratic primary voters, not to mention the fact that he still has those centrist tendencies (he recently came out against a universal basic income). And he’ll turn 78 in November 2020.
Would Mr. Sanders or Mr. Biden have won in 2016? We’ll never know — but it’s unlikely either will in 2020.
Steve Phillips writes for The Nation that the Democratic Party has a chance to dramatically change the course of the nation, tackling huge issues like racism and sexism, and by going with more older, white, predominantly centrist candidates, they are missing this opportunity.
[W]hat are Democratic consultants and strategists advocating as the preferred course of action? Apparently, it’s to focus attention on everything but the restoration of white power. You hear multiple messages relating to Russia (including the new lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee), the new tax law, and the opioid crisis. Candidates now believe that Democratic voters are somehow repulsed by the notion of Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House. And despite the shift in national mood and polls showing a majority of voters support gun control, some candidates still have not disavowed their love of guns.
This pattern shows that Democrats and their consultants fail to appreciate what happened in the recent past, and they can’t see what is happening right now. First, they still don’t understand the strategic centrality of the black vote, even after the decisive role that that constituency played in the Virginia, New Jersey, and Alabama victories in 2017. If they truly got it, a party that is on course to spend close to $1 billion in the 2018 election cycle would have long ago launched a $100 million crusade to dramatically increase the number of African Americans who vote.
...2018 is a year of profound political promise. It can mark the beginning of the end of the Trump era, and the beginning of a new era of inclusion, justice, and equality. But we won’t get there by replicating the 2016 approach of ignoring the pro-white agenda of Republican standard-bearers. We’ll get there by linking arms with the very people Trump is demonizing—the New American Majority of people of color and progressive whites.