Exit primary race quickly

Published 11:27 am Friday, June 28, 2019

It is no secret that Democrats have a strong dislike for President Donald Trump and want nothing more than to defeat his re-election bid in 2020. The Democrats are so confident that they can win the White House that 24 of them believe themselves better qualified than Mr. Trump to serve as president.

Polling provides the two dozen Democratic candidates some confidence in the always daunting task of defeating an incumbent president. Trump’s approval ratings have never reached 50 percent of likely voters and currently hover in the low 40s. Only one president in recent history polled lower than Trump does at this point in his presidency, and that was President Carter, who did not win re-election. Other favorable polling results are that independent voters, those voters who ultimately swing elections, offer Trump only 33 percent support.

Worse news still for the president, in a June Hill-HarrisX survey a whopping 62 percent of voting age women say they will not vote for Trump in 2020.

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But Trump has other factors in his favor that do not show up in polling but will influence the 2020 election.

First, Trump has already raised boatloads of campaign cash, unlike his successful 2016 bid. Second, Trump has advertised to foreign governments that he will welcome their help in 2020, even though such help, as he received in 2016 from Russia, remains illegal.

Third, Trump has been testing the waters of using massive violations of the Hatch Act, through Kellyanne Conway’s violations, more than any executive employee in 30 years. So, expect executive branch employees, legally barred from partisan campaigning from now to Election Day 2020, to be campaigning as if laws do not matter.

All of this means defeating President Trump seems certainly possible but will be complicated by the president’s disdain for law and policy.

It is then incumbent upon Democrats to define a candidate sooner rather than later and provide that candidate seamless support in the upcoming election regardless of the policy nuances between the progressives and the liberals within the Democratic Party.

The 24 have to reduce their numbers as soon as it is apparent that their individual messages are not resonating with voters, their polling numbers are frozen in the lower single digits, their campaign treasuries are empty, and they no longer qualify to participate in upcoming debates.

And that alone will not be enough for 23 of these potential presidents do to serve their nation. They must both drop out as soon as the evidence supports it, they must run for office in 2020 as Democrats, either increasing the House Democratic majority or, crucially, winning a Senate majority in 2020.

If Mitch McConnell remains Senate majority leader then no Democratic president will be able to move policies forward for the benefit of the American people. McConnell has demonstrated that his agenda is to pack the federal courts with extremely conservative judges for the coming three decades. McConnell has further demonstrated that the Senate is the deathbed for all the legislation passed by the Democratic House.

That are many good Democratic men and women currently campaigning for the highest office in the land. Only one of them may win that position. The others must turn their considerable talents and skills to winning seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives. This is as crucial to advancing progressive ideas as winning the presidency.

Democrats, exit the presidential race quickly, then get elected to Congress.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living in the Tri-State. He can be reached at letters@irontontribune.com.