Why Democrats are not actually serious about uniting the nation
For a party that regularly claims it wants to remove President Trump from office in order to unite the country, there was an awful lot of pressure for absolute partisan loyalty across the Democratic debate stage last week.
Kamala Harris, who runs her campaign promising to be a “president for all the people,” claimed that one of her rivals, Tulsi Gabbard, is not qualified to be the Democratic nominee because she has appeared on Fox News and has occasionally criticized members of her own party. It is difficult to be the “president for all the people” when you ignore half the voters in the country while insisting on absolute fealty to the party, but Harris did not see the irony here. She closed her attack by saying that Democrats need to choose someone who can “bring the party and the nation together.”
Vanity candidate Andrew Yang has also tried to position himself “not left, not right, but forward.” He has even courted the wrath of the resistance by saying he has no problem with Trump supporters. But in the debate, he quipped that if he won, the first thing he would tell Russian President Vladimir Putin would be, “Sorry I beat your guy.” Referring to Trump like that is an insult to the 63 million Americans who sent him to the White House in an Electoral College victory. It is a stretch to claim that you are not ideological when you spout partisan narratives pushed by resentful campaign operatives to deflect the blame for their own crushing defeat.
Other candidates simply could not resist disparaging major portions of the electorate while trying to tout their ability to unify the country. Pete Buttigieg, who has tried to position himself as a moderate perhaps more aggressively than other candidates, melodramatically claimed that he sometimes feels “like a stranger” in his own country because he is gay. That might be the way he views it, but this is at odds with most of us.
The rhetoric underscores a darker reality. The Democratic socialist agenda is, with few exceptions, unpopular outside activist circles. Public support for “Medicare for All,” for instance, plummets once people learn that they might be forced to give up their current health plans. The wealth taxes touted by Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, are under fire from all directions, with economists pointing out that wealth taxes are notoriously inefficient and difficult to administer, producing far less revenue than is projected.
Then there are the truly outlandish proposals that do not even require a rebuttal because their flaws are so readily apparent, such as public health care for illegal aliens or raising taxes on the middle class. After three years of extreme opposition to Trump, liberal activists are leading the way in this primary process. Passing their partisan purity test is putting candidates in an awkward position, forcing them to argue in effect that the only way to unify the country is through partisan politics and Democratic socialism.
It is still unclear who will come out on top of this food fight, but whoever does will have to answer for hours of footage from a primary process that directly contradicts the “unite the country” applause lines. The Democrats seem to think they can unite the country by slandering their opponents into submission. They need to realize that getting rid of Trump will not make the 63 million Americans who voted for him disappear next year.
Madison Gesiotto is an attorney who serves with the advisory board of the Donald Trump campaign. You can follow her on Twitter @MadisonGesiotto.
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