Liberty Expose: A Republican Perspective on 2020 Democrats
For those Republicans displeased with the direction the GOP is going under President Trump, are there any candidates among the Democrats they can align with without betraying their principles? For the most part, there are very few candidates on the Democratic side that would be perfect for recovering Republicans. Candidates like Hickenlooper, Castro, even Beto offer Never Trumpers a more stable alternative to the chaos president that currently holds the executive branch. But what about the more progressive candidates? Overall, it would require conservatives to really look past issues like late-term abortion single-payer healthcare and the Green New Deal to support any of these candidates. Because there are so many candidates in this race, I will focus on two from both the moderates and progressives who either share some policy ideas with conservatives or are less likely to engage in derisive politics.
In an election cycle dominated by theatrical personalities and policy views on both sides of the political spectrum, there are very few true center-left Democrats in the party’s primary field. Sadly, most of the moderates are not faring too well in the primary polls. Hickenlooper, Castro, and Delaney are polling at or below one percent. Only Beto O’Rourke is polling decently at 9.2 percent. However, considering that we still have not gotten to the debates and more candidates are joining the fray, these polls are not to be treated like gospel -- the only exception to this rule is Delaney who has virtually no name recognition or a wide base of supporters.
The ideal nominee for Never Trump republicans in the moderate wing of the Democratic primary would most likely be John Hickenlooper, the former Governor of Colorado. Overall, the Governor his fairly moderate and has some conservative leanings. Unlike Trump, Hickenlooper is pro-free trade and pro-NATO. He has also been a close friend to former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich who lasted the longest against Trump in the 2016 GOP primary. But again, the chances of Hickenlooper rising above the crowded primary field is slim unless the progressives take each other out.
The only strong contender that the moderate wing has unveiled is Beto O’Rourke who attempted to oust Ted Cruz in Texas’ Senate race in 2018’s midterm election. The former member of the House of Representatives, while considered to be a moderate, has openly supported some progressive policies, such as Medicare-for-all and the Green New Deal.
However, like Hickenlooper, Beto is also more supportive of free trade and a lax immigration system. Further strengthening O’Rourke’s 2020 prospects is the $9.4 million he has raised in such a short time. If the Texan continues to fundraise as successfully as he has, he may be able to last quite a while in the field. But money doesn't buy elections as Beto’s failed assault on Ted Cruz shows. By the end of last year’s midterms, O’Rourke had raised $80 million in total campaign funds, but even that was not enough to beat the most hated politician in America.
The fall of Clinton at the hands of Trump was a boon for the progressive wing of the Democrats. They view the defeat of a well-established, neoliberal candidate as another demonstration that the American people want a President who will tear down the existing infrastructure built by elitists in D.C. and Wall Street in favor of a more populist agenda. Candidates like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Joe Biden are all part of the progressive domination of the Democratic primary field. Overall, the majority of Republicans or conservatives would balk at the idea of voting for any of them; but, if it came down between Trump and one of these candidates, who would be the person that conservatives could trust to return steady leadership to the White House?
There are some Progressives on the Democratic side, that while I am not really enthusiastic about and I probably would not vote for over a third party candidate, they might make a better executive than Trump. First is the 2020 frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden. Overall, what makes Biden the most bearable candidate on the Progressive side are his traditional views on foreign policy. Unlike Trump, we all know where Biden stands on America’s role in the world. At the Munich Security Conference, he came out criticizing Trump for not being a true ally to our friends in NATO. The former VP would bring back a much-needed sense of direction that has been sorely missing in the current administration. But it remains to be seen if Biden’s #metoo scandal will throw him off balance. Polls still show Biden standing strong against the rest of the field at +30% so time will only tell if things change. Like with Sanders, voters may eventually want a fresh face to become the eventual nominee.
Because of this, my prediction (which will probably be wrong) is that either Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren become the nominee as they are consistently ranked in the #3 and #5 slots respectively in the polls so far. Harris is an effective communicator who could weather the Trump storm, while Warren may be able to redeem herself for the Native American heritage boondoggle with her exceptionally progressive policy proposals.
Then there is the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg. The Mayor is a rising star in the progressive field and has been an admirer of Senator Sanders for decades. His policies follow much of the typical progressive mantra that is being touted by Democrats. He is pro-trade and anti-NAFTA supports progressive policies on climate change and backs a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Compared to the rest of the field, Buttigieg is openly supportive of Israel, which might alleviate fears among conservatives if he is the President that the White House would abandon our most important ally in the Middle East. Furthermore, while he supports withdrawing from Afghanistan -- for which he was deployed to in 2013 as part of the Naval Reserves while serving as Mayor — Buttigieg has been critical of Trump’s call for retreat in Syria and his foreign policy action through Twitter. While he is far from ideal for Republicans much like myself who are dissatisfied with Trump’s vision for the GOP, I would not be against a Buttigieg Presidency.
Obviously, the majority of these candidates are not ideal for conservatives. The shift to the left happening in the Democratic primary field is alarming to watch as they have serious implications on the future and health of the United States. However, the only remedy for the grand delusion currently gripping the GOP may be to vote against a president in favor of a Democrat in the general election. We will have to wait and see who does become the standard bearer for the opposition. Even though Biden is currently the front-runner, I do not expect him or Sanders to remain at the top as Dems may want someone new. The Democrats must avoid the same mistakes Republicans committed in 2016 by having a huge field that gives strength to the more controversial candidates.