The polls suggest that former Vice President Joe Biden has a sizable lead in the presidential race. But President Donald Trump appears to be closing the gap, and Biden could lose an otherwise winnable race.
The media like to focus on what they perceive as Trump’s various errors over the past few months, but the Democratic Party establishment has made some reckless choices over the past year that it may have cause to regret, if and when it is forced to understand why it lost:
1. Pursuing impeachment before evidence. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) could have waited until the morning of Sep. 25, 2019, when the transcript of Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine was to be made public, before announcing an impeachment inquiry of Trump. Instead, she insisted on making her decision the prior evening — making it clear that Democrats’ motives were purely political, and condemning the country to a pointless, divisive trial.
2. Delaying the articles of impeachment. After insisting that impeachment was an urgent priority, Pelosi then delayed the transfer of the articles of impeachment to the Senate for four weeks. It reinforced the public impression that the whole exercise was futile — and it meant that Congress would be focused on impeachment precisely when the coronavirus hit American shores. From January 15 to February 5, while the coronavirus spread, Congress did absolutely nothing about it.
3. Changing the debate rules to help Michael Bloomberg and hurt Bernie Sanders. In January, the Democratic National Committee changed the debate rules, dropping a requirement that candidates have a minimum number of donors. It was a change designed to help Bloomberg qualify for the Nevada debate so he could oppose Sanders. Not only did Bloomberg perform badly, but the episode reminded Sanders voters that the party was willing to rig its own primary — again. Biden would have to shift to the left even after securing the nomination to bring Sanders voters back into the fold.
4. Consolidating behind Joe Biden. Before the Democratic primary, conventional wisdom held that Joe Biden offered the party an opportunity to appeal to the working-class voters Trump won in 2016. But after Biden began running, it was clear that he was simply too frail to govern, if elected. Democrats had a field of alternative candidates; even Sanders, while older than Biden, was more capable. Democrats gave otherwise winnable voters a reason to stick with Trump.
5. Refusing to unite behind the president to fight coronavirus. Instead of offering support to President Trump in the fight against the pandemic after his Oval Office address in March, Democrats used the opportunity to attack him. Biden, who had run for months on a promise to unify the nation, simply divided it further. It was a shortsighted calculation that hurt the nation’s ability to carry out a common policy, and that undermined the core message of Biden’s campaign.
6. Pushing for the economy, and churches, to be shut down indefinitely. It was not necessary that the entire economy be shut down — certainly not everywhere. But Democrats made clear they preferred the shutdowns and imposed draconian restrictions on small businesses, and even churches. Meanwhile, they gave the Black Lives Matter protests (and riots) a complete pass, indicating that they did not take their own rules seriously and just wanted to exacerbate the damage.
7. Delaying coronavirus relief bills. Pelosi was desperate to deny Trump any credit for helping Americans. She disrupted a bipartisan deal on relief to present her own “Heroes Act,” laden with pork. She delayed the extension of the Paycheck Protection Program for half a month. And she refused to compromise on federal unemployment benefits, which expired.
8. Backing the “defund the police” insanity. The public outrage over the death of George Floyd provided Democrats an opportunity to talk about the need for racial healing. But they went too far when the Black Lives Matter movement, a Marxist revolutionary front, demanded that elected leaders “defund” or even “abolish” the police — and Democrats largely complied. Biden tried to have it both ways, arguing that he would merely redirect funds, which amounts to the same thing.
9. Calling the riots “peaceful protest.” When Democrats insisted, after weeks of violence in Portland and elsewhere, that the riots were in fact “peaceful protest,” they set themselves up to be ridiculed by Republicans — and they sent a signal to voters that they did not take concerns for public safety and stability seriously. Together with their support for “defund the police,” and violent attacks on public monuments, the Democrats suburban voters into the Trump camp.
10. Having Joe Biden move further left and talk about “revolution.” Since securing the nomination, Biden has moved left rather than pivoting to the middle. His rhetoric has become radical — from promising to “fundamentally transform the country,” to calling for “revolution.” He also adopted the “Biden-Sanders Unity” platform in an effort to appease the “democratic socialist” wing of the party, promising more upheaval when most voters just want to get back to normal.
11. Insisting on vote-by-mail. Democrats hoped for months to exploit the coronavirus to impose a nationwide vote-by-mail mandate, including the “ballot harvesting” that is legal in California but regarded even in the Third World as fraud. By supporting a broken process, even after one in four Democratic mailed-in ballots in New York City was rejected, the Democrats ensured that the November election would be fraught with legal challenges and rejected by half the country.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.