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Assault on America, Day 279: Most endangered animal in American politics? Moderate Democrat

Nancy Pelosi impeachment
A lot of people are asking these days: What makes a “moderate” Democrat?

It used to be Democrats could hail from all parts of the country, hold a number of contrary (to the party platform) views and still remain welcome in what was once considered America’s “big tent” faction. When Ronald Reagan was elected, for example, political pundits noted how Democrats still comfortably controlled the House of Representatives, yet also conceded “The Gipper” enjoyed a “governing majority” because there were enough conservative southern and midwestern Democrats to go along with much of his “peace through strength” initiatives as well as the tax and regulation cutting free market elements of his agenda.

Likewise, up until recently, there were at least a couple “conservative” Democrats in the Senate (such as Sam Nunn of Georgia) who could be counted on to regularly side with the more defense-oriented GOP and also adopt a libertarian-light approach to economic and social policy.

They would vote for originalist judicial appointees, too. Justice Antonin Scalia was confirmed 98-0 in September, 1986. What would the tally be today?

Those bipartisan cooperative days are largely gone. Even as recently as ten years ago Nancy Pelosi practically had to twist certain pro-life “Blue Dog” Democrats’ arms completely off to get them to agree to Obamacare’s abortion-funding. The Democrats’ hard left lurch began during Bill Clinton’s presidency and accelerated during Barack Obama’s. It’s come to a point now where there are only a handful of Democrats (if even that) who would dare cross the liberal leadership on matters such as abortion, healthcare or taxes.

Nevertheless, impeachment was thought to be different. Seeing as thirty or so Democrats were elected (last year) in districts Donald Trump won in 2016, these so-called “moderates” (it’s what the media calls them) were thought to be hold-outs against the radicals, the politically skittish group that prevented Pelosi from pushing the red button even sooner. Now, apparently, even these would-be fence-sitters are gung-ho to turn the president out of office. (Darn) the consequences!

Understandably, these poor waifs are taking flak from those back home for their turncoat lack of fortitude. Gabriella Muñoz reported at The Washington Times, “Rep. Elaine G. Luria and other moderate Democrats backing impeachment are feeling the heat from conservative groups back home, complicating their reelection bids and giving Republicans hope for winning back seats lost in 2018 and retaking the House majority in 2020.

“’Luria is now pushing a radical scheme to impeach President Trump, dividing the country, tearing us apart — because she doesn’t like the president,’ said an ad from the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC dedicated to winning a Republican House majority.

“The group released similar ads targeting Democratic Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania. The ads tied the three moderate lawmakers to well-known liberal Democrats such as Sen. Bernard Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The super PAC accused Rep. Abigail Davis Spanberger, Virginia Democrat, of backtracking. It cited an article in which she explained that her party needed to walk a fine line between investigating and rushing toward impeachment.”

For the vast majority of Democrats, there’s no such thing as a “fine line” when the loudest leftist squawkers corner them and force an answer to the impeachment question. The country lived through two years of Robert Mueller’s witch-hunt only to see the money spent all go for nothing. Democrats tried to keep the matter alive through high-profile congressional investigations but they clearly appreciated the issue wasn’t going anywhere -- and time was running out.

It’s curious how Democrats appear to believe the presidential phone conversation (where Trump asked that the Russian and Ukrainian influence on the 2016 election be looked into -- wasn’t Mueller tasked with finding it?) and the hearsay-laden “whistleblower” complaint was enough to sway the “moderates” to jump off the center divider and start sprinting alongside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters and the other get-Trump haters in the impeachment lane.

If I were a “moderate” Democrat I’d be scared for my political life. If someone is truly middle-of-the-road, how did they suddenly determine the leftists were right all along? Were they pressured into publicly declaring they’re okay with the impeachment farce if Pelosi gave them the long-anticipated go-ahead? How is it principled to change your mind (assuming that’s what they actually did) when the evidence is so flimsy and the chances of success -- a conviction vote in the senate -- are so slim?

Further, these are swing districts we’re talking about, the ones that likely will be decided by a percentage point or two either way. Are the so-called Democrat “moderates” gambling they’ll retain the independent voters they relied on to win the last time and perhaps pick up some otherwise unmotivated newcomers by jumping on the impeachment bandwagon? Or is it more probable that the conservatives in these districts will view their position switches as a lack of intestinal fortitude and step-up support for their Republican challenger instead?

Politics is a tough business no matter how you look at it (unless you’re Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler and come from districts with impregnable Democrat masses). Party majorities are made by politicians who say they’re for something and then go to Washington to prove it. Many a RINO (such as Virginia Rep. Denver Riggleman) has earned a conservative primary challenge because he or she went back on their word and voted with the swampy establishment to perpetuate the status quo.

Democrats are experiencing a taste of their own medicine in this regard. It’s hard to say if any of the “moderates” will earn primary challenges in their districts, but here’s thinking they’ll get the opposition riled up one way or another. You can’t promise your constituents before an election that you’ll be “bipartisan” and “get things done” and then, in your first year under the Capitol dome, declare an intention to pursue the most extreme of all constitutional remedies, impeachment.

It also shouldn’t be discounted how Democrats are playing fire with the senate, too. Much has been written as to Republicans’ needing to defend 23 incumbent seats next year and about Democrat plans to take advantage of the wide-open board to erase the GOP’s current 53-47 advantage. If impeachment gets that far, every senator will stand in a glaring spotlight -- and there’s no hiding when it comes to voting yea or nay.

Alexander Bolton reported at The Hill, “Senate Democrats representing red states are worried the House impeachment process may spin out of control and destroy any chance their party might have of winning back the majority next year.

“These Democrats hope the House keeps its impeachment focus on the Ukraine controversy, and that Democrats act relatively quickly. If they do not, the red-state Democrats warn President Trump could turn the tables on them.”

The red state Democrats featured in Bolton’s story are Montana Sen. Jon Tester and West Virginian Joe Manchin (both of which narrowly won reelection last year), one “anonymous” senator who favors a broad impeachment action (beyond just Ukraine!) and Alabama Senator Doug Jones (a.k.a., duck, sitting) who will be on the ballot next November and is concerned impeachment could distract from other legislative priorities like the new USMCA trade agreement.

It’s nice to see Jones siding with Trump on a “safe” issue -- trade -- but of course he’s non-committal on what to think about impeaching the president. Manchin probably qualifies as the only true “moderate” Democrat left in the upper chamber and earns the designation solely because he was willing to buck party leaders to vote yea on both Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nominations (which he did to save his political rear-end in redder than red West Virginia).

Democrats talked about how polls are moving in the pro-impeachment side’s favor, but are they really? First off, the slightly increased numbers for the “get Trump” faction are probably just Democrats who’d previously said they weren’t buying-into it because they felt an over-the-top impeachment spectacle would cost them any chance of winning the 2020 election. But now that Pelosi & crew are ramped-up to oust Trump, it’s rally ‘round the party flag or get used to the idea of The Donald occupying the White House for another four years.

Then there’s the stupid and uninformed segment of the public that’s probably asking, “He did what? Darn, that’s awful! Impeach him! If Adam Schiff thinks he’s guilty, then that’s good enough for me! My Facebook page needs updating! And such-and-such just pinged me on Instagram. And after that I gotta get back to my video games!”

Democrats insist GOP senators like Susan Collins (Maine) and Colorado’s Cory Gardner are wedged between a rock and a hard place by impeachment, as though clear majorities in those states would demand they vote in favor of the House articles no matter what’s in them. These wishy-washy senators would/will have difficult campaigns regardless of impeachment. They’re much better off assessing the situation (as Collins did in voting for Kavanaugh) and seeing the Democrats’ action for what it is, a witch hunt.

Ever notice how the media spins it, that certain Republicans would only be in electoral peril if they don’t vote to impeach? In reality, if they do vote to oust Trump, they’re finished. Kaput. Recall efforts at the ready. A lot of steaming mad people. Period. Conservatives have long memories. Liberal grassroots angst is manufactured and only lasts as long as the money does. Which would you rather face if you’re a senator?

Plus, at this point no one can predict how the “trial” would pan out. As has been argued before in this space, Mitch McConnell has wide latitude to conduct the proceedings -- or whether to hold a trial at all -- and the Majority Leader could fashion it as a Democrat political side show preordained to discredit the entire American constitutional system. And why couldn’t “Turtle” McConnell schedule the impeachment proceedings so as to provide maximum disruption for the Democrat presidential primary race?

Think Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar would be enthused about sitting in the senate chamber on February 3, 2020 (the date of the Iowa Caucus)?

No wonder Democrats want to be done with the whole thing quickly. They know they can’t win. In the end it’s just a grand stage show to appease the leftist freaks on the Democrat fringe.

There’s little doubt the political species known as “Moderate Democrat” should be placed on an endangered list (if not already declared extinct). Moderation in Democrat-land earns you too many enemies and too few friends, a realization that more and more would-be candidates are discovering.

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