Why Democrats cannot bank on moderate Republicans this year

Why Democrats cannot bank on moderate Republicans this year
© Greg Nash

Democrats made a concerted effort to reach out to Republicans with the national convention last week. Conservatives and independents like John Kasich, Colin Powell, and Michael Bloomberg had popular speaking roles, but progressives like Julian Castro, Ayanna Presley, or Alexandria Ocasio Cortez received little to no speaking roles. I understand election politics fuels the desire of Joe BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE and his campaign to bring Republicans into the fold, but it should not come at the cost of progressives. In the end, if Democrats want to win back the White House, they will need to turn out progressives more than moderate Republicans in the election.

It is one thing to welcome endorsements from Republicans, however, it is another to do so at the cost of alienating key progressives. Hillary Clinton made this mistake four years ago and it contributed to her defeat. Instead of spending extra time courting African American and Hispanic voters, her campaign chased those elusive swing voters. There were certainly several Republicans with morals and who went for her because they believed that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE represented everything wrong with our society.

The problem is that such Republicans are few and far between. Are there more of them in 2020? Perhaps. But am I willing to bet the country on it? As my Aunt Boots would say, “most assuredly hell no.” There are far more progressives who stayed home four years ago than Republicans who are willing to switch party alignment in 2020. Do not just take my word for it. A poll conducted by Survey Monkey after the 2016 election validates the theory that voters who stayed home likely cost Clinton the win.


She lost by 77,000 votes. It is difficult to dismiss the effect of those voters who stayed home in states like Michigan or Wisconsin. Convincing 77,000 Democrats who are registered and already support the policy platform for the party is a lot easier than appealing to people who view tax cuts for the wealthy as more important than funding public schools. Democrats are a big tent party, while we have proven that time and time again.

There are people on both sides of the abortion debate in our party. There are Democrats like Ocasio Cortez and Democrats like Joe Manchin. In the era of Trump and partisan politics, Democrats can be proud of their great ability to hold the tent together. It does not mean that we have to forsake the base of our party in the hopes of attracting people who do not share our view of Mike Pence as a threat to the ideals of this country.

Most Republicans who support Biden are decent people who understand that he is a decent man. They definitely do not need someone like Kasich to tell them that. So if Democrats want to avoid the pitfalls with four years ago, it will serve them well to energize and motivate the base. Selecting a black woman to serve as vice president was a great first step.

But Trump and his campaign will inundate progressives with false stories to deter them from voting. It is not a novel strategy. If Democrats want to win back the White House, they must turn out progressives. For the sake of the country and future of the republic, I hope Biden and his campaign takes this advice. We cannot afford a repeat of four years ago.

Michael Starr Hopkins is the founder of Northern Starr Strategies and the host of “The Starr Report” podcast. Follow his updates @TheOnlyHonest.