Several readers asked if we could run past columns by the late John Hubbuch when space allows. This one was written last March before Democrats coalesced around Joe Biden. But much of it still applies.
Although my primary job is grandparenting and trying to find something interesting to watch on Netflix, I am also an unhired, unpaid political consultant. Having been born and raised in a Red State [Indiana] and lived most of my life in a Blue State, unlike most people I see things clearly. So today I feel it necessary to advise the Democratic Party regarding the 2020 election.
First of all, stop talking about this election being the most important in history. All elections are important, but had Lincoln not defeated George McClellan in 1864 the Civil War likely would have ended without a resolution, and slavery would have hung on for years. In 1876, Tilden conceded to Hayes with the understanding that U.S. troops would withdraw from the South, thereby ushering in decades of Southern Redeemer rule.
The last three elections were won in the purple states, so named because they swing back and forth between red and blue with each party gathering between 48 and 52 percent of the vote. These states have liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. (Yes, these voters still exist.) All of the purple states are important, but the ones with the most electoral votes are Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio. Win most of these states, and come November election night the Democrats can party, or if they lose these states, they can move to Canada. Winning California by a million more votes than in 2016, or narrowing the margin in Texas, makes zero difference other than increasing the outrage against the Electoral College.
So it follows that the Democratic nominee needs to win the purple states to be president. Barack did. Twice. Hillary did not. Remember, the purple states are purple because their voters are in the middle. They can actually be persuaded. The candidate rather than the party makes a difference.
So which candidate? The only criteria is if they can win over the voters in the purple states. The issues are important only in that context. The same polls that predicted Clinton’s 2016 victory will be at it again, but I’m going on my political common sense.
So … Do not nominate Bernie Sanders. Republicans will call him a Communist. He will say he is a Socialist. The purple voters won’t understand or care. His yelling and screaming for the six-month campaign will drive purple voters crazy.
Do not nominate Elizabeth Warren. They may love her in Brooklyn, but they won’t in Racine. Too liberal. Too much like Hillary. I appreciate that sounds misogynistic, but there are lots of voters in the purple who are misogynistic. Elections are about what “is” not what “ought.”
Biden, Klobuchar, and Bloomberg are fine, I suppose. I worried a bit about Pete Buttigieg being inexperienced and gay, but he is very smart and charismatic. He’s just like Barack except he’s gay, white and short. And he’s just like Barack now that he has withdrawn and is no longer in the running.
I like Joe. He’s old, but so is Trump, Bernie, Elizabeth and Bloomberg. Biden is not smooth, and bumbles a bit, but I suspect purple voters will like his experience, authenticity and moderate politics. And he was Barack’s VP, and Barack carried all the purple states. I think any of the three remaining moderates can beat Trump if they run a campaign that tacks toward the middle, gets out the vote and clowns Trump.
We should all be worried about the left wing of the Democrats nominating Bernie and losing all the purple states. Most voters are too young to remember, but they should Google the 1972 presidential election — McGovern v. Nixon. It was the last time the misbegotten Democrats journeyed to Jonestown.