Cohen: Democrats need to stop "embracing losing issues"

I should start by saying that the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen may wind up being one of the more dangerous people in the country, at least if you happen to be Donald Trump or a member of the Senate GOP majority. Why? Because he’s running around preaching common sense to the Democrats and if we’re not careful, they may start listening. In a column this week, he’s sounding the alarm over something I was just pointing out earlier today. The Democratic candidates for the 2020 nomination (along with many of their overly enthusiastic colleagues in Congress) are loudly and proudly embracing a bunch of ideas that enjoy a bipartisan lack of support among the voting public.

The bevy of Democrats running for president seems determined to test my silent vow never to vote Republican, especially for President Trump. The truth is that I cannot imagine that happening, but I can imagine entering the voting booth with about a colonoscopy level of enthusiasm. Please, can we get this over with?

At the moment, the party is squabbling over what is called forced busing to achieve school desegregation. It seems the party has forgotten that, with the possible exception of the Civil War draft, no program has been more hated by working-class Democrats — more whites than blacks, but plenty of blacks as well.

Cohen starts off with busing, which he correctly identifies as one of the biggest electoral losers you could name. He describes the move by Kamala Harris to revive this issue has having been greeted on Fox News “with the delirium usually reserved for striking oil in one’s own backyard.” But busing wasn’t the only thing on Cohen’s mind.

From there he points out that Democrats are lining up behind reparations for slavery. The author describes this as “a noble idea” but one with nowhere near the popular support to make it happen. (There’s only been sporadic polling on this question, but the general consensus seems to be that there’s less than 30% support for cash reparations.) But wait… there’s more!

Cohen touches on the Medicare for All ideas being floated by the candidates, with a particular focus on plans that would basically end private or employer-provided health insurance. The latter polls roughly as well as smallpox, leading him to describe this race as quickly turning into one that “even Trump could win.”

Cohen leaves out a few other decisively unpopular positions such as late-term abortions, gun bans, and free health care for illegal aliens, but you get the idea. They’re pushing in all their chips on a hand full of cards distinct majorities (or in some cases, at least pluralities) don’t want to see. And they can only ride that pony so far before it collapses beneath them. The problem is, they still have months to go and multiple debates. By the time we get to the September battle, don’t be shocked if you hear Bernie Sanders proposing a new law mandating that all American flags be sold with a can of lighter fluid attached just in case you want to burn it on the way home from the store.

The problem here is that we don’t want the Democratic candidates to suddenly start listening to Cohen and begin talking sensibly. That would ruin the whole circus and tarnish Trump’s chances at a second term. So if you see any of these candidates out on the campaign trail this summer and notice a copy of the Washington Post laying around near their tour bus, try to sneak it out of the parking lot and throw it away.