My skin isn’t thick enough to endure criticism trailblazers like Harris, Pelosi, Gandhi, Meir, and Thatcher have had to suffer; but I have been inspired to follow in their footsteps, in my own ways. As Harris told Marie Claire magazine, “I want [young] women to know, you are powerful and your voice matters." Amen, Sisters. Amen.
Some Democratic presidential candidates are making a potentially fatal campaign mistake – outlandish promises to their left-wing base.
A common strategy: attracting base voters, candidates eschew moderate positions, offering extreme promises instead. After securing the nomination, they return to sensible proposals to win the general election.
This strategy, conventional political wisdom for years, often succeeded.
But Donald Trump has smashed conventional wisdom, with his “Bull in a China Shop” style (some might call it “Bulls**t in a Russia Shop” instead).
Trump is unpopular with sizeable percentages of Americans (50 – 60%), so Democrats should have excellent chances in 2020.
However, enough voters were worried about our direction before Trump to elect him in the first place, so radical liberal pledges might tip the scales – assuring him another victory.
Democrats have an uncanny ability to shoot themselves in the foot. Unlike Trump, who accurately predicted he could “shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose votes”, Democrats who shoot themselves WILL.
In 2016, candidate Clinton ignored traditionally blue states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump carried them, narrowly, sealing his conquest.
Hopefully, Democrats learned that lesson and won’t repeat it. But never underestimate their propensity to find new ways to lose.
This time, fanatical promises could drive independent, undecided, moderate voters (from BOTH parties) to abstain, write in candidates, vote for third parties – or hold their noses and vote for Trump.
These promises include GIVEAWAYS and TAKEAWAYS.
- Medicare for All. While many agree our health-care system is complicated, unfair, and expensive, many feel giving Medicare to everybody would be unfair and unsustainable, costing TRILLIONS. Should those who paid into Medicare all their lives pay MORE into it, with their taxes, to cover those who haven’t paid?
- Free health care for illegal immigrants. Sure to enrage hard-working Americans struggling to pay for their OWN health care.
- Free college education. Appeals to young people (unreliable voters, by the way), but angers others who worked hard to pay for their own and their children’s. They should pay for OTHERS’ with their taxes?
- Forgiving student loans. Student loans generate huge profits for companies charging exorbitant interest, and many graduate with prohibitive debts. But many paid off their loans – and forgiving OTHERS’ debts seems unfair.
- Reparations for slaves’ descendants. While slavery was horrific, demanding today’s Americans pay for sins they did NOT commit (and their ancestors may not have committed), arouses animosity.
- Decriminalizing illegal border crossings. Justifies Trump’s “open borders” accusation and SCARES many Americans who want secure borders.
- Candidate Lang’s proposal giving $1,000/month to every American. Might stimulate the economy, but sounds CRAZY – especially to those who have worked hard to provide for their families. While Lang has little chance of winning, he amplifies Democrats’ image as the giveaways party.
- Medicare for All again. Some candidates’ plans will eliminate private insurance. While many don’t have insurance or dislike their policies, many want to KEEP theirs (including union members who surrendered raises to preserve insurance benefits).
- Former candidate O’Rourke’s pledge to confiscate assault weapons. While most believe they shouldn’t be sold to citizens, backlash from confiscating guns LEGALLY purchased would endanger our social fabric.
Democrats have potential winning campaign strategies: displaying a moderate, bipartisan presidential style; respecting our institutions; hammering Trump’s dishonesty and disrespect; pledging to rebuild America’s infrastructure and alliances.
But “giving away the store” – and taking away things Americans cherish – is a LOSER.
To win, Democratic primary voters must disavow candidates making radical promises and support those appealing to independent, undecided, moderate voters – who WILL, as usual, decide this election.