As the Democratic primary process continues to slog along with its surfeit of candidates, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the 2020 election is less than a year away. The bad news is that the 2020 election is still a year away. The fact remains that unless Donald Trump is removed from office or decides not to run for re-election, he will occupy the Oval Office until January 20, 2021.
The good news is that voters will finally have a chance to make their voices heard. The bad news is our country is bitterly divided with both Republicans and Democrats firmly entrenched in the unwavering belief that the other side represents a fundamental threat to our nation’s future.
The good news is the 2018 midterms proved the Democrats can win when they stick to kitchen table issues that people care about. This included protecting Obamacare while covering preexisting conditions and raising the minimum wage. The bad news is that the party is being pulled far to the left on policies such as open borders, the Green New Deal and especially, Medicare for All.
The good news is that national polls show that President Trump would be defeated by the top four Democratic candidates. The bad news is there is no clear frontrunner and national polls do not reflect the reality of the Electoral College, where key swing states will ultimately decide the election, just as they did in 2016, when Trump pulled an inside straight in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. And Trump is still running even or ahead in this year’s six swing states and could again lose the popular vote and still win re-election.
The good news is that the impeachment inquiry has found irrefutable evidence that the president has committed offenses worthy of removing him from office. The bad news is while it makes good political theater and Democrats have built a solid legal case, the likely outcome will be that few, if any, minds will be changed and the House will vote for impeachment while the Senate will acquit.
The good news is that if the Democrats ran an organized impeachment process, staying focused on simple issues that most people can relate to: national security, abuse of power and jeopardizing America’s safety for the president’s political gain. The bad news is that recent history shows that this GOP Congress is not influenced by public opinion, demonstrated by their stands on critical issues such as immigration, gun control and climate change.
The good news is that lower courts have already decided against the president claiming executive privilege to prevent the release of his tax returns and we await the outcome of whether the administration can defy Congressional subpoenas to keep major officials from testifying in impeachment hearings. The bad news is that if they lose, the White House will appeal these rulings to the Supreme Court, which holds a conservative majority and may not decide to hear these cases in a timely enough fashion to impact the investigation, trial or election.
The good news is that much like the 2016 election, the presidential race is for the Democrats to lose. The bad news is that Hillary Clinton turned out to be an unpopular candidate who ran a poor campaign (I still can’t tell you what her economic message was), so recent history has proven that Democrats have experience in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Even Donald Trump never imagined he would actually win the presidency.
The good news is that there is a plethora of choices for the Democratic nominee. The bad news is that many people perceive the front-runners as uncertain winners. Some see Biden as too old and scattered, Warren and Sanders as too radical and inflexible, and Buttigieg as too young and inexperienced (he is also struggling with African American and Latino voters). Evidence of these concerns over electability are the entries of Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick into the race.
The good news is that is Trump is losing support from Independents and suburban women and the foundation of his base, working class white men, is the fastest shrinking demographic group in the country. The bad news is Trump still has the steadfast support of over 80 percent of Republican voters, especially those who feel the most threatened by the racial, cultural, and economic changes that are transforming America.
The good news is that our various media outlets have stepped up their coverage of national politics, providing unprecedented levels of information and opinion. The bad news is that most Americans only read, watch or listen to the channels that support their own world view and the president’s constant conspiracy theories have succeeded in muddying the waters.
Finally, the good news is that the 2020 election will be a true test of our democratic system. The bad news is that we are embroiled in a constitutional crisis that is a threat to this very institution. This country can survive one Trump term, but a second would threaten the pillars of our democracy, which we hold so dear. If the Democrats blow this chance, it will be very, very bad news indeed.