Issues & Insights

2020 Democrats: Prosperous America Is A Dark Place

I&I Editorial

What the Democrats who gathered in Los Angeles Thursday night for the PBS/Politico debate are offering the country as an alternative to President Donald Trump was encapsulated by Sen. Elizabeth Warren in her closing statement.

“This is a dark moment in America,” the radical from Massachusetts said, before launching into an anecdote of a woman at a town hall who told her of having to choose between getting a prescription filled and buying toilet paper.

On what planet, exactly, are Warren and the others living? Whether it’s orbiting Alpha Centauri, or perhaps in the Epsilon Indi star system a few more light years out, it ain’t a world with an unprecedentedly low 3.5% unemployment for which you have to go back to 1969 to find a comparison, a GDP that has continually exceeded expectations and left economists with egg on their faces in the 11th year of an expansion, or record stock market gains.

The first question of the night: Why isn’t a large portion of the public backing impeachment, which the Democrats have been determined to inflict on Trump for years now, and which Nancy Pelosi’s House of Representatives finally imposed the night before? As with this presidential field’s policy plans, the answers showed no regard for the preferences of the public will or mood.

“Trump’s response, to suggest that only half of the American people want to see him thrown out of office now, I find, is dumbing down the presidency beyond what I even thought he would do,” said former Vice President Joe Biden, who cited an international poll that rated Chinese President Xi Jinping above Trump.

How many Americans two years from now will take solace in being told that some survey says non-American luminaries view President Biden more favorably than Xi?

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders unspooled his usual riff about Trump being “a pathological liar” and “a fraud … who has sold out the working families of this country.” Warren said Trump “has done everything he can for the wealthy and the well connected, from tax breaks to ambassadorships.” And so the Democratic nominee must be one who can “draw the sharpest distinction” alongside Trump.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, “At the end of the day this is beyond opinion. This is beyond polls. This is beyond politics.” He then moved on to a class-warfare diatribe about “policies that let giant corporations, some of which made billions in profits, pay not just zero but, as we’ve recently learned, negative taxes.” Meanwhile policies that would “boost wages for working Americans” are blocked.

We can thank an education system that leaves the vast majority of Americans economically illiterate for the fact that any of this rhetoric appeals at all to any sizable portion of the populace.

Does it ever dawn on Rhodes Scholar Pete or Harvard prof Elizabeth that every time unemployment is rock bottom low, profits are high? Do any of these politicians of the left, who yearn to direct bureaucracies under their control and run the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans, ever surmise that wealth is not a finite “pie” to be sliced up and given out, as if it’s Christmas Day dessert? Rather, it is as limitless as the ingenuity of the minds of entrepreneurs and investors and workers when they’re allowed to be economically free.

The Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Politicians

These candidates have been debating now for nearly six months, and they remain unready for prime time. Supposed “moderate” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was talking about building a “bridge to the next century.” Gee, that’s more than 80 years out, and is a line stolen from Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign. We know Klobuchar is vying for the center, but is she also going to be triangulating, and perhaps name her agenda “Putting People First” as did the impeached 42nd president? Maybe she’ll be hiring Dick Morris as a campaign consultant.

When the subject turned to the global threat of China, we heard nothing about the dangers of Beijing’s efforts to corner the world’s 5G market, but we did hear Mayor Pete warn that if there is “a repeat of anything like Tiananmen Square when it comes to Hong Kong, they will be isolated from the free world, and we will lead that isolation diplomatically and economically.”

Sure, an executive order shutting down $660 billion in U.S.-China trade shouldn’t take too long for the federal government to implement, or cause all that much dislocation for American workers and consumers. It’s bad enough when politicians lie, but in a way it’s even more irresponsible when they imagine that their spur-of-the-moment whims can be transformed into reality by some army of governmental minions.

Biden’s idea, while more serious-sounding, rivaled Buttigieg’s in wishful thinking. “Moving 60% of our sea power to that area of the world” is fine, but then came the familiar call to “rebuild our alliances, which Trump has demolished, with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Indonesia. We, in fact, need to have allies who understand that we’re gonna stop the Chinese from their actions. We should have gone to the U.N. immediately and sought sanctions against” China.

But who says our Pacific allies are estranged from the Trump administration, whose confrontational actions have proved that the U.S. can show backbone? When Biden was vice president, by contrast, President Barack Obama’s “Asia Pivot” was disastrous.

Don’t worry about China and its massive military, though. Biden assures us, “it would take them about 17 years to build up to where we are.”

Hmm. Maybe sooner. After all, just last month Biden told the Military Times, “President Trump has abandoned all fiscal discipline when it comes to defense spending. … We can maintain a strong defense and protect our safety and security for less. The real question is not how much we invest — it’s how we invest. … We have become over-dependent on the military to advance our security interests overseas — and underinvested in other tools including diplomacy, economic power, education, and science and technology.”

These Democrats see phantoms of darkness where ordinary working Americans see new light. And economically, socially and globally, their massively expensive designs for unprecedented government intrusion, the sowing of group-based division, and geopolitical weakness would produce a shroud of real darkness to engulf the country.

— Written by Thomas McArdle

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • It is hard for the dems to destroy our nation when the people prosper. Seems that should have been their goal, but no, it was globalization, without our consent.

  • Not ready for prime time? Not ready for anytime, daytime, nighttime, sometime period. This group is a SNL skit in real life!! We have a guy who drank one two many drinks out of an aluminum can, another one who just had a heart attack oh and let’s not forget our Ayapahoe tribal leader who has as much Indian in her to open a casino only in her own head. No one is watching the debates except for comedy writers and political cartoonists! Hillary can now go out in public and say truthfully she was never the worst candidate to face Trump. I am in utter disbelief that any of these candidates are willing to be publicly humiliated by Trump!! I am in awe that this has been allowed

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders unspooled his usual riff about Trump being “a pathological liar” and “a fraud … who has sold out the working families of this country.”

    Yet it’s actually Bernie Sanders himself who is the “a pathological liar” and “fraud … who has sold out the working families of this country.”

    There’s lots more at:

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