No doubt Nancy Pelosi tearing up the State of the Union speech whilst stood behind Mr President after he’d just delivered it was regarded by the Speaker of the House of Representatives as an act of rebellious defiance. Yeah! Go, girl! However, this rather petty and pathetic gesture could equally be taken as symbolic of something else, perhaps the shredding of the Democrat hopes of recapturing the White House in November. To use a phrase that has never really crossed the Atlantic, right now it appears as though the Democratic Party couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.
The farce that the Iowa caucuses descended into – suggesting much-trumpeted advancements in technology haven’t exactly improved upon the notorious ‘hanging chads’ of 2000 – almost felt preordained; to expect a slick and professional operation from a party that has left it until the last minute to turn its attention to finding a credible contender was a tall order. Okay, I’ll admit the lumbering American political system can be confusing enough for an American, let alone an outsider; but whereas Brits find even a month’s campaigning for a General Election tiring, the US electorate has to endure everything being stretched out over an entire year – and, lest we forget, the Democrats have had four to prepare for this.
Whilst 2020’s early front-runners are the doddery double act of ex-Vice President Joe Biden and veteran socialist Bernie Sanders, the other two to have hogged the headlines are token woman Elizabeth Warren and token gay Pete Buttigieg. As the tedium progresses, a dozen candidates seeking the nomination are whittled down via caucuses, primaries, fund-raising events and endless television debates. The campaign trail is a twelve-month marathon that comprises every cliché associated with US politics as the hopefuls kiss babies, pose for selfies, stand beside their spouses, and try to adopt an everyman/everywoman persona that will appeal to the widest possible demographic. But it’s increasingly difficult for the individual Democratic hopefuls to broaden their personal appeal beyond their own fan-base within the party, never mind attract the country’s floating voters, when the party still hasn’t recovered from 2016. It remains in denial, staggering around with political PTSD and resorting to many of the tactics that so alienated the electorate four years ago because it still can’t accept that 2016 happened.
The caucuses are the beauty contests of the protracted process, the platform upon which the candidates emerge as household personalities for the first time; how they fare here can determine whether or not they then go on to the next level, the ‘Super Tuesday’ circus, when a dozen heavyweight States hold their primaries and separate the wheat from the chaff. California and Texas are the traditional targets for the candidates; capturing them enables the ambitious to pull away from the no-hopers and establish a nationwide foothold as a realistic challenger. But the man or woman who is nominated as the Democrats’ great hope won’t be named until July. In the meantime, some Democrats are a little too preoccupied with a suicidal mission to defeat the incumbent President by foul rather than fair means.
The almost-fanatical obsession of certain leading Democrats with ousting Donald Trump from office has so far failed to be manifested in a way that has the best guarantee of achieving its aim. Finding the right man or woman to take on the President and defeat him at the polls would seem to be the logical step, something the Democrats have had four years to devote their energies to. Instead, all their energies have been exhausted on the superficial charade of an impeachment trial, one destined to end with the same outcome as the two previous attempts to eject a President by invoking an eighteenth century irrelevance. The Republican numbers, upon which success or failure will be determined, have been against the Democrats from the beginning, and the whole pointless exercise smacks of the kind of desperation that has characterised the Democrat response to Trump from the moment in 2016 that the awful realisation of his victory set in.
Accepting that Hillary Clinton lost the race to the White House has been as hard for Democrats as accepting losing that same year’s EU Referendum has been to Remoaners; both events overturned complacent expectations and have remained existential crises for the losers ever since. The hilarious howl of the anonymous crowd member during Trump’s inauguration ceremony summed up this dilemma better than any soul-searching treatise on the subject. Like children who have never been made aware of the word ‘no’, the collective inability of the opponents of both Brexit and Trump to overcome their disappointment and let it go reflects an emotional and intellectual immaturity that is politically counterproductive and doomed to distance them even further from the great unwashed voters who saw through their righteous arrogance. This childish refusal to acknowledge they lost and their willingness to surrender all reason to the conspiracy theory mindset is a sad indictment of their infantile philosophy.
This has been proven by the left’s reaction to the inexplicable triumph of Trump in 2016; barely had the shock result been officially announced before Hillary Clinton’s own shortcomings were rejected as a key factor and a fantastical blame game began; indeed, if her self-pitying memoirs are anything to go by, Clinton herself still can’t accept she has to carry the majority of the responsibility for the defeat – and that says a great deal about where we are now. Running with a thread that had initially surfaced during the campaign itself, the Democrats quickly put forward the theory that Russian interference played a pivotal role in the result. This unproven allegation was the first indication that the Democrats and their supporters were embarking on a nihilistic dirt-digging operation, employing the kind of below-the-belt tactics the President himself is routinely accused of.
As with Labour in the UK, I suspect it will take another pounding at the polls before the Democrats belatedly address precisely where it is they’re going wrong. Hillary Clinton’s clout in calling up a parade of shameless showbiz cheerleaders eager to earn a few Woke points in the culture wars may have thrilled the media, but as has been demonstrated in Blighty over the past three years, the media and its cultural allies represent a tiny minority of those eligible to cast their vote. No matter how loud their voices might be, their numbers are too small to swing it. Donald Trump may have represented a branch of that mysterious entity known as ‘the establishment’ by virtue of his fame and fortune, but it was easy for him to pitch himself as an outsider four years ago because he genuinely was outside those controlling the print and online consensus; it’s harder for a Democrat to do likewise and therefore appeal to the same disenfranchised American voter who also identifies as an outsider because the Democratic Party is part of the problem.
© The Editor