Some good advice for Democrats to ignore in 2020

Some good advice for Democrats to ignore in 2020
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Memo to Democrats: The next time a professed “moderate” or “disaffected” Republican offers you advice on how to beat Trump in 2020, ignore them. 

Somehow, the “never Trumper” became deified in this political environment. Cable news networks are fascinated with those Republicans who are purported to be embarrassed or repulsed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE but are reticent to support a Democrat because they are too far to the left on issues like health care or tax reform or god forbid, reparations. 

We see this played out in former Republican members of Congress and high-profile mainstream Republicans who were pushed out of Trump’s Republican party and now flood cable news every day. 

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Only to be topped by focus groups of random middle America voters — usually from Dayton, Scranton or Orlando — who start off by expressing their discomfort with Donald Trump occupying the Oval Office but end up on Benghazi or socialism or something in between. Following their logic, Donald Trump offends them and is unfit for office in their view but not enough to team up with the “libs.” 

Let me reverse it for you. Kanye WestKanye Omari WestKanye to join Joel Osteen on tour at Yankee Stadium: report A$AP Rocky blocked from performing in Swedish prison where he was held Kanye West is a welcomed disruptive voice MORE becomes the standard bearer of the Democratic Party but many “Never Kanye” Democrats are hesitant to vote for the Republican alternative — say Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseFCC votes to bar use of its funds to purchase Huawei, ZTE equipment Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition MORE (R-Neb.) — because of his regulatory policy or because he wants to spend too much on the military. You see what I mean? Sounds ridiculous, right? 

At the first Democratic debates last week, we saw robust discussion and some clear contrasts about what direction the respective leading Democrats would push the party towards. Some right up the middle, some left of center, some mainstream left and some far left. This what primaries are for. To have messy discussions and inter-party disagreement hashed out and road tested to voters. 

There’s a real difference of opinion within the Democratic Party on how to fix health care. Some Democrats want to keep and strengthen ObamaCare, some want a public option, some want to eliminate private insurance all together. This primary over the next 10-12 months will allow a full vetting of those disagreements. No Democrat should feel self-conscious about how sharps contrasts on this issue will make us look to Republicans who might bless us with a vote next year. Many of the same Republicans, by the way, who almost came this close and very nearly voted for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles Hillary Clinton documentary to premiere at Sundance MORE until James ComeyJames Brien ComeyMisfired 'Hurricane': Comey's team abused Carter Page and the FBI Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today MORE said that thing about emails. 

Even more absurd is the premise that these right of center Republicans should be the expert on how to beat Donald Trump. The reason why Donald Trump exists as the leader of the Republican Party today is to because weak moderates cow-towed to the extreme base of their party for the last two decades. Republicans are responsible for Trumpism, not progressives. Why would any Democrat listen to a vanquished Republican who could not keep the center of their own party intact about how to manage our party? 

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Noted NY Times conservative columnists Bret Stephens used one of his latest pieces to rake Democrats over the coals for having the audacity to talk and think like progressives at the debates last week. His column read in part:

“Throughout the debates, I kept wondering if any of the leading candidates would speak to Americans beyond the Democratic base.”

No Bret, a Democratic primary is for Democrats. Also, have you ever asked that question of Donald Trump? Or Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial On The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday McConnell: Senate impeachment trial will begin in January MORE, for that matter? 

In the time since his column, Donald Trump joked with Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPavlich: Impeachment does Russia's bidding Russian diplomat says election meddling wasn't discussed at White House, contradicting Trump Trump warned Russia's foreign minister against election interference, White House says MORE about getting rid of journalists, bromanced it up with Mohammed bin Salman and, on a whim, took an unplanned meeting with Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnBolton rips Trump administration's move to block UN meeting on North Korea South Korea: North tested rocket engine The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today MORE in the Demilitarized Zone during executive time. But some Democrats want to eliminate college debt and take action to stop putting children in cages at the border; so Republicans like Stephens feel empowered to look the other way on Trump’s daily degradation of the presidency. 

By the way, the entire premise here is off base. Democrats have a larger base of voters nationally than Republicans. Donald Trump was the third choice for President of most Americans coming up behind those who chose not to vote and those who voted for Hillary Clinton. And Democrats are working with somewhat of a surplus of popular support — not just from 2016 but also the midterms in 2018. 

Democrats absolutely must be smart and strategic in organizing and prioritizing in the lead up to Election Day and make strategic investments in key battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where the president is already deeply unpopular. Democrats have plenty to get in order, but low on our list should be coddling Republicans who have no home in their own party. 

I know I speak for a lot of Democrats when I say that we would love to have as many of the disaffected, exiled Republicans as possible support a Democrat in 2020. But that is not the purpose of a primary nor should it be the focus of Democrats through this process. Those Republicans are welcome to come to dinner, but they cannot dictate what’s on the menu — at least not in my house. 

Joel Payne is a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidNevada journalist: Harry Reid will play 'significant role' in Democratic primary The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - A crucial week on impeachment The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached MORE (D-Nev.) and a former senior aide to the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign. He regularly appears on television and radio as a political commentator.