In 2018, the Democrats face a serious threat to their hopes to take back the Senate: their own Left Wing. With Donald Trump having only a 40% approval rating, 2018 should be the year that Democrats make gains in the Senate. Yet, Far left Democratic interest groups, ignoring the reality that certain parts of the country simply will not embrace a Far-left agenda, seem intent on preventing a Democratic majority.
With the election of Trump, Democrats on the Left have embraced their activist roots protesting and showing up to town halls. This activism is good for the Democratic Party, and if they can keep it up,it could provide an extra boost in 2018. But, what Democrats need to remember is that you cannot turn a state like West Virginia, which voted 68% for Trump into a Liberal haven where far left candidates can win. Moderate Democrats can still win in West Virginia, just ask their Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin, who has a 57% approval rating or their Democratic Governor, Jim Justice, who out performed Hillary Clinton by over 20 percentage points in the 2016 election.
West Virginia is not an anomaly, there are Democratic leaders in red states all over the country. In the Senate, Montana, Missouri, West Virginia, Indiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan all voted for Trump and have Democratic Senators. What do these ten senators from these ten states have in common? They are all facing re-election in a state that went red in 2016.
Make no doubt about it; the Democrats are on the defensive in 2018. The only seat the Democrats have a reasonable chance to flip is in Nevada. This means the Democrats could plausibly lose 10 senate seats and only gain 1 in 2018, giving Trump a 61-senate seat majority.
Instead of coalescing together and supporting those Democrats who are skillful enough to make gains in red states. Jon Ossoff, a Democrat in a historically red district in Georgia has a real chance to gain a real victory for the Democratic party. Instead of throwing behind his unequivocal support, Bernie Sanders, darling of the far left, claimed that he wasn’t sure if Ossoff was a Progressive. Sanders, under intense pressure, later clarified that he hopes Ossoff wins. Such an endorsement though, is a tainted one, and it goes to show how the far-left is only holding back the Democrats from true success.
Let’s go north and look at West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, again, who has been the victim of hate from the Far-left wing. Manchin voted to confirm Attorney General Jeff Session and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, leading some Democrats to the conclusion that he should be primaried. Manchin rightfully responded to such threats with a challenge to “find somebody else who can beat me and vote me out.” And, whether or not the Democrats want to admit it, Manchin is right. Manchin is a moderate, popular Senator and also likely the only Democrat who can win a senate race in West Virginia.
Arguments for primarying Manchin rest on the idea that moderate Democrats like Manchin do not vote according to the Democratic principle. These assertions ignore that Manchin votes with Democrats approximately 75% of the time.
Some Democrats may argue that it would be better to have a Senator who votes with the Democrats 100% of the time than one who only votes with them 75% of the time. A Democrat, though, who votes for Democratic policies 100% of the time cannot win in a red state. Red states are red, because Republicans outnumber Democrats in that state. Why would Republicans, en masse, ever vote for a far left Democrat? If they wanted to vote for a far-left Democrat they would not be registered as Republicans, they would be registered as Democrats. But, if you run Moderate Democrats in the state, candidates who can convince voters they work for them and not the Democratic party, then they can get Republicans on their side. Far left activists and organization can wish for a far left senator in Montana all they want. Ultimately, though, the choice is between Moderate Democrat, Jon Tester, and a Republican. And,I can guarantee you a Republican will vote for Democratic policies a lot less than a Moderate Democrat would.
Democrats are lucky to have senators in red states, even if they do not vote for left leaning policies 100% of the time. These moderate Democrats are the lifeblood of the party. These moderates are the way forward for the party. They are how Democrats can regain voters they lost in 2016 and make inroads in other red states in the future. These Democrats, though, face tough re-elections ahead and they are going to need all the help they can get from the Party to fight Republican senators who are playing ball with a home-court advantage.
Luckily for these Democratic Senators a new rise in political participation among Democrats has resulted from the election of Trump. Unfortunately, this political participation, if harnessed incorrectly, could only make things worse for an already defeated party.
While far left progressivism may be popular in the Liberal enclaves of Los Angeles or New York it is not popular in many of the rural, red states which make up the rest of the United States. The sooner Far-left activists from the left realize this, the sooners Democrats can start winning again. If the Democrats primary a Senator like Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota with someone on the Far-left, they will not take back the country from moderate Democrats; they will give it to Republicans on a silver platter.
If the political activists really wanted to check Trump they would rally around all Democrats, from the moderate Joe Donnelly in Indiana to the far left Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. For those who are upset with Donnelly for being pro-life, focus on the fact that Donnelly was also pro Obama-care. As a Democrat, realize that the whole point of a political party is to bring different wings of an ideology together in order to form a winning coalition. With that in mind realize, that not every Democrat votes the same way and that is not necessarily a bad thing. The truth of the matter is that these ten Democratic senators are facing a tough re-election in 2018 and they need the support of Democratic activists across the country, and within their own state, if they are going to win.
The left is going to have to make an important decision soon. Are they dedicated to fighting Republicans or are they dedicated to fighting themselves?