In a re-print of his Wall Street Journal column at MSN, William Galston admonishes Democrats not to “hit the panic button”:
Rarely has a political party gone from confidence to gloom as quickly as Democrats did last week. In rapid-fire blows, impeachment foundered in the Senate, President Trump delivered a politically effective State of the Union address, and the Iowa caucuses imploded in a flurry of intraparty recriminations.
To those of us who have been around for a while, the Democrats’ abrupt descent into despair seems premature.
His next passage made me chuckle:
Compared with the Democratic divisions of 1968, today’s seem minor.
An interesting example to choose. Hubert Humphrey lost that election to Richard Nixon. But, more importantly, it precedes the creation of the entire complex system of primaries and superdelegates the Democrats have put into place. That didn’t happen until after the disastrous 1972 election. There is simply no comparison to be made between 1968 and 2020. That past isn’t just another country—it’s a different planet.
This year, opposition to Mr. Trump among Democrats is pervasive and intense, making it likely that the party will close ranks behind its nominee.
Okay, you picked 1968. Let’s run with it. Opposition among Democrats to Richard Nixon was “pervasive and intense”, too. Honestly, that’s the only comparison I can make to the opposition to Trump. But Democrats emphatically did not “close ranks” behind Hubert Humphrey. Why? Let me suggest that, much as today, there was a cohort of Democrats who simply could not support the party’s chosen candidate. Shades of “Bernie Bros”.
The voters who will decide the 2020 election yearn for less conflict, for a brand of politics that focuses on solving problems rather than scoring points. If the Democrats offer the country such a choice, they may well prevail over an incumbent president who rarely reaches out to the 54% of voters who didn’t support him in 2016.
This seems to be my day for Jewish wisecracks. Here’s another one: As di bubbe volt gehat beytsim volt zi gevain mayn zaidah. If my grandmother had balls, she’d be my grandfather. At this moment Democrats seem more intent on emulating Trump than repudiating his truculent approach to politics.