Democrats need a hopeful and positive message. They need it yesterday. The trajectory of the past few weeks has the party heading for disaster in November.
The party's primary season belly-flopped when Democratic leaders botched the Iowa caucuses during President Donald Trump's best week in three years. When it seemed things could only improve, the party hosted a debate Wednesday that probably helps Trump like a billion in campaign cash.
A Democratic candidate should be able to unseat Trump this year, as indicated by major polls. Much of the public has issues with Trump's style. They dislike his penchant for crude and generally distasteful statements and behavior. Opponents call out insensitive Trump statements as racist.
Electability requires likability. That's where Trump's opponents should find an opening.
Incredibly, the Democratic primary has produced top contenders who come with racial and gender biases that nullify what they can use against Trump. Most candidates appear old, angry and bitter.
Only moments after the opening bell Wednesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren exposed former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a sexist vulgarian. And, oh, such language he has used.
"I'd like to tell you about who we're running against: a billionaire who calls women 'fat broads' and 'horse-faced lesbians,'" Warren said. "And, no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump. I'm talking about Mayor Bloomberg."
The ensuing moment quelled any hope Bloomberg could hold his own in a debate. He had no mitigating response. He dismissed sexual harassment complaints as women who "didn't like a joke I told." The audience booed.
The gutting of Bloomberg probably bolsters Sen. Bernie Sanders, and therefore the party's Bernie problem.
Trump made a calamitous statement about grabbing women's privates that no one can forget. It would be hard to nominate a candidate who could neutralize this Trump liability, but Sanders is just the man for the job. He infamously declared, in writing, that women fantasize about gang rape in the alternative newspaper Vermont Freeman in 1972.
A Sanders nomination gives voters the choice between: A. an offensive socialist with plans to raise middle-class taxes, deprive Americans of private health insurance and other frightening threats; or B. an offensive capitalist with a message of "America first," lower taxes and hope for the future.
Sanders pollutes the Democratic well. If he loses the primary, his large and loyal base will feel betrayed. After the party's superdelegates stole Sanders' nomination in 2016, his supporters protest-voted against Hillary Clinton. They will rebel again if Sanders loses this year's nomination. Even worse, he could run as a third-party candidate and ensure Trump's reelection.
Race concerns about Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bloomberg and Joe Biden negate Trump's problems on race. Here's how:
— Warren misallocated Native American identity throughout her adult life, allowing Harvard Law School to boast of hiring a "woman of color." She enjoyed a life of white privilege while leveraging benefits that belonged to minorities.
— Biden has a questionable record on desegregation and civil rights legislation. He called Barack Obama "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." Apparently, Biden views previous "mainstream" blacks as inarticulate, unintelligence, dirty and not good looking.
— Bloomberg's record includes support for redlining and racial profiling practices "because that's where all the crime is ... " He has a history of gasp-inducing comments about Latinos and blacks.
— Tyler D. Perry, UNLV assistant professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies, explains in The Washington Post how Buttigieg "demonstrates the most consistent racial ignorance among his cohort." Perry documents how the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has a 'dismal record in representing" black residents and his "musings on race and the state of black America."
Meanwhile, Trump draws tens of thousands of happy warriors to stadium rallies that combine politics with entertainment. The parties feature hours of high-decibel rock music, creating powerfully positive energy unique to the political landscape.
Trump's Colorado Springs party last week was typical. More than 70,000 obtained tickets. Seventeen percent of attendees were Democrats. An additional 19% did not vote in 2016. Thousands stood outside to watch Trump on jumbotrons after 10,000-plus packed The Broadmoor World Arena.
Losing the option to exploit Trump's character flaws — for fear of highlighting their own — Democrats need a theme that ignites a similar movement of positivity.
Listening to Democrats at debates and campaign events, one might think Americans lead lives of grievance and envy. Most do not. As such, they have no stomach for a socialist revolution. They want an ever-improving future.
That means Democrats need an entertaining leader who promises to protect and improve the lives we have. To compete against Trump, offer prosperous evolution — not disruptive revolution.
REPRINTED FROM THE COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE
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