Mid-term elections are just a few months away and while it would be nice for guys like me who can’t stand the person who occupies the White House to see his party rebuffed, there is a much larger election to concern ourselves with in 2020. No matter the outcome this November, Donald Trump will remain in the White House. Sure, if he loses his grip on the Senate and House of Representatives, he is not likely to have any more chances to change the Supreme Court. However, let’s face it, the damage is already done.
At the end of the day, Trump knows he has something that his subordinates running for election in the fall do not have and that is a hard core base of supporters who are undeterred by anything or anyone. When Trump arrives at the polls in 2020, he knows he has a sizable base of support that is not going anywhere for the time being. The real battle over who wins in 2020 lies in either the so called undecided or which party stands to turn out the most voters.
While there does not appear to be a large number of new or upcoming first time voters who support our president, Trump is on the path to make it more difficult for voters in general to be able to vote, especially minorities and the poor who tend to support Democrats. Here is where his damage to the Supreme Court will be felt the most immediately.
With this said, it becomes vital for the Democratic Party to find a presidential candidate they can rally behind, something that seems obvious, but not all that easy to accomplish. While many on the left have begun to move further left and are attracted to people like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, there are still plenty who lean more toward the Clinton/Obama Democrat, traditional politicians who know how Washington DC works. These are people who have normally been able to tap into a strong party base while appealing to what has also been a sizable undecided. Joe Biden would be the best known of this bunch.
The problem is, like Reagan Republicans, this bunch of traditional Democrats are becoming increasingly rare. The landscape that has led to the rise of Donald Trump and the far right has also led to the rise of the far left. It is a simple concept: the harder one side pushes and moves toward one extreme, the more the other side does the same. In the end, there becomes a gap filled with voters who desire a less extreme candidate.
It can be argued this provides a third party candidate an excellent chance at winning the White House. More likely, in 2020, it will just result in a third candidate handing Trump another term in office despite winning less than half of the popular vote again.
A third candidate is more likely to steal votes from a Democrat in 2020 than from Trump. Trump’s base is not leaving him, that much we already know. This leaves a rival Republican like John Kasich left to seek voters who are somewhere in the middle. If Democrats run with Sanders or Warren, Kasich will just steal voters like me who were unsatisfied with either major party candidate like the case in 2016. That election showed there were not that many of us.
If a more traditional Democrat like Joe Biden runs, all a third candidate like Kasich does is take votes from good old Joe. If an angry Bernie Sanders runs, then he takes his large block of voters and hands the election to Trump. You can actually see Trump strategists doing whatever they can to encourage this scenario because they know the biggest threat they face is from Biden who is smart enough to add a Kamala Harris to his ticket for good measure and give hope to the far left.
Trump has already shown he does not care which party controls either house of congress. If he has to, he will use his pen and rely on executive orders to get what he wants after this fall’s elections (not to mention a right leaning Supreme Court). He and his team are fully focused on 2020 and nothing else. His words and actions are all aimed at dividing the nation as much as possible. His approach of personal attacks on his political enemies is better suited when aimed at the far left and will have little effect on a seasoned pro like Joe Biden.
This is why I believe the best thing Democrats can do is stay out of their own way, something their history has shown they are unable to do. Democrats have to decide what they want more: someone from the far left in the Oval Office, or the miscreant who resides there now out. Going all in with a candidate from the far left pretty much ensures we have Trump around for eight years. Is it worth the risk or is it worth more to bring him down?
James Moore is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching and currently runs his own personal training business, In Home Jim, in Hemet, CA. Jim’s writings are often the end result of his thoughts mulled over while riding his bike for hours on end.