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Don’t Blow It, Democrats

After four years of former President Trump’s erratic leadership, Americans were ready for reason, consistency, and maturity in the White House.

Moderates joined other voters, choosing Joe Biden as president as a steady hand on the wheel – after feeling like we were driven around in circles by a manic narcissist, escorted by his enablers, for four years.

         

Biden won handily, and Moderates breathed a sigh of relief when Trump left Washington – after he again disrespected an American tradition: the outgoing president attending his successor’s inauguration, demonstrating unity. That required more dignity than Trump could muster.

Normally, coat-tails in Congressional elections would accompany a decisive presidential victory. After four years of chaotic GOP leadership, Democrats should have swept into substantial power.

Didn’t happen. Democrats barely retained their House majority, losing some seats; the Senate couldn’t be more closely divided: 50-50 (counting Independents leaning Democratic), with VP Kamala Harris casting deciding votes.

So Democrats, take note. Voters elected your presidential candidate, with Biden winning the popular vote by 7 million votes, and the Electoral College by 74 (out of 270 needed). But voters did NOT endorse far-left policies pushed by some Democrats. Since Republicans gained House seats and nearly held their Senate majority, perhaps THEIR positions are more popular.

Remember, Biden campaigned as a Moderate, distancing himself from radical ideas in favor of middle-ground solutions.

He supported a Medicare option for health insurance – but not forcing all Americans into it, taking away their private insurance, as some Democrats proposed. Had that become a campaign pledge, this Moderate (satisfied with current insurance coverage) might not have voted for that candidate. Many other Americans, satisfied with theirs, also might not have – possibly sinking Biden’s chances.

Biden wisely refused to take the bait when Black Lives Matter protests demanded we “Defund Police”. Moderates agree we must prevent unjustifiable police killings of Black Americans – but also agree we NEED good police officers (as almost all of them are) protecting us, and defunding police departments would be dangerous. Supporting that would have left Biden vulnerable to Republican attacks that Democrats are “soft on crime”, a losing position.

One Democratic presidential candidate proposed confiscating legally-purchased assault weapons, but (thankfully) Biden didn’t. While most voters, according to polls, support improved background checks on gun purchasers and bans on assault-weapons sales, pledging gun confiscation would have resulted in Trump’s re-election – since Second Amendment rights are a hot-button issue. Ask Al Gore, who lost to George W Bush in 2000 partly because his home state, Tennessee, voted against him after he supported modest gun-control measures.

Tragic mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder recently notwithstanding, Democrats should not overreach, proposing extreme gun-control measures. Push the ones with widespread support, as described above; even those will be tough to pass with GOP obstruction. TMM explored gun violence prevention in 2019 and will revisit it soon.

Immigration is another hot-button issue that TMM explored in 2019.

Since it’s getting hotter again now, we’ll revisit it soon, also.

Trump made anti-immigration policies his campaign trademark, inciting fear about undocumented immigrants – and that fear contributed to his victory. Announcing his campaign in 2015, he accused Mexico of “sending people that have lots of problems… they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Left-wing proposals to “abolish ICE” (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) would have played into Trump’s hands on the immigration issue. Had Biden endorsed those proposals, fears of diminished border security would have left him vulnerable to GOP charges of “open borders”.

Biden wisely avoided supporting the Green New Deal, accurately assessing it as a bridge too far for many voters. While including needed energy policy changes to combat climate change, it ballooned into a progressive wish list enabling government overreach – likely scaring voters.

Instead, Biden won over conservationists (and Moderates) with sound, environmentally-friendly policies, especially regarding climate change. Compared to Trump’s radical, anti-environmental policies, Biden’s approach is a breath of fresh air (pardon the pun).

So Democrats, don’t blow it. DON’T push Biden toward a far-left agenda, especially on hot-button issues.

DO support his Moderate efforts – and remind Americans, at every opportunity, how those efforts are benefitting them. After years of increasingly bitter partisan politics (especially the last four), voters crave moderation and compromise among our leaders.

DO “let Joe be Joe”. He built a successful career as senator and vice-president as a Moderate, willing to reach across the aisle to seek compromise solutions to our challenges. That approach, with Biden’s steady, likeable persona, have generated good will and favorable polls. Let him govern that way.

DO exercise extreme caution before enacting extreme measures – like ending the Senate filibuster or packing the Supreme Court – possibly turning many voters, including Moderates, against you. Remember, those measures will be used against YOU, when the shoe is on the other foot.

America now needs moderation and healing, requiring bipartisanship. Joe Biden seems uniquely suited to lead us toward that – if Democrats will let him, and Republicans will join him. If they won’t, let THEM be the ones who blow it.

 

Images: Google Images

Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi, Schumer: Republican Party of Wisconsin

Biden inauguration: WFLA

Trumps departing Washington: PolitiFact

Trump and Obama: Business Insider

Electoral map: The New York Times

Abolish Police sign: ABC30

Bush and Gore: Business Insider

Trump 2015 announcement: Daily Mail

Abolish ICE protesters: KRNV

Ocasio-Cortez with Green New Deal protesters: AlJazeera

Windmills: storymaps.arcgis.com

Fight Trumpism signs: KALW

McConnell and Biden: The New York Times

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