The mountain of Democratic political campaign mistakes

The mountain of Democratic political campaign mistakes
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The Democrats are fielding a huge group of candidates with no real campaign logic or strategy. Lurching from one extreme proposal to the next, each candidate is trying desperately to attract media attention and primary votes from their far-left “base,” but giving up a tremendous amount of middle ground to President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE in the 2020 general election.

The Green New Deal is like shooting fish in a barrel with its misrepresentations about “the science” of climate change, massive taxes, potential for abandoned cars and planes littering the country, ripped up homes and office buildings, and skyrocketing food and consumer goods prices — all of which would hit the poor and disadvantaged the hardest. Who, exactly, would vote for that?

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Medicare-for-All escapes me. Most American workers have been paying into a government trust fund for their entire careers to retire and get Medicare. Now comes Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJames Carville: Biden represents 'stability' not 'generational change' Ocasio-Cortez, progressives trash 'antisemitic' Politico illustration of Bernie Sanders 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding MORE (I-Vt.) who says that everyone should get Medicare, whether they’ve paid for it or not. Current workers and retirees who have played by the rules for decades would be forced to pay additional high taxes to cover the costs of these new Medicare recipients, many of whom played by no rules at all. Why would retirees vote for a huge increase in their federal taxes after having spent a lifetime paying to get Medicare?

College loan forgiveness? The political logic is tough here. Many parents planned and sacrificed and paid for their children’s education. Many people paid off their own college loans. Now the Democrats propose to forgive the loans of current college graduates and raise taxes — massively — on those who already paid for college for their kids and/or for themselves.

Then there’s the proposal for reparations. The massive federal and state social justice programs emerging since the 1960s — Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), food stamps (SNAP), Section 8 housing, the JOBS program, Affirmative Action, school desegregation — for the disadvantaged have cost middle-class American taxpayers trillions of dollars. That certainly sounds like a remarkably generous “reparations program” to the African-Americans among the recipients, to try to make up for past ills and unfairness and open up opportunities to make things right.

Now middle-class taxpayers and retirees, most of whom had no ancestral connections to slaves or civil rights abusers, are told that all that counts for nothing and a huge new bill is due. That sounds more like extortion than “social justice” — and who would vote for that? Nonetheless, 12 of the leading Democratic candidates signed a commitment to reparations.

It makes one wonder how candidates so weak that they can’t stand up to radical-left extortion are going to fare when pressured by serious, big-league political extortionists such as China and Russia who are equipped with nuclear weapons. Again, who would vote for massive new taxes for reparations after 50 years of trillion-dollar social justice programs? And, frankly, how many minority households who have worked hard and emerged from poverty actually want to be on the receiving end of an enormously patronizing reparations program?

The Democrats’ “open borders” policy also defies logic. The majority of Americans want safe, secured borders. But urban African-Americans, Hispanics and women — all of whom are seeing rising wages, real economic opportunity and record low employment under the Trump administration — would be most badly hurt by this influx of low-wage, undocumented labor. Why would they vote for the Democrats?

The “logic” to all of this must be threefold.

First, the Democrats assume that voters are not logical and will not understand their own self-interest. They are so used to offering “more free stuff” and crying “unfair” that they vastly underestimate the intelligence of voters.

Second, Democrats are trying to appeal to and expand the 44 percent of American voters who don’t pay federal income tax and don’t care about rising government costs. This strategy is twofold: add more non-taxpayers to the voting rolls (i.e.: felons, 16-year-olds and undocumented immigrants) and “soak the rich.” The first half of that strategy is transparent to most people and would make the country ungovernable, requiring expensive government suppression to maintain order. The second is the “Tooth Fairy-economics” of these ideas that cost trillions of dollars, exceed the economic capacity of the country, and would require eventually crushing middle-class families with taxes. Who on earth would vote for that?

The third leg of the strategy is Trump. With indict/impeach a dry hole, Democrats are hoping that the president’s off-putting style will chase away enough voters to win. But the success of his economic, jobs, trade, border protection and foreign policies creates a strong political platform, while his behavior has lowered expectations to a level inoculating him from further political damage.

Bottom line: The Democrats’ strategy is a loser so far.

Grady Means is a writer and former corporate strategy consultant. He served in the White House as a policy assistant to Nelson Rockefeller and as a staff economist for Secretary Elliott Richardson of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Follow him on Twitter @GradyMeans.