House Dem: Trump Will Win the Election ... and 'Democracy Will Be Just Fine'

AP Photo/Steve Helber

As Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake quipped, it seems some Democrats have expedited their Kübler-Ross grieving process. Many of them remain in denial, while others are moving through anger, bargaining, or depression.


House Democrat Jared Golden (D-ME) has hit acceptance. In an op-ed for the Bangor Daily News, Golden declares that Trump will win the election, and ... that's just fine. Democracy isn't on the ballot, Golden argues, but the economy is.

First, though, Golden would like everyone to take a gigantic breath and relax:

After the first presidential debate, lots of Democrats are panicking about whether President Joe Biden should step down as the party’s nominee. Biden’s poor performance in the debate was not a surprise. It also didn’t rattle me as it has others, because the outcome of this election has been clear to me for months: While I don’t plan to vote for him, Donald Trump is going to win. And I’m OK with that.

There are winners and losers in every election. Democrats’ post-debate hand-wringing is based on the idea that a Trump victory is not just a political loss, but a unique threat to our democracy. I reject the premise. Unlike Biden and many others, I refuse to participate in a campaign to scare voters with the idea that Trump will end our democratic system.

Good for Golden, but he's also making an appeal based on his own interests. Golden has won three terms in Maine's 2nd congressional district, but it has a Cook index of R+6. Donald Trump won the district in both 2016 and 2020 by double digits, and after Joe Biden's collapse in the debate Thursday, Trump will likely expand his voter turnout in ME-02. Biden voters certainly won't be enthused, and Golden faces what might be a serious challenge from Republican Austin Theriault in November.


Therefore, Golden has a vested interest in dialing down the partisan hysteria in Maine. That may well inform Golden's analysis of the current moment, but it also makes sense. The Trumpapocalypse theory overlooks the fact that Trump has already served one term as president and didn't torch democracy. Whatever institutional guardrails were arguably necessary worked against his alleged abuses. Golden reminds his readers of this while arguing that the real issue isn't democracy but economic policy.

Golden also takes a shot at those calling for Democrats to dump the results of their own primaries and appoint a successor to Biden on the ticket instead:

I urge everyone — voters, elected officials, the media, and all citizens — to ignore the chattering class’s scare tactics and political pipedreams. We don’t need party insiders in smoke-filled back rooms to save us. We can defend our democracy without them.

In fact, wiping out primary votes to have party insiders choose a nominee is a very strange way to save "democracy." It sounds more like salvaging an autocracy, and in fact that's exactly what such schemes would do. 

Will this expedite other Democrats along the Kübler-Ross process? Probably not, but they may be moving past the bargaining phase ... and right into depression. According to a report earlier from the Associated Press, Democrats are realizing that they're stuck with the product of their democratic primary processes:


Nearly a week after Biden’s disastrous debate performance, there is a growing sense among concerned Democrats that the party has trapped itself in a bad situation with no clear solution, caught in a primary process set up to protect Biden with elected officials unwilling to say out loud what some say quietly. ...

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison also made clear on Tuesday that the party’s rules leave no room for a Plan B.

Biden secured almost every delegate in the state-by-state primary process this spring. They are pledged by party rules to “in all good conscience” reflect the desires of voters who chose Biden. A virtual roll call vote to formalize Biden’s status as the nominee is expected weeks before the party’s national convention.

“The primary is over, and in every state, the will of Democratic voters was clear: Joe Biden will be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president,” Harrison told The Associated Press. “Delegates are pledged to reflect voters’ sentiment, and over 99% of delegates are already pledged to Joe Biden headed into our convention.”

Democrats closed ranks last year to prevent any effective primary challenge to Biden. That forced RFK Jr to opt for an independent bid, and left Dean Phillips twisting in the wind as a prophet unwelcome among his own people. Now that they have a disaster on their hands, they have no options left unless they can convince Biden to walk away -- and that would leave them with Kamala Harris. 


Because that's democracy, exactly what they profess to defend. Golden's challenge to them may also be as unwelcome as Phillips' warnings, but it's no less truthful. 

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