Why The Democrats Don’t Have A Prayer

Will Saleton finds that the Democratic Presidential candidates are swinging to the left. Dean and others are renewing their rhetoric against the President’s Iraq policy, the war on terrorism, and calling for more liberal economic policies.

What the Democrats are consistantly failing to understand is that liberals don’t win elections. The last true liberal to be elected President was LBJ. Since then liberal candidates like Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis have failed miserably. At best there is only 25% of the American population that are true liberals, and that’s pushing it. If the Democrats are trying to cement their position with them, they risk alienating the 50% (or more) of the voting population that are swing voters.

Even though the Democrats see Bush as Evil Incarnate, most of the country does not. His ratings on foreign policy are high, and his ratings on the economy are not good, but not terrible either. While Bush does have weaknesses, expect the Democrats to attack Bush with the grace and subtlety of a howitzer cannon. They’ll bring up anything they can to tar Bush. The only message that most people will get from the Democrats in 2004 is "we hate George W. Bush and you should to."

Except that attitude caused the Democrats to have their asses handed to them on a platter in 2002. Now the Democrats appear to be repeating history once more, trying to throw red meat to their base while making themselves look like blind partisans to the rest of the American electorate. Give that, all Bush has to do is place himself above the fray, keep on message, and appear Presidential and the Democrats are likely to implode on their own.

What will only compound this is that I now believe that Dean will get the Democratic nomination. Dean has the support of a lot of the liberal activists, and those activists are the one who are now at the rudder of the Democratic Party. The DLC is right that Dean is running too far to the left to be viable, but that doesn’t stop the liberal wing of the Democratic Party from clinging to him like a burr on a dog.

Then again, the Democrats have shown a complete lack of any vision beyond unseating Bush. The Democratic plans consist of recinding the Bush tax cuts (which will instantly destroy any chance of economic recovery), and more expensive social spending that will make the deficit-increasing aspect of tax cuts look like chump change. The Democratic agenda has been hijacked by the extreme left, which means that 2004 may very well be a repeat of 1984.

11 thoughts on “Why The Democrats Don’t Have A Prayer

  1. Isn’t it a little early to be seeing these clairvoyant visions in your crystal ball? The election? The election is more than 17 months away. It would surprise me greatly if Howard Dean was the nominee. My guess is Graham or Edwards will win the coronation, because that’s essentially what the primaries are at the is point. Still, this is one of the few times where it’s not so easy to tell.

    If Bush’s wasn’t governing from the absolute fringe of the right wing of American politics, I would agree he’d be unbeatable given the circumstances. But the minute we’re not in an immediate state of war, Bush’s approval ratings sink like lead balloons and it really won’t take much other than time to show the folly of the mission in Iraq and the years of consequences it will create. Beyond that, his insistence on exploiting 9-11 and the war for his personal political gain on a near-hourly basis is likely to grow tiresome even by dimwitted American voters.

    And as for a vision for America, the Democrats clearly lack one because they’re being strangled to death by Republican debt…which begs the question..what is the great Republican vision? A perpetual state of war, tax cuts for millionaires, tax cuts for billionaires, and making it easier to ship white and blue-collar American jobs to the Third World? I guess that’s a vision, but one voters would not embrace if they had the brains to decipher it behind the flag-waving.

    All in all, Bush’s popularity is tied mostly to the continued feeling that it’s good manners to support a President during war time. Bush is pushing that to the limit as he tries to forcefeed an agenda that is far to the right of what Americans want. He could easily self-destruct under his own gluttony and hubris. The future of the country depends on it.

  2. Primaries are the time to play to your base and that’s what candidates are doing now. Elections are the time to fool the middle 90% of Americans into believing that you are as bland and harmless as the other guy running for office. By the time people get into the voting booths they will be convinced, once again, that there is virtually no difference whatsoever between the two candidates and they will vote based on their gut feelings. No amount of projecting, polls or predictions can say, especially not at this point, what the outcome of next year’s election will be.

  3. Since when is half the voting population swing voters? From what I can see, it seems to be quite the contrary. In fact I would guess it’s probably more like 5-10. Feel free to prove me wrong if that’s not the case. In the meantime I’ll just assume you’re talking out your ass.

  4. It’s based on Anthony Downs’ Economic Theory of Democracy, one of the best books of political theory ever written. Basically, the electorate lies along a bell curve with Democrats on one end and Republicans on the other. Most of the electorate lies in between the two.

  5. A CBS poll that came out today showed that Americans favored deficit reduction over the current tax cut by a 55-32 margin….and that was before the Republican serpents slithered out of their holes today to make an 11th hour exemption on the tax cut plan to deny “tax relief” to low income working parents (the demographic the GOP despises the most) even though these are the only people in line for a tax cut who could generate real-world economic stimulus from a check in the mail.

    The lack of support for Bush’s latest giveaway seems to reinforce my theory that Bush’s popularity is soft and based primarily on wartime courtesy. Without economic improvement, the self-absorbed electorate can and will quickly change their minds. It’s way too early to make predictions about November 2004. Voters are far too fickle and Bush is far too much of a fringe-right ideologue to be certain that the public will continue supporting his every bonehead move.

  6. Mark, the way you refer to some of the American voters as “dimwitted” is not surprising, considering many on the left (even in powerful positions) feel this way about much of society. They feel that THEY have all the answers and if you don’t follow their ways, you are dimwitted (like our president, they would most likely say). Insults, Mark, like “dimwitted” and “bonehead” will get the left, and yourself, no where. Especially not into power.

  7. Hmm, that doesn’t make much sense to me, as most people generally seem to have neither the time nor will to really follow and understand politics, and the rest just don’t seem to care. Therefore most would resort to party line voting. Of course I might just be a little cynical. I’ll have to check this book out.

  8. Rob, the degree to which liberals perceive “they have all the answers” is barely even noticeable in comparison to the know-it-all hubris of the right. Listen to a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh, Jason Lewis, Bill O’Reilly or any of the other conservative mouthpieces degrade liberals or profess their monopolization of the truth and see if you can find one liberal even in the same league as what’s “just another day in the conservative office.”

    Jay is even going so far as to tell us exact how American voters are going to behave on the first Tuesday in November of 2004, yet you try to criticize me for “thinking I have all the answers”. If only conservatives could think through the hypocrisy of their arguments before posting them for the world to see, they may be able to save themselves from some embarrassing “gotcha!” moments.

  9. I’m not saying that I have some definitive answer here, I’m mere;y reading the tea leaves based on what’s going on now.

    As others have said, there is over a year before the election. Everything can and will change, and I’ll be updating my predictions as things change.

  10. I don’t think Dean, Edwards, Kerry, or Graham will be the nominee- I think they’ll spend the next 9 months savaging each other trying to jockey for position, and Wesley Clark will quietly slip into the race, remobilize the demoralized party with the skill of a general, and win the nomination- and then give Bush the fight of his life. 🙂

    But I’m no Cassandra, so just take this as silly speculation. I’m hoping that one of two things will happen:

    1- A moderate candidate will win the nomination and put up a good fight (even if he doesn’t win).

    2- Liberals will run the party into the ground, and we’ll see a major mutiny.

    (crosses his fingers)

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