The latest battleground poll tells us Democrats are over-correcting for 2020 — and they can't beat Trump that way

Fairly or unfairly, Republicans plan to use the word 'socialist' a lot during this election cycle. If Dems don't want that to be their downfall, they're going to have to accept some hard truths

Jay Caruso
Washington DC
Tuesday 05 November 2019 16:59
Who are the Democrat candidates running for US president in 2020?

One of the more dangerous actions when driving is overcorrection. It refers to when a driver grabs their steering wheel and abruptly turns it in the opposite direction from where the car is going. It often results in a crash. And in the 2020 presidential race, if Democrats are not careful, they could overcorrect and give President Trump a second term.

A recent New York Times battleground poll contained numbers that should give Democrats pause as candidates such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders dive headlong into the proposal of trillions of dollars in spending and massive tax increases.

In six battleground states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina — Trump fares better against Sanders and Warren than he does the current Democratic 2020 frontrunner, former vice-president Joe Biden.

According to the poll, Biden leads Trump in four of six states, while they are tied in Michigan and Biden is behind in Florida. Trump and Sanders split three states apiece, and Trump is ahead or tied in five of six when matched against Warren.

The three key states, based on the 2016 results, are Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Trump became the first Republican since 1984 to win Wisconsin and the first since 1988 to win Pennsylvania and Michigan. The narrow margin of around 70,000 votes in all three states was enough to win the electoral college and sweep Trump into office.

Democrats must win those states to defeat Trump, who doesn't care if he doesn't win the popular vote. The problem, however, is voters in those states may not want to go all in with Sanders’ or Warren's big spending plans, which include Medicare-for-All.

On Medicare-for-All, it is not difficult to see the message from the GOP and Trump as the campaign moves into 2020. While PA, MI, and WI are no longer the manufacturing powerhouses they were 40 or 50 years ago, they still employ a decent number of union workers who have great healthcare benefits through their employers. How will they react to getting presented with a proposal that will take away their private plan and put in the hands of the federal government?

For many people, even those inclined to vote for Democrats, words that still make them cringe are, “I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."

Whether people want to credit Trump or not, the reality in politics is that the person in the Oval Office gets the credit or blame for the economy. With the unemployment rate at 3.6 per cent, low interest rates, no inflation, and a stock market that is humming along, Democrats have to convince voters Trump doesn't deserve another term as re-election races are almost always a referendum on the incumbent.

Biden, while not a conservative Democrat by any measure, is also not proposing radical changes in how the healthcare system in the United States works. Fair or unfair, Trump will unleash the power of the word "socialism" on Sanders or Warren, in an attempt to convince enough voters that despite all his faults, he's the better choice for wallets and pocketbooks.

Naturally, all this comes with the caveat that the election is a year away, which can be a lifetime in politics. There's no telling what effect impeachment will have on Trump, and while certain factors of the economy remain in Trump's favor, GDP growth has slowed. The impact of Trump's trade war with China is starting to affect manufacturing output, and farms are still taking a hit, even with the respite of federal aid.

That doesn't change the fact that Democrats could make a big mistake in thinking the country wants to veer back to the other side of the road and across it after four years of Donald Trump. Healthcare remains a critical concern for American voters, and, despite the Affordable Care Act, many want to see improvements.

But convincing those same voters, tens of millions of whom have private health insurance plans, that it would be better to eliminate that and provide one run by the government could give trump the opening he needs to secure a second term.

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