It’s 1996 all over again.
With the sad history of the Mueller investigation shelved, and with the Democrats sifting through the ashes, it seems safe to offer some advice to the Democratic Party, since it has become clear that it has no better than a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the White House in 2020.
Go with Joe. You still won’t win, but at least your party will lose with dignity. Whatever scandals haunt Vice President Biden’s past, he is still a recognizable American political animal. You can’t say that about the democratic socialists currently vying to be the Democrat standard bearer.
Factor in the power of incumbency and the equation equals sure success for President Donald Trump’s re-election bid.
From the standpoint of the power of incumbency, 2020 shapes up as being analogous to 1996, Clinton versus Dole. When nobody, not even Bob Dole himself, believed Clinton could be defeated. Of course, things have greatly changed over the political landscape in the 23 years since Bill Clinton pivoted center-right and saved his presidency from Newt Gingrich’s Contract for America.
But as it was with Clinton, so shall it be with Trump.
In the run-up to Election Day 1996, Clinton just said no to a mid-1990s leftist base that when compared to the current crop of Democrats look like progressive-left moderates. They weren’t moderate of course, they were the wool-dyed harbingers of what we see today, hiding in quasi-reasonable vestments that they have now thoroughly thrown off.
Clinton, saying the right things about welfare and immigration, and having jettisoned the potential disaster of Hillary-Care, was able to overshadow his social justice fringe with a shift to moderation that reassured enough voters to ensure that Dole, whose turn it was, never had a chance.
The cable news universe and celebrity journalism are gearing up for a horse race. Everybody will watch, it’s fine. There are many entertaining Democratic characters out there.
It will be interesting to watch Robert “Beto” O’Rourke implode. If Kamala Harris somehow gets the nod, the Democratic Party may approach the record for most states lost in a presidential election — shared with George McGovern versus Richard Nixon in 1972 and Walter Mondale versus Ronald Reagan in 1984. Elizabeth Warren is an identity politics thief; should she become the nominee look for Red State hegemony.
Cory Booker using the failed Mueller probe to generate contributions to his campaign — beneath contempt.
Bernie Sanders is the kind of person 1950s-60s era schoolteachers warned us about when instructing us to crawl under our desks for a nuclear drill.
No, it feels like 1996, electorally speaking, and even some intractable Never-Trumpers are quivering their arrows. As the extent of Deep State lawlessness is exposed, even they are reconciled to admit that by defeating the Clinton Machine and all its tentacles, Trump saved America from what might have been the most corrupt administration in our history.
Democrats instinctively understand that their 2020 shot is a long one. They are gearing up for an unprecedented voter fraud/tampering operation, and trying to move the foundational goalposts by ending the Electoral College and lowering the voting age to sixteen. There is no barrel-bottom they’re unwilling to scrape to scare up enough votes to improve their chances; felons and illegal immigrants serve as the prime exhibits.
These are not the proposals or strategy of a confident political party. Advice: Mr. Biden, announce and clear this field of candidates ASAP, and help your party lose with a vestige of dignity.
It feels like 1996 all over again, but in another sense, the state of play as the nation prepares to cast a presidential ballot can be compared to another year, 1969, with a twist.
Cue the extended sports metaphor.
That year, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath famously predicted “We’re going to win the game, I guarantee it,” and then proceeded to do just that against the favored Baltimore Colts in the first so-designated Super Bowl, Super Bowl III.
It is just after halftime in the run-up to 2020, and Trump is scoring against a party desperately seeking a first-string quarterback.
But Trump is not Namath. He is Baltimore Colts incumbent, the great Johnny Unitas, coming off the bench with a busted-up shoulder to relieve a hapless Earl Morrall and scoring the only Colts touchdown late in a contest the Jets won 16-7.
In this flip of the metaphorical script, Biden is the underdog Namath, but given the team he’s taking into the ultimate contest, he can’t guarantee anything.
There are no guarantees in sports, politics, or life, no locks. But if ever an incumbent president could make a Namath-style prediction, that president is Donald Trump. He need not get cocky, but it will take some great event or upheaval that inures to the benefit of Joe Biden to unseat him.
The Colts and Johnny Unitas for the win.
Mark Ellis is a contributor at PJ Media and Liberty Island Magazine.
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