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The progressive blue wave is crashing and burning in 2018

The progressive blue wave is crashing and burning in 2018
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The June 5 primaries underscored just how disastrous an impact the far-left progressive faction of the Democrats could have in undermining their chances of taking back control of the House in November. Take what happened in California, the state with arguably the greatest implications for the Democratic Party’s prospects this fall. California has widely been seen as a litmus test for Democrats and their prospects at picking up the 23 seats needed to take back the House in midterms.

Yet, the primary season was marked by overcrowded Democratic fields and divisive Democratic infighting between progressive candidates seemingly embracing socialism, and candidates that were markedly moderate and inclusive. These self-styled progressive candidates flooded competitive “jungle primary” races up and down the Golden State, ultimately cannibalizing the Democratic vote. The end result was a strong night for Republicans at both the gubernatorial and congressional level.

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In the race for governor, Republicans avoided the doomsday scenario of having two Democrats secure the most votes, which would have left them without a Republican at the top of the ticket this November, while the Democrats failed at shutting Republican candidates out of the top two slots in a single House district, including the seven hotly contested Republican districts carried by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWatchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US Republicans cancel airtime in swing Vegas district The Democratic Donald Trump is coming MORE in 2016.

In the 45th district, which has one of the most crowded fields of Democratic challengers in the state, Republican incumbent Mimi Walters easily came out on top with a solid 53 percent of the vote. Walters is all but certain to defeat the Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOn The Money: Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi summit | Consumer bureau to probe controversial blog posts on race | Harris proposes new middle-class tax credit Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump says GOP will support pre-existing condition protections | McConnell defends ObamaCare lawsuit | Dems raise new questions for HHS on child separations Booker holds 'Get Out the Vote' event in South Carolina as presidential speculation builds MORE-baked Democratic second place finisher, Katie Porter, whose policy agenda focused on single payer health care is out of step with her traditionally right-leaning district.

In the 39th district, 48th district and 49th district, Republicans performed similarly well. Former state assemblywoman Young Kim placed first in the 39th district, in which the combined Republican and Independent candidates accounted for more than 55 percent of the vote. In the 48th district, where one of the most ugly and divisive Democratic primaries took place, Republican incumbent Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherMidterms in 2018 become most expensive in history Dems target small cluster of states in battle for House GOP super PAC pushes back on report it skipped ad buys for California's Rohrabacher, Walters MORE advanced to the general with 30 percent of the vote. In this district, Republican, Independent and Libertarian candidates secured 54 percent of the vote.

In New Jersey, another state with notable national implications, Democratic candidates who ran on center-left platforms experienced marked success. In the 11th district, which has long been a Republican stronghold, Democrat Mikie Sherrill secured the nomination to advance to the general elections in November. Sherill, a former federal prosecutor and Navy pilot, ran on a moderately left-leaning and inclusive platform that is sure to bring her success as the campaign progresses.

Specifically, her measured response about her desire to impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE — “We’ve certainly seen evidence that might lead to something, but we’ve got to let [special counsel Robert] Mueller complete his investigation” — should be noted by every Democrat across America who is tempted to go down the path of anti-Trump “resistance.”

In the 4th district of New Jersey, self-described centrist Democrat Josh Welle, who demonstrated how in touch he is with the voters he is seeking to represent when he noted in a primary debate that this is “not a bold progressive district,” finished first in the primary and will face off against longtime Republican Congressman Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithElection Countdown: Midterm fight heats up over Kavanaugh | McConnell sees energized base | Dems look to women to retake House | How suburban voters could decide control of Congress | Taylor Swift backs Tennessee Dems | Poll shows Cruz up 5 in Texas Dem 2020 primary season is unofficially underway Trump's move on unethical fetal tissue experimentation isn't enough MORE.

Meanwhile, in the 7th district, among a slate of progressive Democrats, the centrist campaign of Tom Malinowski emerged victorious. Malinowski, whose platform seeks to appeal to fiscally conservative voters, won a whopping 67 percent of the vote to advance to the November election. To be sure, for Democrats, there is no way of denying that the groundswell of progressive candidates have energized the Democratic base. But they have also left the party profoundly divided heading into November.

If Tuesday has taught us anything, it is that progressive dreams cannot ultimately win the day. With Republican prospects looking more promising than they have for months, the Democrats must back candidates with the broadest possible constituencies to compete against their Republican opponents. With this strategy, the Democrats will not only have a fighting chance at reclaiming the House in 2018, but can coalesce around an inclusive platform to widen their clout in 2020 and beyond.

Douglas E. Schoen (@DouglasESchoen) served as a pollster for President Clinton. A longtime political consultant, he is also a Fox News contributor and the author of 11 books, including “Putin’s Master Plan: To Destroy Europe, Divide NATO, and Restore Russian Power and Global Influence.”