Former First Lady Michelle Obama shut down discussions of her throwing her name in the Democratic presidential race, telling her rabid fans there’s “zero chance” she’d run. Oprah Winfrey deflects such questions nearly every day. There are still “Draft Hillary” groups out there trying to demonstrate that third time’s the charm.
With technically 25 “major” candidates that include 1/8th of the Democrats in the Senate, current and former governors, members of Congress, a Vice President, two entrepreneurs, and two current mayors, why are there still good chunks of Democrats seeking more nominees to enter the race? Could it be this batch of candidates are failing to inspire? Possibly, but there’s a deeper problem faced by the Democratic Party today.
Democrats have an identity problem. It’s not that they don’t know who they are, but they’re having a hard time identifying with any of the candidates. There have been “Reagan Democrats” and “Clinton Democrats.” A good number of Democrats currently identify as “Obama Democrats,” which can best be described as not-quite-socialist but getting close. Those who have entered the realm of socialism often identify as “Berniecrats,” though many of those people are now supporting Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris.
But the moderate Democrats are having a difficult time identifying with anyone anymore. Sure, they have Joe Biden as an alleged continuation of the Obama era, but even his brand of moderation is being yanked from the middle to embrace the radical progressives’ agenda being embraced by so many of the candidates. Without Biden rising to the occasion as the sensible, charismatic candidate many Democrats want, who can they turn to now? Is there really a chance that “Bullock Democrats” or “Hickenlooper Democrats” can rise up? How many Democrats even know anything about Steve Bullock or John Hickenlooper?
Andrew Yang and Pete Buttigieg seem to be pulling from the moderate wing of the party even though both have a few radical ideas in their bag of tricks. But even as they rise and fall in the polls, the void still remains.
Nobody’s talking about Tom Steyer. Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker seem to be afterthoughts. Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand have failed to make any impact. Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson are still trying to appeal to a different fringe of the party than the radicals.
Despite having the largest field of presidential candidates in U.S. history, the Democrats are still having trouble getting behind someone instead of being against President Trump. He seems to be the only unifying force for the left.
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