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2019: The Year of the Democrat? Think Again.

If Democrats are optimistic as 2019 begins, it is understandable.

Their victory on Nov. 6, adding 40 seats and taking control of the House of Representatives, was impressive. And with the party’s total vote far exceeding the GOP total, in places it became a rout.

In the six New England states, Republicans no longer hold a single House seat. Susan Collins of Maine is the last GOP senator.

In California, Democrats took the governorship, every state office, 45 of 53 House seats and both houses of the legislature by more than 2 to 1. In the Goldwater-Nixon-Reagan Golden State bastion of Orange County, no GOP congressman survived.

Does this rejection of the GOP in 2018 portend the defeat of Donald Trump in 2020, assuming he is still in office then?

Not necessarily.

To consider: Nancy Pelosi may want to close out her career as speaker with solid achievements, but she could face a rebellion in her party, which is looking to confront and not compromise with Trump.

The national debt may be surging, but Capitol Hill progressives will be demanding “Medicare-for-all” and free college tuition. Trump-haters will be issuing reams of subpoenas and clamoring for impeachment.

Other Democrats, seeing the indulgent attention their colleagues are getting from the media, will join in. Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee may have to accommodate the sans-culottes.

Is this what America voted for?

By the Ides of March, a dozen Democrats may have declared for president. But looking over the field, no prospective candidate seems terribly formidable, and the strongest, unlike Barack Obama in 2008, are too old to set the base afire.

According to a USA Today poll, 59 percent of Democrats say they would be “excited” about “someone entirely new” leading the party in 2020. Only 11 percent say they would prefer a familiar face.

Yet, who did these same Democrats view most favorably? Joe Biden, a 76-year-old white male first elected to the Senate when Richard Nixon was president.

Biden polls better than any of his rivals, with 53 percent of all Democrats saying they would be “excited” about his candidacy, and only 24 percent saying he ought not run a third time for president.

The candidate who comes closest to Biden in exciting the base is 77-year-old Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. Bernie’s problem?

Almost as many Democrats believe he should not run again as would be excited about having him as nominee.

As for Elizabeth Warren, the USA Poll must be depressing news. Twenty-nine percent of Democrats would be excited about her candidacy, but 33 percent believe the 69-year-old Massachusetts Senator should not run.

Beto O’Rourke, the three-term Congressman from Texas who put a scare into Sen. Ted Cruz in November is less well-known than Bernie or Biden. But those excited about an O’Rourke run outnumber those who think he should not run.

Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, both African-American, are less well-known but have more Democrats excited about their running than are opposed to it.

However, as Harris is from California and Booker from New Jersey, both blue states that Democrats are almost certain to carry in 2020, and both are from a minority that already votes 90 percent Democratic, even their appeal as vice presidential nominees would not seem to equal that of O’Rourke or Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who won re-election while his state was going Republican.

Yet, Brown, too, at 66, is eligible for Medicare.

A Biden-Brown ticket would present problems for the GOP. But could a Democratic Party that ceaselessly celebrates its racial and ethnic diversity and appeal to women and millennials get away with nominating a ticket of two white males on Social Security?

Other problems are becoming acute within the Democrats’ coalition of blacks, gays, Asians, Hispanics, women and LGBT, fraying the seams of the party.

After Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan praised the Women’s March co-president Tamika Mallory, and declared Jews to be the enemy in a speech last February, the Women’s March movement has splintered.

Asian-Americans who vote Democratic nationally are growing bitter over diversity policies in the Ivy League and elite schools that admit black and Hispanic students over Asian students with far higher test scores.

The BDS movement (boycott, divest, sanctions), targeted against Israel, is angering Jewish Democrats while gaining support on campuses.

Elizabeth Warren opposes BDS, but also opposes efforts to punish those who champion BDS. “I think the boycott of Israel is wrong,” said Warren at a town hall meeting, but added that “outlawing protected free speech activity violates our basic constitutional rights.”

In identity politics, loyalty to race, ethnic group and gender often trump the claims of party. The diversity Democrats celebrate is one day going to pull their party apart, as the social, cultural and racial revolutions of the 1960s pulled apart the party of FDR and LBJ.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.


25 Comments (Open | Close)

25 Comments To "2019: The Year of the Democrat? Think Again."

#1 Comment By Emil Bogdan On December 28, 2018 @ 1:35 am

Tribalism infects both parties, but luckily the strategy of applying shallow labels to fellow human beings tends not to go far. Diversity is difficult to grapple with because people are difficult, yet it’s what we experience and can’t run away from. Therefore, Republicans will vote for a young black woman if she articulates their principles, Democrats will vote for an old white man if he’s the genuine article. Politics is communication, so the most effective communicator of reasonable principles will be elected.

Pat, the party of FDR and LBJ is alive and well, it has elected several presidents since the 60’s, and just won the House. Why are you always terrified of a little action?

#2 Comment By ch hoffman On December 28, 2018 @ 4:00 am

mr buchanan finally has his ideal president

a racist homophobe with the morals of a Newark pimp

#3 Comment By FJR – Atlanta On December 28, 2018 @ 10:01 am

“In identity politics, loyalty to race, ethnic group and gender often trump the claims of party.” Quotes like this crack me up as if both parties don’t play identity politics. One of the parties just happens to have a more limited view of identity.

#4 Comment By Jhawk On December 28, 2018 @ 10:11 am

This is what a diverse nation looks like, Pat. We don’t all share the same race, religion, ethnic origins, sexual orientation or ideas about the proper role of government. What we share is the belief that government should be responsive to the will of the people. So yes, the Democratic party is going to face a range of conflicting opinions and demands. That’s how a small-d democracy is supposed to work.

Regarding identity politics, you should ask whether those “identities” are gravitating to the Democrats because they’re being appealed to or because they’re being repelled by the Trumpublicans.

#5 Comment By Kent On December 28, 2018 @ 11:28 am

I’m not too concerned about Democrats being pulled apart by appeals to diversity. I’m more concerned that Democrats might one day create a viable policy of reigning in healthcare and higher ed costs. That would attract enough white voters to crush Republicans.

I doubt they’re capable though.

#6 Comment By Collin Reid On December 28, 2018 @ 11:30 am

I am old enough to Democrats gloating about the 2016 Republican Primaries the same you are about 2020 Primaries.

#7 Comment By Henry On December 28, 2018 @ 12:10 pm

The pro-Israel political fanaticism of the neo-cons is identity politics. The increasing opposition to it by many democrats is not.

If Trump faces another neo-Con democrat establishment figure like Biden in 2020, Trump will defeat him the same way he defeated Clinton.

#8 Comment By Mac61 On December 28, 2018 @ 12:22 pm

If any Democrat is to stand up against $15/hour minimum wage, Medicare-for-All, free college tuition and identity politics, he or she is going to have to make the argument against Progressive Utopia. And will they? 2020 will mark whether the Democratic Party becomes the Progressive Party. If people like Biden and Brown hope they can get the nomination without taking on the golden calves of the Progressive wing, they are mistaken. My guess is that 2020 will be the year the Progressives seize control of the Party.

#9 Comment By Oleg Gark On December 28, 2018 @ 12:50 pm

The Democrat brand of identity politics explicitly rejects the “Great American Melting Pot” with their “White People Suck” rhetoric. Judging by the accelerating rate of interracial marriage in the last 50 years, the melting pot has continued to work, something that isn’t good news for those who want to exploit racial, ethnic and gender differences for political gain.
Democrats not only use this rhetoric against Republican “deplorables”, they also use it to disparage their own Progessives as the “Red Army”, for failing to place identity politics ahead of economic issues. The Democrats may be on a roll, but they are still the party that excels in shooting themselves in the foot.

#10 Comment By The Other Sands On December 28, 2018 @ 1:57 pm

Your right Pat! The GOP is coming on strong. What momentum! Lol.

#11 Comment By Thrice A Viking On December 28, 2018 @ 2:02 pm

Emil Bogdan, I think you’re missing the point. Yes, the party of FDR and LBJ still bears the name “Democratic Party”. That nomenclature remains the same. But it also had the same name in Andrew Jackson and Jefferson Davis’s times – and I scarcely believe that it would claim much affinity with either of them. The fact of the matter is that the Democrats have changed enormously since the New Deal and Great Society/War on Poverty days. You need look no further than their last POTUS nominee’s ties to Wall Street (including a non-disclosure agreement in re her speeches to financial groups), and her crowing that her counties made about twice the amount that Trump’s did, to detect a sea change in the party’s general outlook.

#12 Comment By Kevin J Morgan On December 28, 2018 @ 2:54 pm

If Trump isn’t driven out of office in 2019, he’ll be put out by the voters in 2020. You can take that to the bank!

#13 Comment By Saad On December 28, 2018 @ 3:59 pm

No, no Pat they all will be reunited by promises of freebies, free college, free healthcare, free childcare, free …….

#14 Comment By TomG On December 29, 2018 @ 9:28 am

Many of the responses, however brief, (Emil Bogdan, FJR-Atlanta, Jhawk to name three) are more spot-on than Mr. Buchanan’s predictable siloing of the electorate.

It seems to me one of the strongest candidates for the Democrats is getting little attention. Julián Castro, unlike O’Rourke, has actually accomplished something in his life in public service, and the party faithful are foolish if they don’t take a hard look at a young, hispanic Texan.

His record is pretty good except for endorsing HRC. She might have swayed more voters with him as her VP choice over Kaine. I never could see what he brought to the ticket. Well, I guess we can be thankful she chose her VP poorly.

If history repeats itself, we’ll have two poor choices again in 2020. Though a Castro-Harris ticket would certainly mix things up for Trump-Pence.

#15 Comment By TheSnark On December 29, 2018 @ 11:46 am

FJR says: ““In identity politics, loyalty to race, ethnic group and gender often trump the claims of party.” Quotes like this crack me up as if both parties don’t play identity politics. One of the parties just happens to have a more limited view of identity.”

The difference is that the GOP based their identity politics on the largest ethnic identity group, white folks. The Dem’s tried to cobble together a batch of disparate ID groups while bad-mouthing the white people, the largest ID group. Now, I ask you, which party has more common sense?

#16 Comment By sedd On December 29, 2018 @ 4:05 pm

lets hope the democrats lose in 2020,.our country is
already in a mess because of democratic refusal to
protect our borders and establish our sovreignity.
Trump may not be perfect, but he is doing his best to
protect our freedom. More than Obama or Clinton
ever did.

#17 Comment By Sheila On December 29, 2018 @ 8:34 pm

The Snark:
Your analysis would work if all white people were interested in GOP white identity politics. The only significant numbers of white Americans who seem to be going for this are Evangelical Protestants, people without college degrees, and certain segments of white men. Almost all other white people – the college educated, non-Evangelicals, and a majority of whites women – don’t want to be part of this coalition.

Unless the GOP can expand its appeal, which is the opposite of what Trump is doing, it will implode. There simply aren’t enough white people who embrace identity politics for this to work.

#18 Comment By Lee On December 30, 2018 @ 12:26 pm

@ TheSnark
“The difference is that the GOP based their identity politics on the largest ethnic identity group, white folks. The Dem’s tried to cobble together a batch of disparate ID groups while bad-mouthing the white people, the largest ID group. Now, I ask you, which party has more common sense?”

Well, let’s see. The following demographic groups went for Dems in 2018 – non-white people, white college educated people, white no college non-evangelical women which leaves for the GOP white no college men and white no college evangelical women. Every single demo group that is growing is in the Dem column and the shifts among women to Democrat in the last two years have been dramatic to say the least. Good luck with your “common sense”.

BTW, all political parties have factions. What matters is whether or not they can work together enough to accomplish something in government.

#19 Comment By PAX On December 30, 2018 @ 1:41 pm

Tribal and diversity politics do produce undesirable results in terms of wars chosen to fight, laws that receive the most attention/inattention, and people embraced into the public largess. Certain really well-organized groups, taking a page out of Erwin Rommel’s (May 1940 -France) blitzkrieg of a cohesive spear like attack do control and will continue to control the body politic. This approach will be complemented by further attacks on the First Amendment to avoid unmasking that indeed we are indeed being blitzkrieged. Mandrake surpassed.

#20 Comment By Mark Thomason On December 30, 2018 @ 2:42 pm

“In identity politics, loyalty to race, ethnic group and gender often trump the claims of party.”

I agree. That is exactly why establishment Democrats make the appeal to identity politics.

It is what they do instead of what the Party’s voters want.

It allows them to please Democratic donors while seeking Democratic votes which want very specific things like health care.

Identity politics splits the Democratic party into more than just those identity groups. It splits the Party establishment from their voters. And that split is how Trump won. He could again, if they do it again.

#21 Comment By Ken J Halibutmoon Sr. On December 30, 2018 @ 6:26 pm

Yes, Democrats are using identity politics to divide rather than unite as usual. But I wouldn’t put much emphasis on polls of party members. Independents outnumber (D)s, and (R)s. Those remaining are more aligned with what the current parties stand for–in the Democrats’ case, centrism, war, and Wall Street. As we saw with Trump, who supposed “leaders” of the parties, and donors and fat cats want is increasingly not what their supposed “bases” want.

#22 Comment By Mark B. On December 30, 2018 @ 8:31 pm

Trump 2016
1) His base, partisan people for which he is an entertainer and reality show star that gave them the feeling they are truly part of his struggle, as participating spectators, to save America.
2) The non-partisan people of the falling middle-class who felt abandoned by both the GOP and Dem establishment and voted for him in the hope that there finally was a chance for an outsider coming in that will take their problems seriously.

Oprah 2020
1) Her base, partisan people for which she is an entertainer and reality show star that gives them the feeling they are truly part of her struggle, as participating spectators, to change America.
2) The non-partisan people of the falling middle-class who feel abandoned by both the GOP and Dem establishment and Trump and will vote for her in the hope that this time (after the false promise of Trump) there truly is a chance of an outsider coming in that will take their problems seriously.

Why not? Who can say with certainty this cannot happen?

#23 Comment By Thom Prentice On December 31, 2018 @ 12:20 pm

The national debt may be surging, but vast cuts to the military / intelligence / homeland security / big data / overseas military vases budget would pay for Medicare-for-All.

Student loan debt cancellation could be achieved by the Federal Reserve “printing” a trillion extra dollars which would then provide the consumption hit of hits to the staggering US economy.

And the debt could be vastly reduced with a tax surcharge on the rich and on the military industrial complex and its shareholders that have so benefited from the state of permanent war.

Corporate America and the millionaires and billionaires should be “invited” to make a patriotic gesture by further paying down that part of the debt that is for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the so-called war on terror — at least $12 trillion.

Plus mandatory repatriation of corporate profits (Hello Apple) for taxation would put the country on a sound financial footing. Or closer to it.

RE: The national debt may be surging, but Capitol Hill progressives will be demanding “Medicare-for-all” and free college tuition.

#24 Comment By Luke On January 3, 2019 @ 2:12 pm

Unless the GOP can expand its appeal, which is the opposite of what Trump is doing, it will implode.

The same thing they said when Obama was in office. But the GOP did expand its appeal, just a short two years ago. It did so with a candidate that excited people, spoke to the goodness of traditional America, and thus broadened a coalition. No one wins with their own party alone. But general elections are more about persons than about parties.

#25 Comment By Maria On January 4, 2019 @ 7:20 pm

I would like an honest answer/discussion from either party on the following:

1) What is the difference between the Dixiecrat segment of the Democratic party that we have been given the narrative migrated to the Republican party during the Nixon election. There is no evidence of this as George Wallace ran and absorbed the votes. These same Dixiecrats advocated for segregation or “Separate but equal.” They didn’t argue for integration.

2) My question/s are: What is the difference between a segregation policy of separate but equal and identity polities? Identity politics continues to segregate people based upon ideologically beliefs as well as religion, or race. These same groups are educated that they are unequal or separate and unequal. They claim the inequality is caused by white suppression or homophobia or some oppressor group who are also segregated from the oppressed group and morally unequal. Identity politics is opposed to integration or a society in which groups lose their inherent identity in favor of a collective identity such as “human beings” or “Americans” or “citizens.”

3) I am serious that this issue needs to be addressed because I see no evidence that the segregationists ever left the Democratic party and became Republican which was the party of Lincoln. Instead they have morphed into those who champion identity politics, as opposed to an integrated society of American Citizens.

4) Isn’t identity politics founded on a worse premise than what the Dixiecrats advocated within the Democratic party. The premises are:

a) created equal – traditionally the party of Lincoln or conservatives

b) separate but equal – Dixiecrat or Southern Democrats – are they still democrats? What evidence is there that segregationists switched parties?

c) Separate and unequal – position of those who advocate for identity politics – undeniable now the Democrat party.

d) Isn’t name-calling – such as calling someone a racist or another person a black or whatever name you chose symptomatic of the need to segregate or separate people? Isn’t this the source of our divided nation?