We think a lot around here about what ought to happen with the Greatness Agenda—that is, the agenda of fair trade, tougher immigration enforcement, and an “America First” foreign policy—in the absence of Donald Trump. The agenda itself isn’t necessarily a partisan one. Yet it’s easy to look at Republicans in Congress and shake your head in despair.
Sure, the Republican Party establishment might be feckless, blinkered, corrupt, inept, and often breathtakingly stupid. Then you look at what’s happening in the Democratic Party camp.
Elaine Godfrey at The Atlantic reports on the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Georgia. It ain’t pretty:
A local Democratic strategist summed up the state of things this way: “The Democratic Party …” He took a long pause before letting out a dispirited sigh. “If you ask people what the Democratic Party stands for, they can’t tell you,” he said. “As soon as you get beyond anti-Trump, nobody seems to know.” The choice in Georgia is between two different playbooks: an ambitious-but-risky plan of action, versus a careful, more traditional one. More broadly, the Georgia race illustrates the challenges facing the Democrats not just in November, but also in 2020. This primary could help define the party and give it an identity it desperately needs.
The frontrunner, Stacey Abrams, is the former minority leader of the state House of Representatives. She’s black. She’s also the more left-wing (much more) of the two main candidates, with endorsements from Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and John Lewis. She also ran a voter-registration group that was funded by George Soros (and which, predictably, ran into trouble with state authorities.) She’s running on a platform of reducing inequality and “decriminalizing poverty.”
By all accounts, Abrams has done a brilliant job of mobilizing Georgia’s Democratic base in a state where Trump won by five points, but where 33 percent of registered Democrats say they’re “undecided” how to vote in Tuesday’s primary. If Abrams wins, though, it would be one more sign that the future of the Democratic Party is firmly in the realm of left-wing identity-politics. It’s hard to imagine how that appeals to voters beyond an exercised base, but stranger things have happened.