The Corner

Elections

Hey, Democrats . . . How Is All of This Working Out for You?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer depart together after a news conference about their coronavirus relief negotiations with the Trump administration on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., August 7, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

At this hour, we don’t know how the presidential race will shake out, but we know that this will not be the sweeping rebuke of President Trump that Democrats wanted, and, in many cases, confidently expected. That other morning newsletter, from Politico, writes this morning:

TUESDAY WAS AN ABJECT DISASTER for Democrats in Washington. To imagine the amount of soul searching and explaining the party will have to do after Tuesday is absolutely dizzying. The infighting will be bloody — as it should be. We fielded text after text from Hill Democrats Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning with existential questions about their leadership and the direction of their party.

Look, the GOP has its own share of problems. But when Republicans have a lousy year — like 2006, or 2008, or 2018 — they generally see it coming. Almost every time the Republicans have a good year, Democrats get blindsided.

Maybe Democrats should stop assuming that they have African Americans and Latinos locked up, and stop reflexively labeling all opposition to any aspect of their agenda racist. Maybe they should recognize that Americans of all races, creeds, and colors own small businesses or dream of doing so one day and don’t see capitalism as an inherently cruel and unjust system. As I discuss in today’s Morning Jolt, maybe Democrats should realize “socialism” is not a winning message among Cuban Americans, Venezuelan Americans, Nicaraguan Americans, and Colombian Americans.

Maybe Democrats should look at the deranged accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, and the claims that Amy Coney Barrett is some sort of Handmaid’s Tale religious extremist, and realize that to at least half the country, they look unhinged. Democrats are never going to be the pro-life party, but maybe they can treat pro-lifers with respect and inch back towards Bill Clinton’s “safe, legal, and rare” philosophy.

Maybe Democrats should speak up in defense of law-abiding gun owners every now and then.

Maybe when people riot, Democrats should call it a riot. Maybe when a city has been poorly run for a long time, Democrats should say so and demand better results.

Maybe when a judicial nominee uses the term “sexual preference,” Democrats should just gently say that term is used less often now, and not cite it, ipso facto, as evidence of a verbal hate crime.

Maybe Democrats should see the coronavirus pandemic as more than a simple morality tale about good and wise Democratic governors and bad and foolish Republican ones.

Maybe Democrats should always acknowledge that there’s a difference between legal immigration and illegal immigration, and that whatever bad decisions U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement makes, the country must enforce its immigration laws.

Maybe when a GOP president orders a strike that kills an Iranian general responsible for a slew of terrorist attacks, Democratic leaders shouldn’t denounce it as a “provocative and disproportionate action.” Maybe when a Republican president gets Israel and some of its Muslim neighbors to establish diplomatic relations, Democrats ought to give a genuine “attaboy!” instead of shrugging that he only deserves “a little” credit. You’re not going to lose any votes for applauding your opponent’s genuine accomplishment.

Maybe Nancy Pelosi isn’t the best leader to have in the House, and maybe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the best person to be the party’s rising star, and maybe Chuck Schumer is not all that great as a Senate minority leader. Maybe Democrats would be better off with a little more spotlight on figures such as Amy Klobuchar and Andrew Yang and John Delaney. They weren’t amazing presidential candidates, but they weren’t instantly antagonistic to everything associated with the opposition.

Maybe the craziest thought of all is that perhaps Democratic officeholders and candidates should interact with people who disagree with them, listen to their arguments and how they see the world, and see if they’ve had some wrong preconceived notions about the . . .  er, deplorability of their political opponents.

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