“Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they’d be Republicans.”

Will Rogers

I’m not a Trump supporter for many reasons, including his lack of basic morality and honesty. However, given Trump’s obvious flaws and the collapse of the economy due to Covid-19, the fragmented Democrats are not in as good a position as they should be for the November election. There are three factors to consider regarding the Democrat’s 2020 chances: lack of unity; unclear policy agenda; and after effects of impeachment.

Let’s look at the primary season. As was shown on Super Tuesday, Warren and Bloomberg were already gone for all intents and purposes; Gabbard was really never in the race. That left only two viable candidates: Bernie (progressive) and Biden (moderate). Finally, thank goodness, Bernie pulled out because he had no chance of winning the nomination. But, his endorsement of Biden was half-hearted and  lack of Democratic unity remains to haunt the Party.

Bernie has always  done better with the activist base, Latinos and the young, while African Americans overwhelmingly support Biden. Biden won numerous states, but most of them (with notable exceptions like Massachusetts) are red states which Trump will certainly win in November. Bernie won true blue California, which will go blue no matter who runs, and a few others.

However, even though Bernie has pulled out and weakly endorsed Biden, within the overall party itself there still are three factions: a. Bernie got screwed so I’m voting against Biden; b. Pro-Bernie, but I’ll vote for Biden in November rather than Trump; c. Biden supporters.

I’m a “b” category progressive. That makes me a target for the more radical faction of Bernie supporters. For example, awhile back I posted on Facebook that Rep. Omar is bigoted. In response, the far left-wing vitriol was extreme, directed both towards Israel and me personally. Some statements were just anti-Semitic, having nothing to do with Omar. Few acknowledged anti-Semitism as a problem, though FBI and ADL statistics show a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic incidents here and abroad.  More to the point, many of the 500+ responses stated that to be a “real” Democrat, you had to unconditionally condemn “racist” Israel. Left-wing excesses like this will hurt Democrats in key swing states like Florida.

To be honest, on the flip side, there are Biden supporters who were saying Bernie is a “communist” (incorrect) and that the party has moved too far to the left. They are just helping Trump in his campaign for re-election.

 Another major issue is the lack of a clear Democratic agenda. All primary candidates agreed on only one thing: Trump needs to go. Other than that, there was virtually no cohesive platform on key items like healthcare, taxes, regulation or the environment. And, Biden has done little to firm it up since he became the presumptive party nominee.

Bernie supporters pushed Medicare for All, popular with the base. Biden opposes it (as does Pelosi, the real Party leader). Bernie is also for redistribution of wealth and tax increases; Biden is not.  Bernie is pushing the Green New Deal; Biden is more reserved, concerned about cost. Bernie is for more regulation; Biden avoids directly commenting on the issue. He spends his time generally ducking issues and just saying “I’m better than Trump”.

Another problem is the aftereffects of impeachment. Trump is clearly guilty of many impeachable offenses, including obstruction. Therefore, Speaker Pelosi moved to impeach him. But, since Trump is still strongly supported by the GOP base, the GOP controlled Senate refused to remove him. 

Pelosi believed that the GOP’s failure to remove Trump would bring down the wrath of moderates and independents. But that judgement was apparently incorrect. Trump’s numbers have not gone down; the base is solidly behind him.

Some alienated independents/moderates may stay home (or vote Republican) believing there was insufficient evidence or that the Democrats should have waited for the 2020 election rather than move on impeachment. Remember, the unsuccessful Bill Clinton impeachment removal effort by Republicans caused the GOP to lose elections.

One thing is certain; the Democratic Party needs to move quickly to get its act together. Depending on the particular poll and the Democratic nominee, Trump is still ahead in some swing states despite his abysmal handling of the Covid-19 plague. And he’s dead set on winning the Electoral College votes in all of these key states, rather than concentrating on the big blue states like CA and NY. 

Democrats of all persuasions, especially Bernie supporters, must decide right now that they will actively support Biden. If not, Trump will certainly be re-elected.


Image credit: the caricatures of Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (aka: Joe Biden) was created by DonkeyHotey (Flickr/Creative Commons).

Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.