Doug Schoen: Democrats will be hurt by radical policies - Moderation is their key to success
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Democrats are ready to reclaim power in the House of Representatives in January, with a majority now totaling at least 234 seats in the 435-seat chamber. But if they are going to capitalize on their momentum from the November midterm elections, they must first recall why and how they won.
Simply put, Democrats should not begin controlling a branch of the federal government with an agenda that focuses on eliminating the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), guaranteeing a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for all, and jobs for all.
Additionally, a new proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D. Mass. – a potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominee – does not make sense: she wants a corporation’s employees to elect half of the members on the board of directors in some grand new experiment.
These radical leftist ideas will hurt the Democratic Party politically and help President Trump and the Republicans, who themselves are not in a great position for the 2020 elections.
What won the day for Democrats last month were candidates who rejected extremism. These candidates supported pro-growth policies, more inclusive health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, and improvements in education. These positions enabled Democrats to flip Republican districts and win majority control of the House.
I myself participated in the midterm elections, working as a researcher for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his super PAC, Independence USA. The data were clear.
Moving past the midterms, according to the Gallup Poll, President Trump’s disapproval numbers have now hit a whopping 60 percent. The vulnerability for the GOP brand and Trump is obvious. But Democrats must not overreach, and rather seek to compromise on immigration, infrastructure, criminal justice reform and most of all health care.
What won the day for Democrats last month were candidates who rejected extremism.
The national posture of Democrats is critical. Talk of eliminating ICE is illogical. By seeking a consensus immigration bill that provides a pathway to citizenship, as well as funding border security that includes – but should not be limited to – a border wall, Democrats can illustrate why the American people voted them into power.
Like a compromise on immigration, Democrats should also advocate for private-public partnership on infrastructure and make clear that they are in a position to rebuild roads and highways with bipartisan measures across state lines.
On criminal justice reform, that national sentiment is clear that America needs to adopt reform for low-level non-violent drug crimes, which both houses of Congress and Republican leaders have embraced.
On health care, ObamaCare exists in reduced fashion, but that does not in any way preclude the Democrats from making incremental proposals to cover pre-existing conditions that Republicans will have to agree to.
All of this will require effective leadership. And while I disagree with the idea of current House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California becoming speaker, she has suggested that she will not eliminate ICE or make a move on impeachment of President Trump.
Democrats must internalize this and focus on the moderate and inclusive policy proposals that got them elected. If they can successfully do this, they will be able to maximize and expand on their gains this year up to the 2020 election, and have a real chance, to retake the Senate and perhaps the presidency. Given the results of the midterms, nothing less is acceptable.