In the most recent Democratic primary debate, the country was treated to the underlying reason as to why Donald Trump will be winning the 2020 presidential election. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the comparison of the two major parties and where they stand with their constituents. Republicans are widely united in their support for President Trump. According to Gallup, throughout 2019 his approval ratings amongst Republicans have been reliably hovering around 90%. It’s clear that it’s not just Trump’s base that likes his presidency so far, but the vast majority of the Republican Party, as well. Meanwhile, the highest favorability rating held by any Democratic candidate amongst Democrats is 75%, which is held by Bernie Sanders. Joe Biden is second at 72%, with Elizabeth Warren coming in third at 63%.
For a long time during the Obama Era, I heard the laments of Conservatives that there could never again be a white male Republican President. The racial divide in this country was too strong, and identity politics was now the new norm. In order for Republicans to take back some of the minority vote, they would have to nominate a minority. In 2016, the Republican field was saturated with such candidates. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina thought this, as well, but because the Republicans are much more interested in hearing about your ideas than your background, they never got a chance to play up these facts about themselves. It is my contention that if any of the aforementioned candidates was given the Republican nomination, you would have heard much more about that person’s minority status in the general election. But they didn’t win the nomination; an old white guy did. And he went on to disprove the notion that a white male will never again be elected from the Republican side.
So, obviously, that idea was only good for one presidency, and that is the actual issue for Democrats. As I’ve mentioned numerous times in this column, the Democrats pride themselves on the diversity in their party. The Democratic Party is divided into five sections: Party Loyalists, Socialist Left, Millennials, Black, and Hispanic. This results in the obvious diversity that Democrats crave, but it also presents a problem for nominated candidates. They have this extremely difficult task of unifying this inherently divided party. Barack Obama, a generational politician, was able to do this. Obama was uniquely likeable and was able to appeal to all of these groups. There is nobody left in the Democratic Party who can do this. Each of the candidates presents a major turnoff to at least one of these five groups. This all sums up to the new reality for Democrats: Unless you are an earth-moving personality, you can’t win a general election.
And this was on full display during and after the most recent Democratic debate. During the debate, there was a clash between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders regarding whether or not Sanders had said that a woman cannot win an election. Warren was adamant that it happened, while Sanders flat out denied it. Following the denial, CNN moderator Abby Phillip clearly dismissed the denial as false, and asked Warren how she felt when Sanders told her that a woman couldn’t win. The fallout from this decision was felt immediately. Sanders supporters helped activate a Twitter war against CNN, where the #CancelCNN was trending.
After the debate, both candidates accused each other of calling the other a liar. Obviously, one of them had to be lying. Either Sanders said it or he didn’t, but the spat, which was caught on a hot mic, caused some major damage to both candidates, in that it will be very difficult to gain backing from the other’s supporters should they win the nomination. In the case of Sanders’ supporters, they already have a bad taste in their mouths from the 2016 election, when the DNC was perceived to have backed Clinton, basically did whatever they could to make sure Sanders wasn’t the nominee. Now, in 2020, it appears that this is happening again. In 2016, Sanders supporters had low turnout for Clinton, and she lost. It wouldn’t surprise me if Sanders loses the nomination once again, his supporters don’t show up once more, even if it’s not Warren on the ticket.
This is the problem with telling a group of people that their concerns are the most important thing in the world. For years and years, millennials have been told that they are special, that they are valid – that they are perfect just the way they are. And now, the man whom they are backing is treated severely unfairly by their party. It wouldn’t surprise me if they just stayed home. Minorities have likewise been told that society is just trying to keep them down, and now they understand that there wasn’t a single minority on the stage in the final debate before the first primary. So the Democrats have cultivated a coalition by telling them that the Republicans aren’t listening to their concerns, and that if they want a home, the Democratic Party is always going to be there. So now all but one of these coalitions are going to be upset if their guy doesn’t win. There is no unifying figure on the ballots this time around. What you see is what you get. As it stands now, the only way a Democrat wins is if there is a contested convention and Michelle Obama throws her hat in there. She is the one unifying figure the Democrats have now, but she’s not officially running yet.
As we stand today, the Democrats are in big trouble. They look to be losing the White House yet again, they don’t look like they will be taking the Senate, and early indicators show that the House of Representatives is in trouble, as well. The Dems made the bed out of needles, and now they have to lie in it.
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.