The dozen or so already-announced Democratic candidates seem to be following Nixon’s rule but with more reckless abandon than Nixon ever did. Maybe they figure that whoever gets the Democratic nomination will inevitably beat President Trump. After all, no one they ever talk to would vote for him.
But a skewed sample can produce misleading results. If Trump’s job approval hasn’t risen above 44 percent level since March 2017, it has not fallen below 40 percent either this year or last. That’s about where opinion was when he got elected. And remember that his national rating is depressed by 2-to-1 disapproval in California, which casts 10 percent of the nation’s votes. He’ll never win its 55 electoral votes, but in 2016, he carried the other 49 states and D.C. by 1.4 million votes.
The idea is to ban net carbon emissions in just 10 years. This evidently means no gasoline-powered cars, no beef from methane-producing cattle, and no passenger airplanes. AOC wants a national passenger rail network “so that air travel becomes unnecessary.” Also, guaranteed jobs, free college, and government-provided healthcare — a solution to all problems, it seems, to be financed by printing money.
Then, there is the issue of reparations for descendants of slaves, urged without much visible effect by longtime Rep. John Conyers and author Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose widely praised bestseller argued that America today is just as racist as ever and always will be. Polls show this position to be unsurprisingly unpopular. But Harris, Warren, and fellow candidate Rep. Julian Castro have now all signed on for “some form” of reparations.
Support for legal abortion has been a Democratic staple for years, but Democrats have recently moved left to pass laws allowing it up to nine months. They did so successfully in New York and unsuccessfully in Virginia, after Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam suggested it would apply even after birth.
That’s an unpopular position, to say the least. Polls for years have shown majority support for legalizing abortion in the first trimester and prohibiting it in the third. But all six Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate voted against the bill introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., requiring medical care for babies actually born alive after failed abortions.
Did this extreme position affect public opinion? A February Marist poll showed equal numbers, 47 percent, calling themselves pro-life and pro-choice, a sharp change from January’s 55 to 38 percent pro-choice advantage. Maybe this poll is an outlier, but maybe the sudden placement of the spotlight on ninth-month abortions has actually changed opinion.
An overwhelmingly pro-choice press has long covered for Democrats, refusing to explain that the “health of the mother” exception to abortion bans means (because “health” includes mental health) abortion on demand. Predictably, CNN and MSNBC ignored the Sasse bill vote and media like Politico provided spectacularly biased accounts.
But liberal media doesn’t have a monopoly on megaphones any more, and Trump has shown himself capable of using invective, ridicule, and also serious argument to attack extreme positions, as he did Hillary Clinton’s on abortion. He has no compunction about raging impolitely against what liberals insist is politically correct.
Democratic presidential candidates, perhaps isolated in liberal cocoons, don’t seem to understand their vulnerability on issues like reparations, ninth-month abortions, and the Green New Deal. They assume their media friends can rescue them. But what if they can't?