I listen to a number of conservative talk radio shows to get political perspectives that are different from mine. Doing that reinforces one’s beliefs on a given topic, or opens your mind to rethink your views. Considering how many different ways there are to analyze problems and issues, it helps to hear opposing arguments. To do otherwise is to live like the fly in the vinegar jug that thinks it’s the sweetest place in the world because it has never been outside of it.
Over 20 Democrats have gotten into the race for the 2020 presidential election, although that number is getting smaller. Primaries bring out the worst in candidates as they desperately try to distinguish themselves from each other, to make political points, to knock out the perceived frontrunner(s). But once the nominee is selected, reality begins to set in as it becomes more about governing than campaigning.
I think of the 2018 Georgia governor’s race and how the Republicans got pretty far out there between promises and borderline insane commercials. Brian Kemp, the ultimate winner of the primary, runoff and election, has governed a lot differently than I would have expected considering his campaign. He has pleasantly surprised me in a number of areas that I wouldn’t have predicted.
Conservative talk radio hosts invariably pick something one of the candidates said the day before and pound him or her for it for hours or day on end. For example, Joe Biden is notorious for gaffes. He was notorious for being touchy-feely with women, but his gaffes could compete with the number Donald Trump has made, and no women have sued Biden, and no secret monetary settlements have been made with any women. Elizabeth Warren’s foolishness concerning her Native American heritage, which gave Trump an opening to mock her with the name Pocahontas, pales against Trump’s false claims about his heritage, charitable contributions, his involvement and observations relating to 9/11, and more.
Listen to conservative talk radio and you will also hear about “the Squad”, the four Democratic congresswomen elected in 2018 who represent views quite often outside of mainstream Democrats. None of these four has gotten a single piece of legislation passed (with perhaps the exception of the naming of a Post Office, and I’m not sure of that), and are unlikely to find sponsors outside of themselves for any bills they might want to introduce. Yet talk radio and Republicans have elevated them to being the face of the Democratic Party. But in 2018 it was mainstream Democrats who beat Republicans, not the Squad.
The radio hosts repeat their mantra that Trump is a shoo-in, that the Democrats are too extreme, that if the Democrats are elected you will wake up to living in Venezuela. And that’s what surprises me. For being so sure that Trump can’t lose, that he’s accomplished so much, that he’s undone all the horrible things Obama did to this country, why do they spend so many hours each day attacking Democrats that they claim have no chance to defeat Trump. Why not focus on all of Trump’s “huge” successes? Instead it seems more likely they are whistling past the graveyard.
Again, because we are talking about in this instance the Democratic primary, a lot of crazy things will be said, and for sure no candidate of either party is without flaws or ever will be. But despite their individual flaws, are each competent to lead, to govern, and capable of accomplishing things through legislation? The voters will get to decide for better or for worse, but Trump has a record to defend that includes too many broken promises to count, promises that he should have been able to keep when he had majorities in both Houses.
Perhaps the radio hosts and Republicans are the ones who are desperate, who deflect from a president that many know is sui generis---and not in a good way. Trump’s campaign reminds me of the 1964 election slogan that Republican Barry Goldwater employed, “In your heart you know he’s right.” The Democrats fired back with their own, “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”
November 2020 is at least several political light years away. Too many things can happen between now and then. But considering the amount of time conservative talk show hosts are spending on things like Biden’s gaffes, the Squad, and the likes of Pocahontas, I think it’s fair to ask why they appear so worried on what they themselves claim to be a sure bet?