After months of promising a November “blue wave,” Democrats’ chances of taking back Congress are shrinking by the day.
Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is on track to lose her seat in North Dakota by double-digits. A recent New York Times/Siena poll has Republican senatorial candidate Marsha Blackburn ahead by more than 14 points. Sen. Ted Cruz is now consistently polling with at least a 7-point advantage.
All told, Real Clear Politics is projecting Republicans will hold on to at least 50 seats in the Senate, and several of the remaining “toss-up” races are in states that normally lean Republican, including Arizona, Indiana, and Missouri. Republicans are also likely to hold on to a majority of governorships.
What happened? At the start of 2018, Democrats appeared to be in prime position to win back the House and Senate and numerous high-profile state races across the country, something that hasn’t occurred since 2008. But over the summer, the far-left wing of the party continued to demand Democrats embrace radical policies, and the party’s democratic socialists pushed long-established party leaders out of their seats to make way for an emerging group of European-style socialist politicians.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, a group advocating for the end of capitalism—unseated popular establishment Democrat Joe Crowley in New York.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who wants to raise taxes on businesses and impose a single-payer health care system, defeated several better-funded establishment Democrats in his party’s primary.
Ayanna Pressley, a left-wing Boston city councilwoman, beat 10-term incumbent Democrat Michael Capuano in a highly publicized congressional primary race in Massachusetts.
Rather than distance itself from the far left, Democratic Party leadership has embraced European-style democratic socialism. The party is now openly calling for extremist policies such as radical tax increases on businesses, the end of the entire fossil-fuel industry, and, most notably, the creation of a “Medicare for All” socialized health care system.
Democrats haven’t been shy about their move to the left, either. Although the projected cost of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) popular single-payer scheme is more than $32 trillion over its first 10 years, single-payer health care has become one of the most important and high-profile parts of Democrats’ 2018 election strategy. J.B. Poersch, the leader of the Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC, said during a recent interview with CNN the party’s “top three issues this year are health care, health care, health care”—a claim backed by the fact Democrats have spent a whopping $184 million on health care-related advertising thus far in 2018.
Radical leftists aren’t limiting themselves to shaping Democrats’ policies, either. Democratic socialists were some of the biggest advocates behind the plan to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court by relying on completely outrageous, disgusting, and unfounded accusations, including that Kavanaugh while in high school drugged women so that other boys could gang rape them. Smearing Kavanaugh fits in well with radical leftists’ longstanding “the ends justify the means” political strategy.
The further to the left Democrats have moved, the less support they have received from the public, and the reason is obvious: Americans, especially in the Heartland, don’t want socialism. When will Democrats learn?
Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is the executive editor and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan free-market think tank.
PHOTO: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaking with supporters at a “Come Together and Fight Back” rally hosted by the Democratic National Committee at the Mesa Amphitheater in Mesa, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Justin Haskins is editor-in-chief of StoppingSocialism.com, a New York Times bestselling author, and the director of the Socialism Research Center at The Heartland Institute. Follow him on social media @JustinTHaskins.