The gaggle of geese that is the current slate of Democratic presidential hopefuls has, with rare exception, been honking a far-left, progressive fantasy list of policy ideas in unison, or perhaps in round, in obeisance to the ironically-named Justice Democrats led by it-girl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I’ve questioned this shoot-the-moon strategy, because I think that a surer way to challenge Trump in 2020 would be to present a measured and moderate alternative, both in style and substance, to the Untethered Orange Id and his carnival barker/pro wrestler style. Alas, the social media outrage machine and the lock-step Press aren’t on board with a calm and calculated approach to electoral victory, so the pressure on candidates to conform to the leftward lurch has won out.

In going this path, they are putting substantial weight on Trump’s personal dislikability. Or, more accurately, their dislike of Trump. They also, blatantly evident in hindsight, leaned heavily on their certainty that Mueller would deliver enough goods on Trump to throw the GOP into chaos and ensure that, at the very least, Americans would be so put off by the exposure of Trump’s dirty dealings that victory would be a cake-walk, even with a far-left agenda.

The Barr summary of the Mueller report was a bulldozer over their sand castle, and left them holding two-seven offsuit after the flop. We’ve got 18 months left until Election Day 2020, and much will happen between now and then, but one of the key elements of the Democrats’ quest for the White House has been neutered.

Worse, now that the Mueller investigation has concluded, Attorney General Willam Barr is free to move into territory that, apparently, terrifies the Left: the investigation into shenanigans by the Democrats. As I read Michael Goodwin’s column this morning, I was struck by one observation:

They are so in the tank against Trump that they denounce the search for truth because the truth might favor the president.

A strategy that relies on public outrage against Trump will be an epic case of irony if it is public outrage against their own party that decides the election. If it’s shown to the public that the Democrats were the dirty players all along, that they bent the tools of government against a Presidential candidate, that they instigated an investigation with fabricated evidence and bureaucratic malfeasance, and that they further bent government (and the Press) to cover it all up, their years of screaming COLLUSION! and OBSTRUCTION! will echo back into their faces.

Then there are the voters who want Trump gone so badly that they don’t care if it takes lies, dirty tricks, and cheating to get their way. It is at those people we should focus our outrage and criticism. If they claim they want the truth, but can’t handle a truth that goes against their wishes, they’re destroyers. They invite government corruption and totalitarian rule, because that’s the inevitable outcome of a win-at-all-costs approach.

So far, BUT, TRUMP!!! sky-screaming has served quite well to deflect criticisms of the Democrats’ unpleasantries, policy excesses, and virtue signals. The Mueller exoneration (while it’s not an actual exoneration or a full refutation of grievances, it’s enough) has shrunk the percentage of the electorate upon whom the Trump-Sucks!! rebuttal still works on, and this loss of their most effective tool is making it harder to gloss over things that make non-ideologues raise eyebrows.

Consider how Mitch McConnell pantsed the Democrats by scheduling a vote on their outlandish Green New Deal. Consider the problem they have with the steady stream of “did she really say that” incendiary rhetoric from Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and how the Party hasn’t shown the guts to rein her in or rebuke her. Consider how a rookie Congresswoman from the Bronx has taken over the Party, not with statesmanlike, Solomonic wisdom, but with bare-knuckle partisanship, ideological extremism, and the backing/shout-downs of a very loud flock of Orwellian sheep. Consider that the Democrats’ absolute resistance to doing anything about the migration at the southern border has prompted a deluge that even has pro-immigration people saying “what the [redacted]?” Consider that Democrats who give even a hint of bipartisanship are being threatened by their own. Consider how their policy setters not only want to socialize health care, they want to ban private health insurance.

All this and much more speaks of a party that is has wrapped itself in a partisan progressive agenda and leftward movement, but isn’t even trying to sell it to those not already in the tent. Will such a platform play to a country that rejected the more moderate, in retrospect, campaign platform offered by Hillary Clinton two years ago in favor of the already-loathed-by-many Trump? The Democrats already know that they can rely on the votes of progressives and those who lean farther left, no matter who they nominate. They need to capture some of the less progressive voters, the rust belt working classes that went for Trump last time around. At this juncture, the approach seems to be a reliance on anger and distaste, not on the selling of policy. The Mueller setback has sucked a lot of air out of that room, and I don’t see, barring new circumstances arising (and especially with Barr set to dig into the Left’s dirt), that this is anything close to a winning strategy for the Left.

The primaries are still a long way off, and the party may very well end up nominating someone with a pragmatic, conciliatory, inclusive agenda and outlook. But, that would require beating back the Justice Democrats and other hyper-partisans that are dominating the narrative.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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