The Democratic Party came off a resounding victory in the mid-term elections and now control the House of Representatives. The major Republican weakness exposed by the election are the intimate ties to the President.
The Democrats ran against Trump and won because in district after district, Republicans could not shake their association with the President. The 2020 elections promise to contain more of the same and politicians like Colorado’s Senator Cory Gardner for example, will have to answer for his continued support of the President and all he stands for.
The Republican Party has a problem as it responds to an unstable leader that walks the path of the extreme right, kills credibility every day with lies and makes impulsive decisions that endanger the country and the world. The Party is caught in a bind with little appeal outside of its registered base.
On the other hand, the Democratic Party has ample opportunity to go beyond its anti-Trump agenda and bring substantive domestic and global policy issues to the table and put America on track to re-assumed its position as world leader. This begins with the reestablishment of norms that express honesty, genuine care for all people, incremental change, reliability with partners and allies and steadfastness in our dedication to the Constitution and the rule of law.
The Democratic Party is beginning to field a large number of candidates for President from diverse communities and with diverse views about the philosophy, nature and place of government in our lives. At this point however, the loudest voices appear to be from those that want major changes on things such as tax policy, medical insurance, the environment and our social and educational programs.
There is also an effort by leading Democrats to limit the influence of potential middle of the road candidates such as Michael Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York that wants to run as a Democrat and Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks who is thinking of running as an Independent. If you think about it, the two leaders offer political space that can transform the Democratic Party into a larger, more diverse, more inclusive and more representative of the American people.
By the numbers, Independents represent the political majority in this country with Republicans bringing up the ideological right and the Democrats the left. However, most people in this category do not think in ideological terms as they generally relate to their place with a mixture of traditional values and ways that best reflect their ambitions for the future and their obligations to others.
The two-party system in America assumes that most of the thinking public can fit their own political persuasions within the philosophy of one party or the other. What happens however, when this is not the case and most people are left on the outside?
It is clear that our existing two-party needs to provide a home to as many as possible of Americans currently disenfranchised. That would also go a long way in solving the divide in the nation and create a renewed trust in our political system.
In 2020, the Democratic Party has the opportunity to offer an “adult” candidate with the widest possible appeal that includes a common sense world view held by the great majority. George Will says it best in pointing out that the Democrats can save the Trump presidency “by nominating someone loopy enough to panic voters who are asking only for someone cheerful, intelligent and tethered to reality.”