Democratic Party insiders are nervous about their electoral prospects in 2020 for good reason. The tenure of Democrats in control of the House of Representatives has been defined by infighting, extremism, and attacks on President Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have promised the American people meaningful legislation and problem solving, but have instead chosen to use their power in Congress to sow chaos and play political games. In doing so, they have empowered the radical liberal fringe of the party, and now they stand to pay the price.
Pelosi knows that she must find a way to restrain the ascendent radicals in her party. Otherwise, the accelerating slide toward left wing socialism will send swing voters sprinting back toward Trump ahead of the critical 2020 election. The rest of the Democratic leadership is equally aware of this fact. According to Axios, an internal poll is revealing that the progressive socialist agenda driven by identity politics is poisoning the reputation of the party among the important swing voters who decide close elections.
These swing voters see the far left has commandeered the Democratic Party, which they associate with its most unhinged members. The internal poll found that freshman Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar enjoy relatively high name recognition, but also suffer from low approval ratings, a doomsday scenario for Pelosi and the moderate Democrats who gave the party a House majority in the 2018 midterms. While 74 percent of respondents said they are familiar with Ocasio-Cortez, only 22 percent viewed her favorably. Omar fared worse, as 53 percent of respondents recognize who she is, but just 9 percent view her favorably.
In fact, their approval ratings have actually decreased as their name recognition has grown, suggesting that things will get even worse for Democrats the longer the “squad” of radical freshman representatives in Congress keeps providing headline fodder with their extremist rhetoric and proposals. Working Americans do not want socialism and identity politics, and they reject such efforts to remake the United States in the image of Venezuela. Ocasio-Cortez and her band of radicals are now the de facto leaders of the Democratic Party, and swing voters do not like it. An internal poll found that 69 percent of respondents view socialism unfavorably, while a solid majority of them view capitalism positively.
Pelosi was able to reclaim the gavel thanks to the improved performance of Democrats among the noncollege educated whites who had flocked to Trump in 2016, and she is well aware they still have the power to take it away from her in 2020. Despite the media narrative about the American demographic transition, noncollege educated whites remain the largest electoral bloc in the country by a significant margin, constituting about half of the voting public. In 2016, Trump scored the largest victory by a presidential candidate in this demographic since 1980, and Republicans subsequently gained control in Washington. In 2018, Democrats improved their performance with this group by allowing moderate candidates to run very competitively on moderate platforms in Republican leaning districts.
But with the rise of the radical left, the gains the Democrats made among noncollege educated whites in 2018 are being rapidly erased. Voters who supported moderate Democrats now see that those representatives are beholden to the extremist fringe of the party and are therefore utterly incapable of delivering their campaign promises. Against this backdrop, Trump stands to make massive gains in 2020. His impressive economic stewardship, bold approach to international trade, foreign policy restraint, and laserlike focus on advancing all the interests of the American people only make the apocalyptic rhetoric of the far left sound even more absurd.
Where Trump has earned the trust of the American people by fulfilling his promises, Pelosi and the Democrats have betrayed that trust by granting their most irresponsible members free rein to advance their destructive agenda and spout their hateful rhetoric. The Democrats who leaked the internal polling clearly hope that they can persuade their party to reverse course before the 2020 campaign season gets going in earnest, but the continuing stalemate between Pelosi and the rambunctious “squad” of radicals suggests that it may be too late to stuff that cat back in the bag.