On Monday evening, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) jumped into the presidential race with both feet in a townhall in Iowa, broadcast by CNN. There, Harris embraced every radical position available to her – presumably in an attempt to crowd out candidates to her Left, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). With that strategy in mind, she embraced Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s so-called Green New Deal, which would cost an estimated $49 trillion over the next ten years, as well as slashing the military in half, eliminating natural gas and coal within 11 years, and banning gasoline-powered vehicles. She also embraced nationalized health care insurance to the extent that she gladly stated that she would “eliminate” private insurance – you know, the insurance upon which the vast majority of Americans rely. A Medicare-for-All plan would cost some $32 trillion over ten years – and that’s a low-end estimate, considering that Bernie Sanders’ plan assumes a 40 percent reduction in provider payments, and no private health care spending outside the system. And Harris embraced a full-scale ban on semi-automatic weapons.
None of these proposals are either remotely tenable or even popular. The Green New Deal is dead on arrival; try polling Americans on whether they want the government to ban their cars. Medicare-for-All? Just 37 percent of Americans want it when informed their health plans would disappear – and just wait until they hear about the increased taxes. How about a ban on semi-automatic weapons? Only 40 percent of Americans were in favor as of October.
But Democrats, honing in on President Trump’s personal unpopularity, apparently mistake the public rejection of Trump’s personal foibles for public warmth toward full-scale Leftism. There’s simply no evidence of that. That’s why Democrats are panicking over the possibility of a third party candidate like Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO, who could siphon off many anti-Trump votes by not running as a complete loony. There’s room for an anti-Trump centrist in this electorate – and that running space has been created by a Democratic Party beholden to its radical base.
That’s why it will be fascinating to see how Vice President Joe Biden fares in Democratic primaries. Should he lose to someone more in line with the base – a Warren or a Sanders or a Harris – Democrats may face the possibility that Trump’s popularity ratings matter less to the general public than Democrats’ extremism. Democrats see Trump’s 2020 re-election race as a golden opportunity to move further to the Left. But they may find out the hard way that when forced to choose between a vulgarian who doesn’t want to take away their health insurance and a media darling who does, the American people aren’t sure to choose the latter.