Sadly, there many ways Democrats lose in 2020; however, six paths to failure stand out.
Consequently, here are six sure-fire ways for Democrats to ensure defeat in 2020.
1. Ignore Economic Issues
Hillary R. Clinton (D-New York) lost in 2016 because she refused to discuss economic issues. On the other hand, the victor Donald J. Trump (R-New York) constantly talked about trade, jobs, and immigration, all of which are economic issues.
Moreover, the Democratic presidential candidates with the fastest growing poll numbers focus on economic issues. For instance, US Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) saw gains in the latest polls.
In detail, The Hill estimates Warren rose by five points; and Sanders by six points, in the 6 August 2019 Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll. Importantly, both Sanders and Warren talk about nothing but economic issues like Medicare for All on the campaign trail.
Economic issues will dominate 2020 because the economy is failing many Americans. For instance, average Americans could not afford 44% of the homes sold in America in 2018, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates.
In addition, 39% of Americans do not have enough money to cover a $400 emergency expense, the Federal Reserve estimates. Moreover, the average African American household income was $40,232 in 2019, Black Demographics estimates. Moreover, the average individual income; or median income per capita, in the United States in 2017 was $31,786, The Balance estimates.
In addition, 62% of Americans want higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires, and 63% of American want investment in green jobs and energy efficient infrastructure. Plus, 26% of Americans (over one in four) want a $1,000 a month Basic Income for all Americans, and 27% of Americans want reparations for slavery.
Americans are hurting and they want economic answers. Voters will ignore candidates who ignore the economy.
2. Rely on the Big Media and the Old Media
One of Hillary’s greatest blunders in 2016 was an overreliance on the traditional print and broadcast media.
Specifically, Clinton trusted television networks to expose Trump’s ugly history of corruption, tax evasion, questionable business dealings, sexism, sexual escapades, and racism. Instead, the media glorified Trump and became obsessed with his star power. Moreover, many well-documented stories about Trump’s ugly history were ignored or suppressed.
Trump; on the other hand, placed no faith in the old media. When Trump wanted to spread dirt on Hillary, he went directly to the voters through social media and the internet. For example, Trump; or his friends put the Democratic National Committee e-mails on WikiLeaks for everybody to read.
Just imagine, how differently the campaign could have gone, if Hillary had put The Access Hollywood tape, and The Apprentice tapes on YouTube during the 2016 Republican Convention? Moreover, Democrats could have posted a new Apprentice tape on YouTube each week until the election. Under those circumstances, Trump’s racism, sexism, and vulgarity would have been the only story about the candidate.
Clinton had the resources to get those tapes and release them. Instead, she relied on reporters to do their job and got burned.
The data demonstrates most Americans no longer pay attention to the old media. For example, the number of viewers for the top-rated US cable TV program on Wednesday 24 July 2019 attracted 3.08 million viewers. That program was the Fox News coverage of Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony, Market Mad House reports.
However, the population of the United States was 329.262 million in July 2019, Worldometers estimates. Thus, less than 1% of America’s population saw the top-rated cable television show on 24 July 2019.
Moreover, around 10.7 million viewers watched the Democratic presidential debates on CNN and CNN International on 30 July 2019, Nielsen estimates. Therefore, I estimate a little over 3% of America’s population saw the last presidential debate on CNN. I have to wonder why candidates attend that sideshow.
The numbers for broadcast television are just as dismal, I estimate all five US broadcast television networks had 28.4 million viewers during the 2018-2019 television season.
In particular, Adweek estimates all three network TV evening newscasts had 19.885 viewers on 29 July 2019. In addition, Adweek estimates only 3.93 million people between ages 25 and 54 watched network news on 29 July 2019.
In fact, data indicates younger people pay almost no attention to TV news. The UK media regulator Ofcom estimates Britons between 16 and 24 watch just two minutes of TV news a day, The Guardian reports. In contrast, people over 65 watched 33 minutes of TV news a day.
Interestingly, viewers paid attention to 62% of YouTube ads, Business of Apps claims. In contrast, viewers only paid attention to 45% of television ads.
Under these circumstances, Democrats must spend $5 on digital for every dollar they spend on old media advertising and promotion. Moreover, all candidates need to be on Social Media; especially YouTube, every day.
One reason Trump won in 2016 was his willingness to use digital media. If Democrats want to reach America in 2020, they need to go digital.
3. Offer Senior Citizens Nothing
There were 51 million Americans over 65 in 2018, the Population Reference Bureau estimates. Moreover, 71% of Americans over 65 voted in the 2016 presidential election, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) estimates.
Bizarrely, both Clinton and the Democratic party offered those 36.21 million voters nothing. There were no promises to increases Social Security benefits or plans to raise more money for Social Security.
Yet older Americans received 33% of their income from Social Security in December 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates. Plus the SSA estimates 47.579 million Americans receive Social Security retirement payments.
As a result 52% of Americans over 65 and 52% of Americans over 44 voted for Trump in 2016, the Roper Center estimates. Democrats can expect a repeat of that performance if they keep offering seniors nothing.
In addition, raising Social Security could be the best way for Democrats to get the white vote. Pew Research estimates the average age for white Americans is 58. Thus, most white Americans are approaching retirement and Social Security age.
Moreover, paying for a Social Security increase is easier than Republicans and neoliberals; like US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), claim. Methods of funding a Social Security Raise include: a Border Adjustment Tax, a Value-Added Tax (VAT), eliminating the $132,900 maximum tax rate for the existing Social Security tax, a national sales tax, a Robin Hood sales tax on financial transactions, and higher income taxes on the rich.
If Democrats make “raise Social Security” their battle cry, I think Trump’s percentage of the senior vote could drop to 40% or even 30%. Furthermore, I think a strong Democratic promise to “increase Social Security payments” could erase Trump’s vaunted Electoral College Advantage in 2020.
To clarify, most of Trump’s Electoral College advantage comes from older voters in white majority states. Many of those voters rely on Social Security to survive.
Thus, one YouTube video of the Democratic nominee promising to “fight for more Social Security” could destroy Trump. To explain, if Trump criticizes that statement, he will attack Social Security and indirectly seniors. I cannot think of a better way for Trump to drive older voters away.
I think a strong Democratic commitment to increase Social Security payments will have many 2016 Trump supporters voting Democrat. Consequently, Trump and other Republicans could receive some nasty election day surprises in so-called “red states.”
Given the numbers, I have to wonder if anybody at the Democratic Party knows how to count.
4. Rely on the “Goodness” of White People
Strangely, I think both Democrats and Republicans handicap themselves with delusions about a secret Great White Majority that will guarantee electoral victory. Specifically, Republicans pin their hopes on a Nixon-style Silent Majority.
Meanwhile, Democrats imagine there is a secret Silent Majority of good white people who will turn on the evil racist Trump. In fact, I think this was one of Hillary’s greatest miscalculations in 2016.
Data from 2016; however, tells a different story. The BBC estimates that Donald J. Trump received 58% of the white vote in 2016. That was just 1% less than the 59% of the white vote Republican nominee Mitt Romney won in 2012, the Roper Center estimates.
Therefore, hoping that the Republican’s racism will drive white voters away is a dumb strategy. I think a better strategy for Democrats is to concentrate their efforts on their core groups of voters.
For instance, 88% of blacks 65% of Hispanics, and 54% of women voted for Clinton in 2016, the BBC estimates. Those numbers were enough to give Clinton a 2.9 million or 48.2% to 46.1% victory in the popular vote, CNN Politics calculates.
Consequently, I think Democrats could win the White House in 2020 with a combination of strong grassroots campaigns targeting women and minorities and a package of popular economic issues aimed at whites. For example, I think a promise to raise Social Security could deliver Democrats millions of votes in white majority states and nullify Trump’s Electoral College advantage.
5. Taking People of Color for Granted
In 2016, Hillary did not leverage one of the Democratic Party’s greatest advantages; its huge level of support among people of color. Notably, the BBC estimates 88% of African Americans and 65% of Hispanics voted for Clinton.
Yet Clinton refused to acknowledge those voters or do anything for them. Specifically, Clinton chose a white man; US Senator Timothy Kaine (D-Virginia) as her running mate. I think Clinton would be President, if she had chosen a black running mate.
Moreover, in her book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House former Democratic Party Chairwoman Donna Brazile notes Clinton refused to appear on African-American media. In addition, both Clinton and the national Democratic Party did not mention; or fight, blatant and well-organized Republican efforts to suppress African-American votes.
If Democrats want to win in 2020, they will need to spend a lot of money and time in black and Hispanic communities. In addition, they will need to offer more for black and Hispanic voters. Obviously, running black and Hispanic candidates is the most important step.
Other strategies to attract voters of color include economic policies targeted at minorities; such as reparations for African Americans, criminal prosecution of vote suppressors, serious action on police shootings and brutality, and immigration reform. Letting people of color know Democrats will fight for them will attract votes.
Finally, economic policies like Social Security increases, raising the minimum wage, Medicare for All, and a Basic Income can attract both whites and voters of color.
6. Becoming Distracted by Sensational Culturalism
The media and Republicans are masters at distracting Democrats and voters with meaningless but sensational cultural issues. Examples of such issues include; drag queen story time, Confederate statues, transexual toilet use, and school prayer for instance.
Such culturalism will drive away voters struggling for economic survival. For example, a single mother with no money, no health insurance; and no job, who is struggling to feed her children.
How is that woman supposed to react to debates about drag queen story time? Or the senior citizen with nothing to live on but Social Security; how are politicians supposed to appeal to him with debates about abortion?
In addition, sensational culturalist issues will offend people of color struggling with real racism and discrimination. The young black man with no job and no money; who sees his friend shot by the police, but hears politicians arguing about General Lee’s statue, for instance.
Unfortunately, culturalism has a strong appeal to intellectuals and journalists. Sensational culturalism is fun to talk and write about, and it generates lots of hits to websites. Therefore, the media and intelligentsia will focus on it. The vast majority of voters will tune culturalism out; however.
Fortunately, candidates like US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Andrew Yang (D-New York), and US Senator Liz Warren (D-Massachusetts) show how to counteract culturalism and neutralize its practitioners. These individuals attract votes and crowds by ignoring culturalism and focusing on the economic issues voters care about.
Thus, one way to avoid culturalism is to stay outside the media and intelligentsia’s alternate universe. In other words; learn from Trump, ignore journalists, and use social media to connect directly with voters. Moreover, Trump proves once you attract the crowds; the journalists and intellectuals will come to your side – even if they hate you.
In the final analysis, there are many other ways Democrats can lose next year but I think the six strategies I list above are the fastest routes to defeat. Only history will tell if Democrats can learn from their mistakes.