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It has been suggested that the anticipated Democratic takeover of the House will bolster Donald Trump's chances for a second term by providing a scapegoat for failures; much like the 2010 GOP takeover of the House did for Barack Obama's in 2012.

Nonetheless, we also know that the most important factor in an incumbent's chances for re-election is the caliber of the challenger the other side offers up.

Along these lines, although Gallup tells us that there are more self-identified conservatives than liberals in the American electorate, our liberal party has somehow managed to win the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential contests.

The most obvious explanation for this incongruity is that four of those six Democratic victories were won by the two most talented politicians of the post-Reagan era, Bill Clinton and Obama (and also because they had the good fortune to run against hapless opponents like George Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney).

In other words, campaigns and candidates matter.

Therein is also found the central problem facing the Democrats in 2020--that there are no Obamas or Clintons (or least not a Clinton with any political appeal) anywhere in sight. Indeed, if everyone who is currently making noises about running actually runs, the Democrats could present one of the largest collections of mediocrities in American electoral experience, perhaps even more dismal than the motley GOP crews of 2008 and 2012.

When the figures topping your polls are former Vice President Joe Biden (Obama's "impeachment insurance"), Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, New Jersey Sen. Cory "Spartacus" Booker, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and celebrity oddballs like Mark Cuban and porn lawyer Michael Avenatti are hovering about, it's no wonder that Hillary Clinton is thinking about giving it another go, to Democratic dismay and Republican delight.

As bad as all this is, it is likely to get worse on the Democratic front as the actual campaign draws closer, for two related reasons.

First is the inherently "centrifugal" nature of primary competition, in which the contenders must move further leftward or rightward in order to appeal to far left and right primary voters. If the anti-Trump "resistance" has already driven the Democratic Party into dangerous ideological territory, this tendency will be further magnified when Iowa and New Hampshire roll around.

A leftward bidding process already is underway among Democratic hopefuls making positions that were considered well out of the mainstream only a few years ago increasingly mandatory, including abortion on demand at taxpayer expense, a ban on so-called assault weapons, tax increases, Medicare for all and free college. Few Democrats will be able to resist demands for a $15 minimum ("living") wage and the abolition of ICE, while support for sanctuary cities and even reparations for slavery will become obligatory.

"Democratic socialism" (however vaguely defined) will be the party's official ideology, with Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street minions and #MeToo/#Survivor feminists firmly in charge. By July 2020 Colin Kaepernick might end up being the perfect choice to give the keynote address at the Democratic convention.

The problem of looming ideological extremism will be further magnified by the Democrats' full-fledged embrace of identity politics and intersectionality logic; more precisely, as race, ethnicity and gender become determinative of status, they will also determine the victors and losers of future intra-party competition.

The victims in the identity politics sweepstakes, by its very nature, become the victors in a political party based on such politics.

Biden, Sanders, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be consequently rejected because, as white males, they sit atop the intersectionality oppressor/oppressed hierarchy, while Warren will lose out because she is a white female instead of the Native American female she once pretended to be.

By process of intersectionality deduction, the race could well come down to California Sen. Kamala Harris (who, being female and black, has two identity politics cards to play) and former San Antonio mayor and Obama HUD secretary Julian Castro (representing the somewhat belated Hispanic entry into the victimology competition).

Ultimately, identity politics and the broader theory of intersectionality that flows from it constitutes an ideology every bit as comprehensive and suffocating as Marxism-Leninism once was, demanding complete conformity and submission to orthodoxy (in the form of a constantly expanding political correctness) for all adherents.

If anything, Marxists occasionally engaged in spirited debate about theory and strategy; identity politics permits none, with even the notion of debate itself rejected as a tool of patriarchal oppression.

Within this context, Democrats will ultimately face something akin to the "red versus expert" dilemma that communist states used to face and which led to their eventual collapse: Do you promote people based on ability/expertise or ideological reliability, given that the two are unlikely to go together?

In the case of the Democrats, do you henceforth select nominees on the basis of political talent and their ideas, or because they have the right gender or pigmentation?

Within such a choice lies a dismal political future filled by party hacks, brain-dead conformity and lost elections.

------------v------------

Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

Editorial on 11/05/2018

Print Headline: Trump's re-election, Part II

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Comments

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  • RBear
    November 5, 2018 at 6:31 a.m.

    ROTFL @ Gitz's latest foray into the 2020 Democratic field. I'll have to clip his column and send it to Castro since apparently Gitz is giving him the nod for 2020 based on "identity politics." Julian will get a chuckle out of it, especially the part where Gitz aligns him with a Marxism-Leninism. The fact that Gitz talks in Cold War political terms is what's even more absurd. It shows the dated views he has on most everything.
    ...
    Honestly Dr. Gitz, get out of Batesville more often. Your views are about as stale as they come.

  • mozarky2
    November 5, 2018 at 6:37 a.m.

    Dekocrat Party activist and Nation of Islam leader and prominent antisemite Louis Farrakhan chanted “Death to America” and claimed that “America has never been a democracy” on Sunday during a solidarity trip to Iran, ahead of the re-implementation of US sanctions on the country this week.
    “I understand how the enemies have plotted against the Iranian people and I would like to stay alongside you to stop their plots,” he said.
    Farrakhan has referred to Jews as the “synagogue of Satan.”
    In his remarks, he condemned the new American sanctions on Iran that will take effect on Monday. “Today, I warn the American government that sanctioning Iran is a big mistake,” he said.
    According to the Farsi language Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN), he also spoke to students at the University of Tehran law school and fulminated against Israel, praised women’s rights in Iran and the Islamic laws demanding they cover themselves. He claimed, “America has never been a democracy and has always leaned towards the wealthy and powerful class.”

    At the end of his talk, Farrakhan chanted the common Iranian slogan “Death to America,” and was joined by members of the audience.

    Farrakhan, perhaps the most notorious black supremacist in America, has a long history of antisemitic statements. Most recently, he referred to Jews as “termites.”

  • RBear
    November 5, 2018 at 7:04 a.m.

    Moz I see you are trolling the column slot again with completely unrelated blather as if it makes you sound “informed.” You’re starting to show how unhinged you are. Yesterday, you made a complete fool of yourself with your “party integrity” comment.

  • skeptic1
    November 5, 2018 at 7:23 a.m.

    Clinton and Obama have coastal elitists, thank God for the electoral college or we'd have Hillary...can you imagine the carnage of corruption from another Clinton presidency? Trump won because the middle of the country finally stood up and hopefully they will again tomorrow.

  • skeptic1
    November 5, 2018 at 7:27 a.m.

    Moz...Barack "Hussein" Obama walked arm-in-arm with Farrakhan on his Million Man March. Obama is a Muslim, if the Dems are so inclusive why have they denied that very clear fact? I fear one day we are going to learn why Obama did that horrible deal with Iran and where that pallet of cash was used.

  • RBear
    November 5, 2018 at 7:33 a.m.

    skeptic actually no I can't because it wouldn't happen. Instead, we end up with the continued corruption and convictions under Trump. A simple review shows it is one of the most corruption administrations around. Yet, you and other right wingers IGNORE that on a daily basis.
    ...
    Oh, and Obama is NOT a Muslim. But it's a neat stupid narrative from the tin-foil queen.

  • WhododueDiligence
    November 5, 2018 at 8:17 a.m.

    "...four of those six Democratic victories were won by the two most talented politicians of the post-Reagan era, Bill Clinton and Obama (and also because they had the good fortune to run against hapless opponents like George Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney)."
    *
    Those four are far superior to Donald Trump, so if they're hapless, Trump should be charged with negative hap. Trump's tweets are part yap, part rap, and no hap. If there's any truth to the assertion John McCain was hapless, that's Republicans' fault. Misled as usual by extreme right-wing radio rap, Republicans labeled him a RINO when McCain wanted to achieve genuine comprehensive immigration reform during Bush Jr's administration. And then somehow wild-eyed extremists talked McCain into putting Sarah Palin in the ticket. How hapless was she? She was so completely hapless she suddenly up and quit her job as governor and joined Fox noise with its constant 24/7 yap & rap with zero hap.

  • ARMNAR
    November 5, 2018 at 9:40 a.m.

    "Obama is a Muslim."

    You're really not very smart, libertas.

    Work on that, maybe?

  • mozarky2
    November 5, 2018 at 10:02 a.m.

    Unrelated, RB? Hardly. Just pointing out that the dims are the party closely related to hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism.
    I believe they'll pay dearly for that tomorrow.

  • RBear
    November 5, 2018 at 10:22 a.m.

    Moz FIVE Republican candidates for Congress are running in this mid-term election. All have either supported or been verifiably linked to white supremacist and anti-Semitic views. The fact you drag up someone who is NOT a part of the Democratic Party, but some idiot we kicked out a long time ago is hilarious. You are seriously deranged in your views.
    ...
    BTW I’m assuming you ONLY voted for candidates who had “party integrity” since you made such a big deal of it yesterday.

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