It’s going to be here before we know it. The gathering storm of the 2018 midterm season is forming. After that, 2020 becomes the next topic of conversation. President Trump may be at a low point, but we’ve learned to never underestimate him, especially when it seems he’s at the end of the rope. Second, his low approval ratings could be exacerbated by disaffected Republicans upset that Obamacare repeal has not been successful 200 days into his presidency. Outside of the D.C. beltway, the president remains much more popular. The mere fact that he’s president is a result good enough for a massive bloc of voters who simply wanted to remind everyone else that they existed. For Democrats, there may be a lot of political ammunition, but will it be effective? Hillary Clinton thought an Access Hollywood video could deliver a deathblow to Trump. Not the case. The truth is the Left is in the wilderness. With no good candidates, it’ll be hard for them to make that argument.
Again, CNN is not a home of Trump support, but Kate Bolduan and Jeff Zeleny have been making decent points about how the Democratic Party is just a disaster right now. They have no leader, they can’t raise money, and their new, economy-centric “Better Deal” has received a lukewarm reception at best.
On Monday, Bolduan made the Democrats’ deficiencies explicltly clear to Jon Selib, the former chief of staff to then-Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), where she said, the party has “lost all the special elections you guys all thought you had a chance in. There is no real clear leader of the party as we’re looking—everyone starts looking towards 2020. And there’s no real clear message despite the attempt at the reboot.” All Selib could respond is by saying the test will be next year, and that there’s a lot of time.
Jeff Zeleny was also equally harsh in his observation of the party (via the Hill):
CNN's Jeff Zeleny said Tuesday afternoon that the Democratic party has "no leader" and is in "complete disrepair and disarray."
The perspective from the network's senior White House correspondent came during a panel segment on possible Democratic candidates in the 2020 presidential election on CNN's "Inside Politics."
"The list of names that you read off is incredibly interesting. We’re not going to know for sure until after the midterm elections," Zeleny told fill-in host Dana Bash. "That’s when things sort of start to see who’s the most popular campaigning this fall."
Zeleny sees Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif) as a possible fresh face for the party and compared the freshman senator’s current position to President Obama's in 2005 before he captured the presidency three years later.
"But Senator Kamala Harris is fascinating to me," he said. "Because she arrives in Washington, at the exact same time Barack Obama arrived in Washington, 2005 for him, 2017 for her, in terms of first year of a new Republican administration.
There is no bench. Period. That problem could be alleviated if the Democrats were able to make inroads into rural America and retake some ground on the state and local side, but that's not happening any time soon. Some Democrats might be hoping for this, but let’s not draw the Barack Obama comparisons just yet. For starters, while Obama expected to take on the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, it’s unclear whether Harris will a) run in 2020; or b) be able to survive what will be aggressive and vicious attacks from the hyper-progressive wing of the party (i.e. the Bernie bots). They’re already starting to sink their teeth into her (via Mic News):
…not everyone on the progressive left is feeling Harris-fever, and if the senator wants to win the Democratic presidential primary in three years, she’ll have to start making inroads with a growing grassroots movement that remains highly skeptical of Harris’s progressive bona fides.
Nomiki Konst, a Bernie Sanders supporter who serves on the Democratic National Committee’s Unity Commission had three words for Democrats interested in Harris as a candidate: “Follow the money.”
“The Democrats will not win until they address income inequality, no matter how they dress up their next candidate,” Konst said. “If that candidate is in bed with Wall Street, you may as well lay a tombstone out for the Democratic Party now. Voters are smart; they can follow the money.”
Konst’s skepticism about Harris’s alleged ties to Wall Street and insufficient commitment to populist economic issues reflect a broader trend among the residents of Bernieland. In a recent New York Times profile of Harris, another high profile Sanders supporter, executive director of National Nurses United RoseAnn DeMoro dismissed Harris’s prospects as a progressive 2020 contender, saying, “She’s not on our radar.”
So, yeah—the internal drama continues.