Opinion Asks: 2020 Democratic Primary

Opinion writers offer their thoughts on the upcoming primary.

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 5/9/19 2:05am

Twenty-four candidates have filed to run for president in 2020. Twenty-two of them are running as Democrats. With such a crowded field, we asked opinion writers to comment on what makes them hopeful, anxious or excited about the Democratic 2020 primary.

The current state of the Democratic primary is just another reminder why President Trump got elected in the first place: The hypocritical Democratic long march to the left that would trade the institutions of our republic for four more years in power.  

Look no farther than the Green New Deal to see the Machiavellian calculations of some of today’s Democratic frontrunners. Primary contenders are jumping over each other to endorse a fraud of a policy proposal that no one seriously believes will ever pass. The policy, nay, talking point, would remove all combustion engine cars from the road by 2030: What could be more un-American than breaking the power grid by tearing down the free-market legacy of American innovators like Henry Ford? This policy is unviable because it is so far left of the mainstream. By seeking to win over a strategically crucial progressive base, primary candidates are also alienating the majority of voters that oppose the Green New Deal. The policy does not just run afoul of the constitutional limits on government, it runs afoul of the basic limits of what the American people can tolerate. 

This is a tragic story of the Democratic disingenuous radicalism, a trend that alienates the American public and inevitably betrays the party base. This story will only repeat itself with “Medicare for All”, court packing and free college as the Democrats inadvertently roll the red carpet for President Trump’s next four years in office. — Steven Adelberg ’21

Writers in several media outlets and newspapers, including this one, have expressed concerns about the growing divide within the Democratic Party; between the more progressive “socialist” left and more moderate Democrats. A recurring argument seems to be that the latter is the only viable option for the Democratic Party — that because Trump still enjoys substantial support from the Republican Party, progressives don’t stand a chance at reclaiming the votes needed to win the election, whereas more moderate Democrats with broader appeal do. People seem to forget that in 2016, Trump did not win against “democratic socialists” or against progressives advocating for, among other things, universal healthcare and free community college. He won against exactly the kind of moderate Democrat that some pundits would suggest we put up for election again, only to yield very likely the same results. Making the 2020 Democratic primary a question of how we can think ourselves into Trump voters’ shoes is a game Democrats can easily lose — instead, they should focus on a collective vision of how they want America to change, abandon all notions of playing it “safe” and follow inspiration where it takes them. My hunch is that it will not lead them to the same names and faces with the same political baggage, but to the new and untested. — Raniyan Zaman ’22