Why A Liberal Can’t Beat Trump

By

Leonard Zwelling

In 2008, when a pretty liberal guy, Barack Obama, ascended to the presidency, we were a different country. America was reeling from the real estate crisis and the bottom having fallen out of the markets taking Lehman Brothers with it. The Republicans in charge of the country in September of 2008 didn’t know what to do, especially the president, George W. Bush. It was a bleak time and a time when “hope and change” was the right message and Mr. Obama was the right torchbearer, especially because he was not a Republican.

Flash forward to now.

Obama gave way to Trump, partially because the country was tired of the Democrats and partially because the Democrats fielded an inferior candidate in Mrs. Clinton. If the country was tired of Democrats, it was surely fed up with Clintons.

So now the Democrats have passed the mid terms with a mild victory in taking back the House by under 30 seats. What ought the Dems learn from last Tuesday’s results if they are going to try to wrest the White House from Mr. Trump’s hands in 2020?

First, while some progressives were victorious on the House level in districts that sway to the left, the big races the Dems needed to win look to have been beyond their grasp—the Senate race in Texas, the Governor’s race in Florida and the Governor’s race in Georgia. On a macro level, I don’t think that far left ideology is going to carry the day on a national level either. The acolytes of Elizabeth Warren (Cordray in Ohio) did poorly. America is still a right of center country. It won’t vote for a progressive Democrat for president in 2020.

Second, I surely hope the Dems realize that it is time to change horses in the leadership roles in the House and Senate. If Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker and Chuck Schumer remains minority leader in the Senate, this is a bad message to send to America. You couldn’t win the Senate and in fact lost ground. You squeaked by in the House. You won’t win the White House using the old playbook.

Third, the current crop of pretenders to the leadership of the Democratic Party, and by that I mean the contenders for the presidential nomination, are mediocre and tired. Booker and Harris from the Senate are new faces, but espouse a message that is too far left to gather back the for-Obama, for-Trump voters necessary for victory in 2020. Joe Biden has the right phenotype in that he is more blue collar, but he too is old.

Either one of the losers from Tuesday has to alter his or her playbook, or someone else will need to rise up and claim the prize that is the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 and that person cannot be a progressive. That person has to appeal to the Trump voters who were never enthusiastic about him, but disliked Hillary more.

That person needs to have a plan to shore up health care in America without breaking the bank or socializing the system. Even though I am a single-payer supporter, I recognize that the country is not quite ready to go there —yet. ObamaCare, a Republican idea, was a good one as a means to get to single payer at some point in the future. Making it better rather than blowing it up is a good idea.

That person needs to have a plan for immigration and for the DACA kids that encompasses border security and paths to citizenship for legal immigrants. It also must be perceived as not being cruel. Cruel is un-American.

That person needs to articulate an articulate foreign policy that clearly delineates our friends from our enemies and also says how we will deal with each. A path to turning our enemies into our friends would be germane as well.

Trade is not a game of chicken. Mr. Trump makes valid points about some of our trade deals being inferior to what they ought to be. Threatening our potential partners instead of negotiating with them, is a bad idea.

This can all be done in the year or so remaining before the sprint to November 2020 begins.

Just say for me the Dems have mostly tired horses that can only run to the left. Change that, and they have a chance. Stay the current course and we may have four more years of Trump as the Dem horses spin around on the merry-go-round—to the left.

Trump may be awful, but you can’t beat something with nothing. Right now, the Dems have nothing.

Leonard Zwelling