As the 2018 election cycle prepares for what is bound to be a very intense summer season, it appears the Democrats are feeling way more comfortable with issues they used to skirt around due to public opinion.
I wrote yesterday that the Democrats now feel really good about pushing for single-payer in the form of a Medicare For All bill, inspired by Bernie Sanders and backed by the ultra-progressive movement he has started.
The Democrats are making a calculated move here. They are convinced that the American public’s response to Donald Trump is going to be swift, vicious, and good for the Democratic Party. They are banking on sweeps in 2018 and Trump’s re-election defeat in 2020 in order to get the agenda through.
However, the Democrats are not completely unified in this plan, and challenges from the party’s left are nipping at the heels of the more established members of the caucus (like Feinstein). It is a very chaotic time for Democrats in D.C., who see the potential for power in their grasp, and yet problems around every corner.
But that is not the only risky position they are putting themselves in.
The Parkland shooting has Democrats pushing – and pushing hard – for increased gun control, a position over which the American public is historically very split. While current polling from CNN shows 7 in 10 Americans favor stricter measures on gun control, that is well outside the norm in historical data, which shows that a combined 4 to 6 out of 10 Americans are satisfied with current guns laws or want less gun control.
While the Democrats are banking on that boost now, it’s not guaranteed to carry over all the way to the Fall elections. Politics is a game of short-term memory when it comes to voters, and only the most recent stories (with very few exceptions) tend to have the most impact.
That is what makes the ground the Democrats are treading so much riskier. If they go too far Left and alienate the midwestern and blue-collar families that Hillary Clinton ignored in 2016, their gains are going to be much smaller than they’d like. The country can lean away from Trump, but that does not mean it is ready to flip to being a progressive nation. Even California is currently struggling with just how far Leftward it can push itself.
The impending Democratic Civil War will only serve to exacerbate the problem and force the Democrats to make a tough choice: Go all the way Left or stay where they are and rely on centrist support in the wake of the Trump Presidency.
Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and others seem to want to hold on to their power, and they see the upstart ultra-progressives as threats to their power. If they can manage to hold on to their positions within the party, they will need to firmly take the reins of the Democratic Party and keep it where it is. Going further Left is a dangerous game for them.
Luckily, chances are they don’t read me and the Democrats won’t take my advice. Therefore, we can kick back, relax, and watch their Civil War just long enough to make us forget about our own.