It has no doubt been an extraordinarily momentous start to the decade, especially in the world of American politics; Donald Trump has gone through the impeachment trial unscathed, the Democratic primary campaign season has begun to pick up steam and uncertainty once again grips the nations voters as it prepares for Presidential Election in November… well, uncertainty from one side of the political bench, at least.
So, it begs the question; how did we get here? It seemed that after the Democrat Party won a majority in the House during the 2018 Mid-Term Elections, the countless leakers and whistleblowers who have gone on to publish their accounts of the chaotic nature of Trump’s White House, and Nancy Pelosi’s filing for impeachment that the ‘red wave’ had finally reached a blue sea-wall. As it turns out, that was not the case. In fact, it was precisely the opposite. The Democrats have had all the opportunity in the world in the last four years to make major reforms in their own party so that a repeat of 2016’s mistakes would never occur again; they could’ve become the party of reform, middle-of-the-line politics that could draw in the majority of the American people regardless of their backgrounds. On the other hand, they could’ve gone down the road of Bernie-style populism, appealing to the same anti-establishment message that was so persuading for many voters in 2016. The very same message that Trump echoed on his way to the Presidency. Either would have worked in their favor, as it would have given the Democrats a definable identity they could bank on for future elections. Unfortunately, the Democrats have been stuck in a sort of state of limbo: they have no idea who they are, neither does the voting public.
The Democrat Primary is the perfect example of just how much the party is struggling to define their character. We’ve seen a myriad of candidates, with all sorts of positions ranging from the establishment-style Washington politics we’ve come to expect of former Vice President Joe Biden, to the fresh-faced, but forward-thinking campaigns of Andrew Yang. Then to the radical anti-establishmentarianism that we’ve all come to know and love from Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Now, one might look at all the candidates that have been up for the challenge and think that it is quite good to have this wide-range of representation from the Democrats; however, it highlights just how fractured the party has become, especially in terms of generational difference. For many of the older generation Democrats, populism is seen very much as a part of the emerging problem from Washington. Many of these voters over the age of 40 are the same ones who supported Clinton during the 2016 race, whereas Bernie appealed to, and still does appeal to millennial and Gen Z voters. With the election of other Bernie-style Democrats, such as AOC and Rashida Tlaib, the Democrat Party has seen major shifts even further Left on the political spectrum. This divide shows during the debates especially, where it seems that none of the candidates can seem to agree on any consistent policies except for one: getting Trump out of the Oval Office. This is a major mistake which thte Democrats have made in the past 4 years, the same mistake that Hillary made during her 2016 campaign; instead of bringing forward any actual policies or legislation, instead of working across the political aisle in order to keep the nation turning, they have made one issue their mantra; being anti-Trump. It has blown up in their face every step of the way. From Mueller, to the confirmation of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, to the impeachment, Trump has outmaneuvered them every step of the way. Showing that the Democrats are no longer a political party, but rather just acting as a legislative roadblock to get by in government. Remove Trump from the equation, and the Democrats aren’t particularly unified on anything else. The major shifts to far-left politics has meant that the new generation of Democrats that are rising in the ranks are moving away from operating as the party of Clinton and Pelos. Becoming a political movement that punches further and further towards the left each year because of the shockwaves that had been sent as a result of the rise of Bernie-style populism in 2016. A wise man once said that a house divided cannot stand, and if Trump wins in 2020, the Democrats will have nothing else left to unify them. There will not be another impeachment, and there won’t be any other attempts to force Trump out of the White House, those cards have been used and squandered already. So, what else will the Democrats have? The answer in my opinion, is nothing.
Meanwhile, President Trump has won major victories in the eyes of his base voters. He has managed to maintain steady economic growth and re-energized the manufacturing industry in America’s heartland. Trump has been able to navigate his way around the unique and oftentimes challenging foreign affairs while keeping to his core value of “putting America first”, and getting many successes on the world stage, especially in regards to Iran. Most importantly, Trump has operated in the cut-throat Washington political game, and has played his opposition like a fiddle.
Written by Ilija Dokmanovic