I am not a President Trump supporter. But if the alternative to him in next year’s election is open borders and the Green New Deal, I may become a Trump voter. It’s a distinction without an electoral difference, but hear me out.
The president has earned a lot of the heat that comes his way. His reluctance to condemn the white nationalists at Charlottesville in 2017 was inexcusable. He questioned Barack Obama’s citizenship even after the man produced a birth certificate. His feuds with kneeling NFL players and other black celebrities serve no purpose except to stir the pot.
The full list is long and ugly. It would speak for itself if Trump’s opponents would let it.
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Mass shooting hysteria and hyperbole
They haven’t. Instead they’ve trafficked in hysteria and hyperbole, particularly in their response to the El Paso, Texas, shooting. Democrats fell over themselves to implicate the president’s rhetoric and policies. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pronounced Trump “directly responsible” for the massacre because of his rhetoric.
Imagine. Having never met the gunman, the freshman congresswoman looked into his heart and determined that he wouldn’t have killed if not for Trump.
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Is it any wonder the president’s defenders reacted? Not that they had to look far for material: Thirteen hours after the Texas shooting, a self-described anti-borders leftist and Elizabeth Warren supporter killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio.
Its current trajectory gives the Democratic Party two problems in 2020. First, the agenda: a spending spree like no country has ever attempted, supposedly financed by a handful of wealthy taxpayers. What could go wrong?
Second, the message to voters. Progressives have long denounced America as hopelessly retrograde and racist. Naturally, they’re talking about everyone except themselves.
Insulting people won't convert them
The insult-them-until-they-join-our-side strategy has gained devotees since the mass shootings. While at least seven presidential candidates have called Trump a white supremacist, the president's supporters don't want to be called the same simply for voting for Republicans.
The contempt descended into incoherence even before the shootings. Candidate Andrew Yang matter-of-factly predicts the disappearance of millions of low-skill jobs. Yet he and his party argue for essentially allowing millions of low-skill workers to enter the country without consequences.
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If you work in an industry likely to absorb some of that labor, you might wonder if this is how the Democrats plan to revive their brand as champion of the little guy. Are you the little guy they have in mind, or have you slipped a bit on their list?
Today’s party seems to answer: You only ask because you don’t like brown skin.
Partisans who can’t imagine anything worse than losing history’s quintessential hold-your-nose election should picture coming to the rematch with a perfectly pleasant candidate, finding the opponent as nasty as ever, and losing again anyway.
Which could happen. The swing voters who will decide the next election won’t care whether Democrats rate Donald Trump a racist or a white nationalist or a white supremacist. With the left’s favorite epithet flying around the political sphere more freely than ever, and the definition of racism facing possible expansion, they’ll want to know what Democrats think of them.
No one deliberately votes to be despised.
Michael Smith is a contributor to the Louisville Courier Journal, where this column first appeared.
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This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Democrats' racism message may swing my vote to President Trump