The thoughts of a journalist/libertarian–conservative/Christian husband, father, Eagle Scout and aficionado of obscure rock music. Thoughts herein are only the author’s and not necessarily the opinions of his family, friends, neighbors, church members or past, present or future employers.
This election shouldn’t be hard for Democrats to win. Trump commands a base of support that is exceptionally zealous, and partially for that reason one that is also exceptionally small and hard to grow. The ceiling on his approval seems to be somewhere below 45 percent, and it has been hard to imagine him getting that up the few points he needs to even possibly win. Everybody whose hair gets blown back by his shtick is already on board, I’d speculate. Twitter bluster and crazy pronouncements and proud trolling and fanatical devotion to immigration restrictionism are apparently appealing to some Americans, but those people are already on the Trump Train. I wonder if you can track this in bumper sticker sales. I suspect his are weak, because the Trumper bumpers are already covered. And it’s hard to imagine him branching out to raise his numbers into winning territory. The president is probably not keeping anything more broadly politically appealing in reserve. He doesn’t keep anything in reserve. He’s a let it all hang out kind of guy. So winning this election should be like hitting in tee ball for the Democrats.
But! But, but, but… There’s another way for Trump to win other than by expanding his appeal. Namely, Democrats could give people generally inclined leftward reasons to fear or disfavor them. If they generate enough negative partisanship, voters will pretzel their way into justifying voting for Trump or not voting. Trump could squeak out another win without a majority, remember. Sure, that doesn’t seem likely in the abstract. But it didn’t seem likely Democrats would find a way to miss the slo-pitch 2016 election either. Still, they dreamed up a way: nominate a crook on the theory that political skill is one of the things you can catch by sleeping with Bill Clinton.
And now it isn’t abstract anymore. We have seen the debates, and we have seen what the Democrats are bringing. Some of it is appealing to me. Some of it isn’t. And I still don’t plan to vote Trump unless the Democrats nominate the Ba’athist blowhard Tulsi Gabbard. But to the American public at large, it’s about as off-putting as I can imagine.
What did they bring? Kamala Harris, who is a cop, accused Biden, who will likely be the nominee, of being a racist. Why? He worked with segregationist Democratic senators. Of course he did. The entire Democratic party worked with segregationist senators. An elderly Robert Byrd of West Virginia was an early booster of the Obama presidential candidacy. He is also the longest serving senator in U.S. history, and he launched his political career by founding a KKK chapter of which he held the high ranks of “kleagle” and “exalted cyclops” (racists are nerds too). Good job, though, Kamala, you bully. Good strategy for the good of the party and country to make this unanswerable and also unfair attack on the most likely nominee. I’m sure Trump is grateful.
Kamala also later said: “This cannot be an intellectual debate; We have to take it seriously.” That about sums up how the entire field seems to approach intellectual debate.