January 1, 2014
Nominating Our Democrat
By Bruce Walker
The two major political parties' presidential nomination campaigns will begin before we know it. The Republican nomination seems wide open, but Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton seems headed for a bloodless coronation. It need not be so, and it should not be so.
The left is a small fraction of the American electorate. Gallup polls, for example, routinely show that except for one or two states, conservatives outnumber liberals in every state in the land, while at the same time party identification with "Republican" and "Democrat" is just about even.
Yet not only does the leftist minority within the Democrat Party utterly dominate that party, but, as Republicans rage about every four years, the left intrudes its unwelcome presence into the Republican Party presidential nomination as well, which is why the last strong and unapologetic conservative to win the Republican nomination was thirty years ago -- when President Reagan was re-nominated by his party in 1984.
When JFK was president, he summed up the Soviet attitude towards the Cold War thus: "What's mine is mine, and what's yours is negotiable." We began to win the Cold War when Reagan completely switched the paradigm by articulating our own Cold War strategy: "How about this? We win. You lose." So why not try to defeat the left within its own political party -- or if not defeat the left, at least force it to be on the defensive? In other words, why not promote a conservative Democrat for the Democrat nomination in 2016?
Consider all the sludge that will be clinging to the radical leftism within the Democrat Party two years from now. The policy disaster which is ObamaCare will be even more unpopular, and Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton, whose HillaryCare was a close cousin, will find it hard to unglue herself from that mess. The foreign policy over which Hillary presided for much of Obama's presidency will also look appalling to many Democrats (the pushback from even leftist Democrats in Congress today is evidence of that). Washington itself, viewed with high levels of distrust by Americans generally, will mean that insiders like Mrs. Clinton will be exposed to attack from an opponent outside Washington.
The anti-job policies of the left in areas like energy production and transportation mean that industrial trade unions have very little reason to support the left within the Democratic Party. The constant snipping about the need for more draconian gun control laws also separates the Democrat left from many Democrat voters, who are "bitterly clinging to their guns and religion."
Now consider this: twenty states have "open" primaries, in which voters from either political party can cast a ballot in the Democrat presidential primary. The vast majority of these states are much more conservative than the rest of America, and conservative Republican crossover voters could give a conservative Democrat an outright majority of the vote in these primaries. Beyond that, every primary and every caucus state must allow those voters who even nominally register as a Democrat to participate in the delegate selection process.
Because conservatives dramatically outnumber leftists in America, conservative America, acting with a purpose, can capture the Democrat nomination, or at the very least compel the left into a costly, public, and vicious fight for the Democrat nomination, in which the victor is associated with political extremism.
When this has happened in modern American political history, as in the Goldwater nomination in 1964 and the McGovern nomination in 1972, the party nomination has proven a very hollow victory indeed. The nominee has lost in a catastrophic landslide, and the party so chastened by voters has scrambled back to the "center." (Goldwater, of course, was right, and McGovern was wrong, but here we are simply considering the impact on national politics.)
Is there a downside to at least putting the left on the defensive within its host party? Conservatives who voted in the Democrat primary or attended Democrat caucuses would vote Republican in the general election. These conservatives would simply be doing what the left has been doing with the Republican Party for decades with significant effect: hobbling the political party most likely to oppose its policies. Letting leftists rule the Democratic Party the way that the Politburo ran the Central Committee of the Communist Party needlessly abandons a political battlefield in which conservatives could influence American politics for the better.
The left has long and loudly shouted for "their Republican" to win our nomination. Isn't it time for conservatives to push hard for "our Democrat"? If we do not try this battle, then we cannot win it.