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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Liberal Democrats to discover bigger isn’t necessarily better in 2020

How big is too big?

It’s a question you might ask if you’re in the market for a major purchase -- like for a house or a car -- or even mulling over the perfect pizza size to feed the whole family versus just one or two kids. But when it comes to Elizabeth Warrenpolitics and presidential primary candidate fields, too “big” can be a predicament, indeed. So can too small -- if you doubt it, look back to the 2016 Democrat group which started out at four challengers and a frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, and soon withered to two less-than-appealing competitors through lack of interest and fundraising sustainability.

Democrats didn’t realize it but half of America was laughing at them while they decided between stale and warmed-over establishmentarian Clinton and the heavily accented and more-than-slightly kooky self-described socialist Bernie Sanders. Naturally, media liberals thought all the hilarity was on the GOP side since the party’s frontrunner was the bombastic and inexperienced Donald Trump… but Trump ended up almost looking like an incumbent compared with the sorry selection in the D supermarket aisle.

Democrats appear to be prepping for the opposite “size” problem starting mid to late next year, but it’s shaping up to be an old vs. young proposition. Stephen Kruiser wrote at PJ Media, “[A]t at one end of the spectrum, the Party of Youth and Diversity will be offering Sanders and Joe Biden, two extremely white septuagenarians. Even more interesting is the fact that the Democrats and their media mouthpieces have spent the last several months lauding the party's progressive youth movement, yet Crazy Joe the Wonder Veep and Grandpa Freebies are leading the early polling...

“The biggest claim to fame for both [failed Florida Democrat gubernatorial candidate Andrew] Gillum and [failed Texas Democrat senatorial candidate Beto] O'Rourke is that they lost races which allowed the MSM to portray them as moral victors. The old guys may have had real success in national politics, but these two have tingles running up and down every leg at MSNBC...

“Assuming that Biden gets all of the old money if he runs, the real cannibalization will be the fight over the progressive piece of the pie. Sanders knows how to energize a crowd, and many of those who were devoted to him are still angry that the Democratic primary system was largely rigged against him. Their affections may not be so easily turned away from him just because CNN tells them that Beto is prettier.”

Kruiser concludes his piece by suggesting Trump was aided by the record-setting Republican candidate field in 2016 and he’ll likewise benefit from the predicted large Democrat candidate pool in 2020. The two aren’t really analogous, but Kruiser is probably right -- the more Democrats there are to scorch each other in the first half of 2020 the better it’ll be for Republicans in November. If things keep going the way they are now, the GOP will enjoy near unanimity during the next nominating cycle.

This “era of good feelings” hasn’t presided over Republican-land since 2004, when George W. Bush won 98.1 percent of the GOP primary vote. That year was the only one in recent memory where serious ideological differences of opinion still didn’t result in contentious primaries and divisive intra-party bickering. Ronald Reagan ran unopposed 20 years before Bush, (in 1984), so Republicans aren’t exactly used to friendly dart throwing matches between friends.

Democrats are traditionally much less content. When Barack Obama emerged as the main challenger to Hillary Clinton in 2008 the party establishment treated the young upstart like he had leprosy. Prior to the actual voting, no one -- not even Republicans -- took the possibility seriously that Clinton would lose. Similarly, there were few takers for wagers choosing Sanders over Hillary in 2016. It wasn’t until after Clinton was declared the race’s winner that the underhanded, behind-the-scenes crooked dealing was exposed (thanks, DNC email dump through Wikileaks).

Therefore, 2020 is almost assured to be different. As Kruiser pointed out, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are the current poll leaders, though it makes sense that once voters consider them alongside candidates a little more youthful, vivacious and attractive that many might change their minds. In Biden’s case, he’s only on top now because the party faithful associates him with Obama. Given time, Biden’s gaffes and “creep” factor will eat away at his base.

At the same time Sanders is still too “out there” to be tolerable to the Democrat ruling elites. Anyone with a brain realizes Sanders’ platform isn’t doable -- and Democrats aren’t about to allow a nearly eighty-year-old crazy loon to squeak by when he’s potentially unelectable and running against what looks (on the surface) to be a vulnerable President Trump.  

There’s danger at the other end of the age spectrum as well. Prior to a few months ago no one ever heard of Andrew Gillum or “Beto” O’Rourke. As of next month, neither will hold a prominent political office, have shored up high-profile endorsements, assembled national fundraising infrastructure or enjoy widespread name recognition. They’re “outsiders” without any of the necessities to run against the swamp for America’s top job.

True, Trump never held office but his name was still pervasive in national media circles. His persona was larger than life -- not always in positive ways -- but he was rich, vowed to self-fund his campaign and featured backing from certain influential media figures (such as radio host Michael Savage and later on, Sean Hannity). The establishment media treated Trump like a circus monkey -- but people in the hinterlands took his candidacy seriously.

Trump was one of three message carriers in 2016, the others being fellow Republican Ted Cruz -- and Sanders. Where would Gillum or O’Rourke get the votes? What issue (or set of positions) are they known for that would allow them to break away from the pack? How would they stack up on a debate stage against equally young and attractive officeholders like Senators Corey Booker and Kamala Harris?

What would Gillum or O’Rourke talk about and offer as reasons to back them…? Demographics only go so far, after all. Sen. Marco Rubio was a young and good looking Republican candidate in 2016 but he was never going to win the GOP nomination, because once you got below the surface there was only, as Chris Christie put it so eloquently, the “25 second speech.”

Compared to Gillum and O’Rourke Obama had a wealth of experience to go along with his good looks, identity politics-friendly minority status and second-to-none ability to deliver a fine campaign speech. These days, young Democrats all believe they can replicate Obama’s appeal -- good luck!

One “old” Democrat who’s already fading quickly is Massachusetts socialist nutcase Senator Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren. What could’ve been the main challenger to Sanders for the Democrat kook fringe’s affection isn’t recovering well from her bout of full-of-crap syndrome brought on by her recently released DNA test, which Warren argued proved her outlandish claims to being part Native American. All along Warren’s sworn she’s descended from natives due to a wild story of family legends -- something that would fit well within the Democrats’ fantasy universe.

The only problem is no one’s bought into it. Michael Walsh wrote at PJ Media, “[B]eing a Democrat usually means never having to say you're sorry -- identity politics is generally its own reward -- and so Warren's discomfiture is something of a novelty. But her tenuous claim to ‘native American’ heritage -- by which we mean benefits thereof, including affirmative action in academic hiring -- was always risible...

“[S]he's actually less Indian than most natives of Oklahoma (where the ‘Trail of Tears’ ended, thanks to ‘the first Democrat president,’ Andrew Jackson) and probably most other native-born Americans as well…

“And yet she had the audacity not only to build an academic career on the basis of this ‘family lore’ but even to try and parlay it, via a gimme Senate seat in Massachusetts, all the way to the White House. One might think she would be ashamed, but one would be wrong. After all, she is a Democrat.”

It’s hard to argue with Walsh’s analysis. According to his report Warren’s privately expressed regret over having so prominently touted the statistics from her DNA test. The joke was on her as Native American tribes rushed to disassociate themselves from the former Harvard University professor, the poster child for what can go wrong when affirmative action goes off the proverbial rails.

Warren’s strongest argument for maintaining her presidential aspirations might be Democrat voters’ amazing proclivities to overlook glaring candidate flaws to anoint the person they think best represents their socialistic dreams. And that person could very well be Warren! After all, she’s a “she,” isn’t she? Warren also claims she’s a person of color, so that’s sufficient in liberals’ minds, mainly because by declaring minority (or homosexual or transgender) membership she’s dissing on “normal” white folks, like possessing a little skin pigment or genetic material makes one superior to the awful pale faces.

The Massachusetts senator also squawks all the right things about Democrat issues of the day -- flaunting her support for Medicare-for-all, universal college tuition, brow beating American corporations and businesses to death, dismantling the American economy to “do something” about climate change and perhaps most importantly of all, she loves abortion on demand! Needless to say, Warren’s been anti-Trump since there was such a thing and appropriately bashed now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh when the time was politically ripe for her.

The farther you deviate from the all-American Norman Rockwell portrait norm the more Democrat voters take to you. Warren can legitimately insert herself into one of those Pilgrim-themed paintings we’ve all seen -- and she’s the only one who can be on both sides of the table!

“Beto” O’Rourke has some identity adoption attributes of his own but at least he wasn’t stupid enough to plaster his genes all over the news. O’Rourke can therefore still assert he’s part “whatever” and say it with a straight face!

It's difficult to forecast what will transpire when Democrats throw their hats into the ring but all will be doing so believing President Trump is eminently beatable. If you only considered 2018 as a guide, it certainly looks that way too. Establishment political numbers cruncher Charlie Cook wrote at the Cook Political Report, “For all of the talk just a few months ago that President Trump might be tough for Democrats to beat, the size of this likely Democratic field is testament to the perceived value of the 2020 Democratic nomination.

“Keeping in mind that Trump received just 46 percent of the popular vote in 2016 and how little he has attempted to expand his base beyond that point, a president of 20 months who has yet to see a Gallup weekly job-approval rating above 45 percent—which also happens to be his approval rating in the networks' exit poll, with 54 percent disapproving—is very, very vulnerable.

“Consistently, Gallup polling has shown a ratio of at least 1.4 voters strongly disapproving his performance for each one who strongly approves, and in the exit poll, 46 percent strongly disapproved while just 31 percent strongly approved. These are very troubling signs. Two years ago, Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 4 points among independents while Republican House candidates topped their Democratic rivals by 6 points among independents. In this year’s midterms, the 30 percent of the electorate that described themselves as independents voted for Democrats by a 12-point margin, 54 to 42 percent.”

Conservatives and Republicans are fibbing if they say they’re not at least a little worried about the cold, hard data moving into the next presidential election cycle. I’m not privy to the figures but it should be noted Barack Obama and Bill Clinton got their party’s electoral rears kicked in 1994 and 2010 respectively, yet both went on to win rather easy reelection contests.

In other words, history shows the American people shift frequently -- and two years is a lot of time to assess the merits of bringing back another Democrat to the White House. As soon as independents and persuadable voters get a good look at Joe, Bernie, Hillary, “Beto” and Andrew (Gillum) going at it in a debate setting, President Trump will again look pretty appealing.

Barring a 9/11/01-type event every president suffers a political hit in his first two years (though it must be said Trump and the GOP actually gained two senate seats). The American electorate’s boomerang mentality should swing back in Republicans’ favor in 2020, too. Not only is the Democrats’ presidential nominee in doubt, but Nancy Pelosi will in all likelihood be the House’s new speaker -- and we know how popular she is.

Trump will need to work harder than ever to steal media attention away from the certain-to-be-fascinating Democrat presidential primary race in 2020. The crazy and eclectic cast of Democrats are destined to provide entertainment of the highest order. Will Americans tune in or tune out?

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