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The Democrats are on a roll. The past couple of weeks have been a political parade of one disaster after another, all to the benefit of President Trump’s reelection campaign.
The results of the Iowa caucuses have been delayed after a high-profile failure of technology and the Democratic Party. As of now, Pete Buttigieg seems to be leading by a hair over Bernie Sanders, but the New York Times reports the data released by the Iowa Democratic Party remain “riddled with inconsistencies and other flaws.”
At this point, even if the issues are resolved and a definitive winner is soon declared, the messy process has already shaken the public’s confidence in the results. It’s an embarrassing blemish on the Democratic Party’s ability to use technology to plan … anything, really.
The Democratic primary candidates want to run your healthcare, education, and finances, but they have proven incapable of reporting votes in a simple caucus. Although to be fair, former President Barack Obama’s Healthcare.gov website crashed on its launch day too, so the Iowa fiasco is nothing new for the Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, the beat goes on in Washington. Trump delivered a triumphant State of the Union address to Congress despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s distracting facial expressions and her melodramatic, almost ceremonial, ripping up of a copy of the speech. If I didn’t know any better, I’d suspect she didn’t like Trump all that much.
Pelosi’s attitude problem is a symptom of a much larger problem among Democrats, who are on the verge of falling into the same trap they fell into in 2016. They underestimated Trump as a candidate, and they have underestimated him as a president ever since. They assumed their personal opinions were the only correct way to view the world, took many of their own voters for granted, and, ultimately, lost big as a result.
The Trump administration has achieved significant policy victories that have improved life for everyday people. Democrats talk a big game about raising living standards for the “little man,” but the Trump administration is getting it done: from school choice, criminal justice reform, opportunity zones, record-low minority unemployment, and more. Democrats have promised reform on these issues for generations — but Trump is actually getting it done for disenfranchised urban communities.
Even CNN contributor and ardent liberal Van Jones admitted, to the shock of his colleagues, that Trump is helping black Americans in real life.
He warned the CNN panel that Trump’s achievements could appeal to groups outside the GOP’s typical coalition, including minority communities. “Wake up, folks,” Jones said. “What you’re going see him do is say, ‘you may not like my rhetoric, but look at my results.’ And if he narrowcasts that, it’s going to be effective.”
For once, Van Jones is absolutely right: This election is going to be about results, not rhetoric.
Which political party will earn the trust of struggling communities: the party that is creating jobs and getting criminal justice reform done or the party that is laser-focused on banning plastic straws and retrofitting every building in America?
Democrats so desperately want to paint a doomsday scenario where America is falling apart at the hands of Trump, and within the confines of their echo chambers on Facebook and MSNBC, they might be able to paint that picture. But it’s just not in line with reality. Consumer confidence is at a 20-year high. According to a recent Gallup poll, 90% of the public is satisfied with their personal lives, the highest number reported since 2003.
It’s a pretty great time to be alive, and Democrats are going to need a compelling argument for why voters should get off this train and opt for “big, structural change” — as it says on the back of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign RV.
Democrats will have to take a break from blaming the world’s problems on Trump and blaming their own problems on Trump supporters. They will have to reexamine their own beliefs and come up with practical policy proposals. Like the Iowans waiting for final results from the caucuses, I’m not holding my breath.