Free healthcare. Free college tuition. Free cash for everyone. A 70% tax rate. Slavery reparations. The end of planes and cars, all in the name of environmentalism.
With the 2020 presidential election 20 months away, Democrats are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to win the nomination and the right to go up against their Darth Vader — President Trump. To do so, the 14 announced candidates have been trying to outdo each other on just how far left they can go.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the socialist from Vermont, is pitching free healthcare and free college (yes, "free" has a different meaning to Democratic socialists, who never really do explain where they're going to get trillions of dollars in an already tight budget to fund their "free" programs). Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey have proposed programs to just give taxpayer money to whomever they deem worthy (and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) says that money should even be given to people who "choose" not to work).
Of course, after winning the presidential nomination, the Democratic nominee will have to try to tack back to the middle for the general election. But that could be harder than it seems and the lurch to the left could end up putting Trump back in the White House, as even Rahm Emanuel says.
You know Emanuel. A key White House operative for Bill Clinton and onetime chief of staff for Barack Obama, Emanuel famously once said that Democrats should "never let a tragedy go to waste." He then became mayor of Chicago, where the murder rate hit new record highs under his watch.
In a piece in The Atlantic, Emanuel says Trump will likely seek to paint all Democrats as advocates of socialism and declares that "the last thing we should do is serve him slow pitches over the plate that allow him to define us on his terms. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Democrats have been doing since he went before Congress in early February. It’s almost as if we’ve been duped into reading from his ready-made script."
Earth to Democrats: Republicans are telling you something when they gleefully schedule votes on proposals like the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, and a 70 percent marginal tax rate. When they’re more eager to vote on the Democratic agenda than we are, we should take a step back and ask ourselves whether we’re inadvertently letting the political battle play out on their turf rather than our own. If Trump’s only hope for winning a second term turns on his ability to paint us as socialists, we shouldn’t play to type.
Emanuel says Democrats need to stick to their core values, but he adds that party supporters are willing to take a candidate with whom they do not 100% agree if it means the defeat of Trump. "So the ideological debates often shroud what voters really want — a nominee capable of standing steady and strong as Trump tries to bully his way into an Election Night victory. The president's low approval ratings suggest that, if he wins a second term, Democrats will have no one to blame but ourselves."
The mayor is right. The hard move to the left by hopefuls in the early stages of the campaign will allow Trump to paint the entire party as socialists. Indeed, Ocasio-Cortez, who the chairman of the Democratic National Committee has called "the future of the party," said in a recent appearance at South by Southwest that capitalism is "irreedemable" — not exactly a winning motto for a national election.
Even the mainstream media, including outlets like The New York Times, are worried about the Democrats' leftward lurch. "The sharp left turn in the Democratic Party and the rise of progressive presidential candidates are unnerving moderate Democrats who increasingly fear that the party could fritter away its chances of beating President Trump in 2020 by careening over a liberal cliff," The Times recently wrote.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is now warning Democrats against mvoing too far left. On Monday, she even came out and said Democrats should not pursue the impeachment of Trump.
When Pelosi is the voice of reason in your party, your party may have problems.