As the 2020 presidential campaign continues to crank up it’s wise for us to repeatedly ask ourselves this question: Aside from seething, rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of Donald Trump, what alternatives to Trump administration policies do any of the Democrats offer?
It was Clinton advisor James Carville who said, “It’s the economy, stupid,” so let’s start there. Is it the case here in late summer 2019 that U.S. unemployment is too low? Are there just too many people working and earning a paycheck? Are entirely too many formerly chronically unemployed blacks, Hispanics and women now working? Do we want them to go back to being idle?
Are wages rising too fast? Is inflation too tame? Are 401(k) balances getting too big? What, exactly, should Democrats do to reverse the harm to the economy done by Trump administration policies?
On the subject of trade, if tariffs are ill-advised and dangerous, do Democrats have some other means of addressing 40 years of Chinese mercantilism, intellectual property theft, commodity dumping, currency manipulation and corporate espionage? Should we return to the mouth-the-right-words-while-looking-the-other-way appeasement policies of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama? – policies that have led to the hollowing out of American manufacturing and the resulting diminishment of the heartland middle class?
What about energy and environmental policy? Should we return to the days when a small cabal of angry, West-hating Muslim despots held the American economy hostage via price-fixing the oil and gas markets? Having obtained near energy independence, should we shut-in all of those wells and revert to supplication at the feet of OPEC?
If the Dems want to rid the U.S. economy of its dependence on fossil fuels, do they have a replacement energy source that will keep the U.S. economy at full employment? And if the answer is “no” and the plan really is for the U.S. is to inflict upon itself a deep and lasting economic laceration in the name of saving the planet, do the Dems have a strategy for convincing the leaders of the vastly more polluting countries of India and China to do the same to their economies?
Immigration was a yuuuuge Trump issue in 2016 and it will be again in 2020. This fraught topic is essentially the only issue about which the Democrats have a specific policy agenda. All word-salad, focus-tested talking points to the contrary notwithstanding, the Dems want open borders. So, as we have asked previously in this space, do they have a plan for dealing with millions of poor, low-skilled, social services-consuming migrants? Do most Americans believe that any such plan would be better than stopping migrants from illegally entering the country in the first place?
The question of Campaign 2020 boils down to this. White-hot hatred of Donald Trump is, above all and to the exclusion of nearly everything else, what animates Democrats. If that alone is sufficient to get one or another of the announced Democrats elected, what then will that Democrat do to govern more effectively than Donald Trump has?