When running a long distance race—whether it be a 5k, 10k, or even a marathon—pacing is key. While it may seem smart to sprint at the start of the race because you will temporarily get out in front, wasting all of that energy at the beginning will come back to haunt you when trying to get through the last few miles and ultimately win.
Similarly, presidential campaigns are a long-distance race, not a sprint. For Democrats in the thick of the primary right now, while it may seem smart to embrace hard-left positions in the short term and see a temporary boost in polling, alienating the majority of Americans will come back to haunt you when you are trying to attack Donald Trump in the days leading up to the election.
The belief among Democrats right now is that in order to become the face of the Democratic party, take on Trump, and be the one to restore sanity to this country, they must appeal to their progressive base. This may be true to an extent, but to appease the base at the expense of all other Americans is a grave mistake.
Right now Democrats are signaling that they only want the support of those occupying the far-left section of the political spectrum, thus creating a vast group of voters who now feel as though they don’t have a party to call home. This is true on issues ranging from healthcare, abortion, to foreign policy as it relates to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
How well do the Democrats represent the American people on the issues?
One of the most talked about moments from the first Democratic debate was when the moderator asked the candidates who’s government healthcare plan would cover illegal immigrants. Every single person raised their hand; not one candidate separated themselves from the pack on that issue. So, while it is clearly a popular idea among Democratic candidates for President, are the American people just as stoked on the idea? The answer: A hard no. 58% of Americans are opposed to the idea of giving illegal immigrants free healthcare, while only 38% support it.
What about abortion? Do the Democrats accurately represent the American people on that front? According to Vox, “many” of the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates support the following policies: repealing of the Hyde Amendment, allowing foreign aid to go towards abortion, and codifying abortion into federal law. On top of that, numerous candidates have shared their support for restriction-free abortion up to and including the third trimester. None of these stances, however, go over particularly well with the American people. Only 28% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in the second trimester, and only 13% believe it should be legal in the third. Further, while Democratic candidates want to enshrine abortion into federal law, 65% of Americans actually believe that the issue should either be left to the states or the federal government should make it illegal.
On issues of foreign policy, the Democrats’ policies are not particularly popular either. President Trump and the Republican party have been strong allies to Israel, the only free, democratic, and diverse country in the middle east. On the other hand, the Democratic party has slowly been drifting away from support of Israel. They have embraced figures like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, both people who call Israel an “apartheid state.” The Democratic candidates are varying in their degrees of criticism of our Middle-Eastern ally, but a number of them signaled that they believe that Israel is a unique human rights violators. Most Americans are supportive of Israel, almost 60%, but many Democrats have started to move more towards the perspective of the Palestinians.
What are the implications of this?
The truth is that while none of the policy positions discussed above are popular with the American people, all of them strike a chord with hard-left progressive Democrats. 63% of people who disapprove of Trump, for example, agree with providing free healthcare to illegal immigrants, when the majority of Americans do not. Further, while most Americans do support Israel, the one sector of the voting base that differs are liberal Democrats.
The point is this: the positions that the Democrats are espousing at the debates and in the 2020 campaign may be in line with parts of the Democratic base, but are certainly not in line with most Americans. Whether it be lukewarm Trump supporters or moderate Democrats, the people in the middle—and that is the majority of people—are not comfortable with what the Democrats are proposing.
This is a long-distance race, not a sprint. Taking these hard-left positions most likely will help in the beginning, but down the line it will come back and bite them. Whether or not the Democratic nominee tries to pivot to the center once the general election rolls around is irrelevant to the fact that President Trump will have a field day playing the clips of them supporting fringe ideas, and thus making them unappealing to the American people.
There is only so much room on the political spectrum, so when one party continues to narrow their appeal, as the Democratic party has done, the opposition party must jump at the opportunity to fill the gap. The Democrats have moved so far left to the point where almost none of their “fresh” and “new” ideas have any sort of broad appeal, and that is going to help Trump in 2020.
So, even though the marathon just started, Democrats are attempting to sprint to the finish line, unable to see future consequences. By the time the last few miles come around, and the American people are turned off by their out-of-touch ideas, they will have already made the irreversible mistake of sprinting at the beginning with no regard for the rest of the race.
Jack Elbaum is a 17-year-old High school student. He is a Wahington Examiner Contributor, Times of Israel blogger and has also been seen in the Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald.