If you want to know how President Trump can win re-election in 2020, you need only look at the headlines emanating from the Democrats over the past couple of weeks.
It’s not just one headline. It’s the cumulative effect of them all.
It’s also not as simple as saying that the Democrats are “moving too far to the left.” There is ample polling evidence to suggest there is room for the party to shift in a more progressive direction on some issues, especially those touching on the economic struggles of ordinary Americans. Higher taxes for the richest Americans. Single-payer health care. Aggressive environmental policies to combat climate change. Free college tuition. Child care for all. The list of possible initiatives is long, and combining higher taxes with any one or two of them could make a powerful and popular agenda for a Democrat hoping to unseat the president, in part by stealing his populist thunder and exposing the plutocratic agenda that he and his party stand for.
But that’s not the message Democrats have been sending.
The Green New Deal that several of the leading presidential candidates have co-sponsored is a far-left wish list — the progressive equivalent of Ted Cruz’s 2016 proposal to institute a flat tax and abolish four Cabinet-level departments of the executive branch — combined with the risible suggestion that the trillions of dollars of resulting spending can be paid for simply by running gargantuan deficits on top of the massive debt the Obama and Trump administrations have already piled up. And if that weren’t enough, the FAQ page about the Green New Deal that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office briefly released and then withdrew added on what sounded like material from a Monty Python skit devised to ridicule environmentalists. End air travel! Kill all the cows to save us from the scourge of bovine flatulence!
But even that isn’t sufficient to give Trump a solid path to victory in 2020. It’s still very early. There’s plenty of time for candidates to distance themselves from the most utopian and absurd elements of the Green New Deal — and to use some of its details as a foil for their own comparatively modest plans. (Thanks to Ocasio-Cortez, Medicare-for-all already looks considerably more sober and responsible than it did a week ago.)
Yes, Trump will denounce anything the Democrats propose as “socialism.” But if the Democratic message resonates with the widespread conviction, shared by many Trump voters, that the economy is rigged by and for the wealthy, the charge will feel hollow, desperate, and self-serving.
Unless, that is, Trump uses the epithet to mean more than a drive to rein in the economic inequality and injustice that permeates American life.
To get a sense of how Trump could deploy a more expansive definition of the term “socialism” to do maximal electoral damage to the Democrats, I suggest close and regular reading of the blog of Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. Last week Dreher announced that he’s planning a …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics