America is divided between those who think Trump can do no wrong and those who think Trump can do no right. A few Trump supporters will acknowledge his substantial character flaws while still crediting him for accomplishments under his term. If Obama had delivered 80% of Trump’s State of the Union Address, Democrats would have stood and cheered; If Obama had delivered 80% of Trump’s policies (especially on trade) Republicans would have demonized him. Toxic partisanship is an unfortunate state of affairs that we have to accept.
The Democrats are sharply split between traditional Progressives and hard-left socialists. Both wings have a much greater faith in the central government to solve social, cultural, and economic problems than the Republicans and conservatives, but this faith is based on their history controlling the levers of the administrative state since the New Deal. There is little consideration on their part of what happens when the Republicans control these levers.
What has changed since the New Deal and the Great Society is a shift in the argument away from methods of government to the stand on the issues. The progressives increased the power of the presidency and the courts, and the left was happy with this as long as they controlled these two arms of government; they were perfectly happy subverting the responsibilities and power of the legislative branch to the executive and judicial branch as long as it accomplished their objectives on the issues.
The early progressives argued to establish the legitimacy of greater federal power and largely won, but a century later is now held accountable for their success or lack of it. The problem with greater federal power is no longer legitimacy but competence. The failure of the left to maintain control of their sacred institutions has not led them to decry it’s competence but to question its legitimacy; but by not supporting the institutions they relied on they have brought their own legitimacy into question.
Thus the election of Donald Trump is deemed illegitimate, and rather than accept the will of the voters they subject the institutions such as the Electoral College to questions of its legitimacy. Unable to stop the approval of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court with mob rule and blatant lies, they rejected his legitimacy, claiming victory by putting an asterisk next to his name. They accepted a partial victory in the Trump impeachment by putting an asterisk next to his name as well. Unable to bend the institutions to their will, they reject their legitimacy. This is a dangerous game and could easily come back to haunt them.
it is hard to conceive that a blatant socialist like Bernie Sanders can win an election in this country, but it is frightening enough that he has risen this far. Our universities have blinded it’s students to political realities for decades and this is the result. It is pathetically amusing how the Democrats will agonize to explain how Bernie is really not a socialist. Both parties have lost control of the process.
Perhaps the best thing that can happen to the Democratic party is for Bernie Sanders to win the nomination and lose the general election in a landslide (think George McGovern), so they can eradicate this toxic element from their party. If they nominate a moderate like either Bloomberg or Amy Klobuchar, and their nominee wins, elements of this lunatic left-wing will remain; if they should lose, and that would be a distinct possibility, the lunatic left wing will become even more powerful . The most powerful unifying weapon the Democrats have now is a universal hatred of Donald Trump. In 2016 disenfranchised Bernie Sanders supporters held back their support of Hillary Clinton in key districts just enough to cost her the election; I doubt that would happen again.
Trump may gain in support from Black voters. His stand on school choice and criminal justice reform is strongle supported in the Black communities. Many conservatives who voted against him in 2016 will vote for him in 2020 for two reasons: he governed more conservatively than they thought and secondly, the leftward lurch of the Democrats worry them. Suburban women who voted for Democrats in the 2018 midterms generally supported the more centrist Democrats, and this vote happened just after the Kavanaugh hearing. This support will be weaker if the nominee is from the far left like Bernie Sanders.
Donald Trump Is His Own Worst Enemy and he always seems just one step away blowing his chances of re-election. Reality is that few people pay any attention to policies and they will either connect emotionally or not. His flaws will be placed in an irrelevant context: both parties do this. His anti elite posture remains intact but it is not bulletproof.