In the past six months, Democrats have accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of gang rape, gone apoplectic over an awkwardly smiling 17-year-old boy, flirted with infanticide, embraced late-term abortion, and fallen all over themselves to endorse an absurd so-called ‘Green New Deal’ that calls for eliminating air travel, remodeling of every building in the United States, and, at long last, confronting the scourge of ‘farting cows.’
Where, in this great, big, moralizing, self-righteous, progressive mess that has become the Democratic party are the non-radical voters? Where are the moderates? The ‘blue dogs?’
Are there even any left? The answer seems to be no and obvious the conclusion is that the Democrats have gone off the rails.
Yet, there is one curious statistic standing athwart that conclusion, and it’s held steady just long enough to be taken seriously: Joe Biden’s significant lead in the 2020 Democratic primary polls.
In the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Biden has topped every single poll taken at this early stage in the race, and often by a margin of more than 10 points. He currently leads his nearest competitor by 20.5 percent, and while Biden’s relatively high numbers have been casually dismissed by the pundit class as a house built on the sands of name recognition, he’s managed to maintain his substantial early lead while basically doing nothing – despite Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker all getting significant turns in the limelight.
Biden is by no means a moderate moderate – in 2012, he told black voters that Republicans would put them ‘back in chains’ – but compared to his left-wing primary opponents-in-waiting, he looks more and more like one. While Kamala Harris casually calls for the elimination of private health insurance and Kirsten Gillibrand runs an ‘unabashedly feminist’ campaign, Biden is talking about his fondness for Republicans; if there are any non-radical voters left in the Democratic party – voters who see the so-called ‘Green New Deal’ for the fundamentally unserious pie-in-the-sky socialist wishlist that it is, or who are capable of admitting to themselves that ‘Medicare for all’ would be an economic and healthcare disaster – they’re likely in Biden’s camp, and they’re being totally ignored by and unrepresented in the mainstream press.
Of course, it could very well be the case that Biden’s lead in the primary polls is built on name recognition alone; that, once he hits the campaign trail and his would-be supporters realize that he’d be a terrible representative of the blind liberal fury that’s come to define the American left, he’ll fall apart faster than, well, the other two times he ran for president. Only time will tell – Biden’s primary victory will either be boring or his demise will be spectacular; he is either a Democratic version of Mitt Romney in 2012, locking in a bankable plurality of moderate establishment support and holding on for dear life, or he’s Jeb Bush in 2016 – a useful representation of the establishment, ripe for demolition. We just won’t know until the voters are counted.
But for now, the mainstream media’s fawning fixation on the flashiest, most radical Democrats on the national stage is either obscuring what Democratic voters actually want 2020 candidate or working around the clock to define it. If there are any non-radical voters left in the the Democratic party, it’s increasingly clear that the 2020 primary will be their last, best opportunity to stuff the raging progressive genie unleashed by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss back into the bottle.
Dylan Gallimore is the Creative Director at Republican consulting firm Jamestown Associates.