Voters might be willing to elect a so-called socialist over a president they have never liked.
Has the socialist moment finally arrived in the United States? Increasingly, the Democratic party seems to think so. Capitalism has taken a good flight over the past few hundred years, but now it's time to let the technocrats take control. . . virtually everything – from health care to education to energy to banking.
This kind of view has long been a place in the Democratic party – think of the slogan of Huey Long, "Every man a king" – but it seems to go mainstream. The crazy ideas of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are not limited to the left edge of the back seat of the house, but are endorsed by important presidential candidates. And why not? Winning the Democratic nomination will need someone to form a coalition between voters of minorities and white progressives in the scale, and the latter can not get enough of the statistical utopia of AOC.
But does this provide a good policy? National JournalJosh Kraushaar – one of my favorite political analysts – is doubtful. In a typical austere analysis he argues:
What is so remarkable about this quick shift to the left is that it is against the interests of the party – both for the individual candidates and their chances to beat Trump next year. So many candidates try to fill the most progressive job of the party that they distribute that part of the votes evenly. At the same time, there is sufficient evidence that many ordinary and democratic Democrats are looking for a pragmatist who can actually win the presidency.
It is far from me to doubt someone with a solid record as Kraushaar's. And I really hope he's right. But as Allahpundit likes to say, "Dude, I'm worried. "
My fear is based on the simple fact that Donald Trump's job evaluation is currently in the toilet, where it has been since almost the day of his inauguration. The RealClearPolitics on average, he has only 42 percent and never kept him more than 50 percent. And this despite the fact that we have peace and prosperity today.
I'm afraid voters are prepared to elect a so-called socialist over a president who they never really liked. More importantly, I'm afraid they will not even recognize that this is what they do. That is how little trust I have in the discernment of American voters – they will not connect the dots and realize that the Democrats are calling for a governmental takeover of virtually everything. I am worried that people have abandoned the ideological sides of both parties of the authority to select the two-party nominees, and then to choose between them on the basis of their views on the incumbent government – or that means choosing one celebrity television star such as Trump or a socialist like Bernie.
I think back to the Democratic nomination of 1932, when Franklin Roosevelt turned away from Al Smith. FDR represented a remarkable break with practice in the past, while Smith would have ruled more in Grover Cleveland's mold. But I also do not think that it would have really mattered to the outcome in 1932 – one of them could have won. Perhaps Catholicism was the only thing that Smith had somehow received. But ideology did not matter.
Idem 2008. Barack Obama was pretty much an empty slate, but the little we knew about him suggested he would mark a dramatic shift to the left. He ran into John McCain, who had taken a more moderate role for himself. Was Obama's liberalism important? Not really.
Or how about 1980? Ronald Reagan was a pause of recent Republican nominees, while George H. W. Bush was not. In the end, ideology did not make much difference.
There are certainly other examples. It is quite likely that both Barry Goldwater in 1964 and George McGovern won fewer votes in 1972 than they would otherwise have because they were so far out of the mainstream.
And for the sake of clarity: I do not explicitly disagree with Kraushaar. I am only concerned that the unpopularity of Trump could eventually bring a socialist into the White House.
This president must get his act together and behave as a president should do. Of course he will probably not do that, which means that he will limp to 2020 with anemic approval classifications. And then we can finally discover whether America is actually on the brink of a socialist moment, spurred on by an ideological edge and accepted by a dissatisfied, ill-informed public.
Conservatives must brace themselves and begin to prepare to work hard to keep the Republican majority in the Senate – because that is probably the only thing that ultimately stops the socialist tide.