The left’s terrible week
The real story of this week is not the spectacular failure of a campaign app, or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ripping up the State of the Union. It’s not even about the end of impeachment. Instead, it’s a contrast between the left belittling and ignoring average Americans and the right welcoming all to a lasting coalition of voters never before seen in American politics.
The story starts with Iowa. Pundits and politicians alike have seized upon the spectacular failure of the Iowa caucuses on Monday. Mass chaos reigned among the Democratic side as a new app failed, confusion spread, and caucuses were decided by coin flip. But amidst all the chaos, one key fact went largely unnoticed: abysmal turnout.
Pollsters were predicting turnout akin to the 2008 caucus, which featured 240,000 caucusers energized to vote for Barack Obama. But instead, it was more akin to the 2016 election, which only featured historically unlikable candidate Hillary Clinton and independent socialist Bernie Sanders. Only 170,000 people turned out for the caucuses in 2016, even though Iowa’s population has risen steadily since 2008. That implies low Democratic turnout again in November. That’s bad news for the left.
While Democrats scrambled to fix the mess in Iowa, Washington was a different scene. In his third State of the Union address, President Trump listed the many ways in which America is thriving and working for the American people. A roaring economy, a more secure border, a more just penal system, a safer world — the list went on for over an hour. The speech was notable for its bipartisanship. For a president known for his bombast, it was remarkably “big-tent.” Who, other than partisan politicians, wouldn’t clap for record-low minority unemployment, strong wage growth, a soldier coming home from war and a baby born at 21 weeks who is thriving today?
Instead of giving a rally speech, the president reached out to all Americans. He drove home how conservative policies are winning for all Americans, not just Trump voters. And that’s what America noticed most.
Of course, not everyone liked the tone of the speech. Several members shouted it down or boycotted altogether. And of course, Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of a speech that focused on our nation’s unity and strength.
If Trump goes on to win in November, Tuesday’s State of the Union will be seen as a clear inflection point, building on three years of policy success. As the Democratic Party solidifies itself as a far-left establishment, moderate Democrats are confused and no longer have a home. Woke Twitter and the progressive activist base loved Pelosi’s stunt and love their socialist frontrunner. They all support abolishing private health care, giving free health care to illegal immigrants and infanticide. Worse, they are committed to holding low-income children hostage in failing schools for their radical agenda. The list goes on, and it’s forcing traditional Democrats to choose a side.
Voters around the country certainly see what’s happening: according to Gallup, the president’s job approval rating just hit 49 percent — his all-time high. The poll also shows the GOP has its highest approval rating since 2005 at 51 percent, six points higher than the Democratic Party.
Heritage Action’s own polling in Iowa shows why. Last year we ran several policy polls, including both national and Iowa-specific polls. Most Iowans felt they could no longer support the national Democratic Party because of their radical ideas, including some current Democrats. Nearly two-thirds of Iowans agreed that socialism is a bad economic system, and 61 percent were satisfied with their wages. Crucially, 63 percent of Iowans felt that the migration problem at the border was a national emergency.
With these numbers in mind, it’s not hard to see why this week was bad for the left. They’ve been pushing extremist policies, ignoring immigration and the economy, and pushing impeachment. On the other hand, the president focused on telling voters about the American comeback, highlighting the strength of the economy and immigration — that’s exactly what voters wanted.
The lesson from this week should be clear to Democrats, if they’re not already too far to the left to listen. Their current path won’t lead them to success. Embracing socialism, government-run health care, impeachment and other extreme policies won’t lead to an electoral landslide in November. Instead, voters will gravitate to the message of unity and success delivered at the State of the Union. Maybe Speaker Pelosi should have listened a little harder.
Tim Chapman is Executive Director of Heritage Action for America.