Thursday, July 25, 2019

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Political Self-Destruction in 2019

Neither major political party has a monopoly on self-destructive
behavior at this stage of the 2020 national election cycle. The key
question is: Will this political masochism persist into next year when
the votes will be counted?

The Democrats cannot let go of their shock and disappointment in
2016 when Donald Trump upset the political establishments of both
parties. Their self-destruction is most evident in the U.S. house of
representatives which Democrats won back in 2018. The latest
example of this was the appearance of the former special prosecutor
before U.S. house committees. This move was designed to revive voter
interest in the special prosecutor’s report which found no wrongdoing
by President Trump, but was nonetheless considered damaging to the
president by many Democrats. The special prosecutor’s testimony
and manner, according to the public statements of many savvy (and
candid) Democratic commentators, backfired and was something of
a disaster. Ongoing efforts to impeach the president, also part of this
self-defeating behavior, suffered a setback. (Democrats should be
grateful to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who has resisted most of her
colleagues' ineffective behavior, and tried to make her party more
competitive not only to keep control of the U.S house next year, but
also in the effort to defeat President Trump’s re-election.)

In upcoming U.S. senate campaigns, Republicans in some states
seem determined to defeat themselves in a number of races they
would otherwise win or be competitive. They have done this often
in previous cycles when inappropriate nominees were placed on the
ballot  --- most recently in 2018 in Alabama where a certain GOP seat
was won by a Democrat. In the 2020 cycle, Republicans risk losing
safe seats in Kansas and again in Alabama, and a reasonable chance
for a pick-up from the Democrats in Minnesota if the nomination
contest is prolonged into a bitter primary. With only narrow control
of the U.S. senate at stake, Republicans can ill-afford to throw away
victories. Oversize political egos seem to be a chronic problem for
the GOP in some states.

The Democratic presidential nomination contest is still unresolved,
but it has been suggested if the party nominee goes too far to the left
next year, it will diminish Democratic prospects in the November

Much can change between now and 17 months from now, but there
are worrisome patterns in both political parties that could handicap
their own goals and prospects.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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