As the roughly two dozen Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for president continue to gleefully sink their teeth into one another, the portrait that has emerged is of a band of self-serving pols who’ve shed self-respect in favor of pandering to a vocal segment of the party base that has abandoned the country’s mainstream.

The campaigns have become a panicky, headlong flight to the left embracing ideas that as recently as four years ago would have been dismissed as loony and a guarantee of electoral disaster.

Should this trend continue, consider the following possible outcomes:

- A party with no coherent message aside from “We despise Donald Trump.”

- A nominee so bruised and battered by his or her own party that regaining credibility is problematic.

- A party so far to the left that it risks becoming an out of touch fringe group.

- A party in support of ideas which are anathema to most Americans and stand no chance of Congressional approval.

- A party in favor of spending trillions of dollars with no way to pay for it.

And lastly, but most devastating of all, the re-election of Donald Trump.

You know what’s not a winning message? Making the case to the American people that entering the country illegally should be decriminalized (essentially, an open borders policy), pledging to provide free health coverage to undocumented immigrants and calling to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).

Then there is the added burden of justifying forgiving $1.4 trillion in student loan debt, eliminating private health insurance for 180 million Americans and requiring all public colleges to be free.

The party’s lurch to the left began in earnest in 2016 with the surprising show of strength by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but the movement has picked up such strength that it has bypassed him and appears irreversible.

Four years ago, Sanders was an outlier. Today, he’s in the party’s mainstream and has been supplanted as leader of the rebellion by younger, more militant personalities.

The ideological dilemma is attributable in considerable measure to the unwieldy field of candidates each trying to one-up the others by suggesting that opposition to far left demands is a betrayal of party principles.

The rules governing the next round of candidates’ debates will be more stringent, and failure to make the cut undermines viability in terms of support and financing. Leaving the race is not a requirement for them, but soldiering on after failing to meet their own party’s conditions is pointless. Contributions will dry up and supporters will look elsewhere.

The second and third tier candidates are easily identified, even those with some prominence; e.g., Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kristen Gillibrand of New York, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas.

All enjoy bases of support but have failed to poll above three points. All will likely succumb to frostbite in the corn fields of Iowa in February, if not sooner. The others who trail them are irrelevant, and common sense and sober judgment suggests abandoning their quests while their reputations are still more or less intact.

Whether the party can arrest the leftward sprint and settle on a nominee who can appeal to the moderate centrists in the party and the country is open to debate.

Of the top tier, only former Vice President Joe Biden holds the credentials and history of broad-based acceptance, the very qualities under siege from his closest competitors - Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Sanders, along with South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The validity of the conventional wisdom that, for Democrats, success relies on running to the left in the primary and returning to the center in November will be sorely tested next year against an incumbent president who defies ideological description and marches to the beat of his own unique and unpredictable drummer.

Democrats are in striking distance of the White House and holding their majority in the House of Representatives, along with an outside shot at turning the Senate. Their leading candidates all poll very well in head to head matchups with Trump.

If, however, the move to the left has placed the center beyond reach, the party risks irrelevancy,fighting among themselves to claim leadership of a shrinking base disconnected from the national interest.

Carl Golden is a senior contributing analyst with the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University in New Jersey. You can reach him at cgolden1937@gmail.com.

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(23) comments

HwyRovr

VA, let's look at facts and not hyperbole: “Bush and Obama did not have policies that resulted in the mass separation of parents and children like we’re seeing under the current administration,” according to Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute. --- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen there is indeed something new, under a “zero tolerance policy” on illegal immigration announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions the administration is now referring all illegal border crossings for criminal prosecution. By doing so, parents have been separated from their children, because children can’t be held in detention facilities for adults. --- “We have not seen any data out of the current or prior administration on how many cases that were prosecuted were individuals who arrived with minors,” Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said, “So we cannot make any guesses or assumptions about how many separations based on prosecution there were or are. … Previous administrations used family detention facilities, allowing the whole family to stay together while awaiting their deportation case in immigration court, or alternatives to detention, which required families to be tracked but released from custody to await their court date.” --- MPI’s Pierce said the likely reason data aren’t available on child separations under previous administrations is because it was done in “really limited circumstances” such as suspicion of trafficking or other fraud. --- Jeh Johnson, DHS secretary under the Obama administration, told NPR earlier this month that he couldn’t say that family separations “never happened” during his tenure. “There may have been some exigent situation, some emergency. There may have been some doubt about whether the adult accompanying the child was in fact the parent of the child. I can’t say it never happened but not as a matter of policy or practice. It’s not something that I could ask our Border Patrol or our immigration enforcement personnel to do,” Johnson said. ---Immigration experts said Obama-era policies did lead to some family separations, but only relatively rarely, and nowhere near the rate of the Trump administration. "Obama generally refrained from prosecution in cases involving adults who crossed the border with their kids," said Peter Margulies, an immigration law and national security law professor at Roger Williams University School of Law. "In contrast, the current administration has chosen to prosecute adult border-crossers, even when they have kids. That's a choice — one fundamentally different from the choice made by both Obama and previous presidents of both parties." --- The Trump administration's current approach is modeled after Operation Streamline, a 2005 program under the administration of George W. Bush, according to Obama spokesman Eric Schultz. The key difference, he said, is that while the 2005 program referred all illegal immigrants for prosecution, it made exceptions for adults traveling with children.

HwyRovr

VA, let's look at facts and not hyperbole:

dougleonard6

[spam]

Sonny

Trump 2020[beam]

HwyRovr

Rave on DOTs but fully understand you are still backing a low-life.

dougleonard6

[spam]

dougleonard6

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Djanga Unchained

All true! The country needs a massive civil war. The libtards are no different than the brown shirts were. It would all be over in about a week anyway.

HwyRovr

Republicans proudly embrace the incarceration, mistreatment, and sexual abuse of children ripped from their parents and shoved into private concentration camps where they are not allowed to bathe, brush their teeth, sleep on beds or have proper medical care.

Djanga Unchained

And your proof this is occurring? I know - cause AOC said it you beleive it. Let me remind you that when you commit a crime in this country, you go to jail. Jail is not supposed to be comfortable, fun or entertaining. It is a deterrant to keep you from repeating the crime or crimes you committed in the first place. Entering the U.S. illegally is a crime - period! You have nothing but baseless lies about what is occurring at the border, and just a year or two ago - all your cronies claimed it was a manufactured crisis and Trumps delusional thoughts on the matter. So which is it? You know what - don't answer, because I'm tired of your B.S.

dougleonard6

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JVW

rovR. You have been schooled for 2-Weeks and still slinging propaganda. Your sick and need medical care

HwyRovr

"you're"

JVW

You're up early and need your meds. [beam]

deaton

Over here DKing! Look an improper “contraction” right here in Comments Land! DKing where are you? Anybody seen DKing? Come to think about it, I haven’t seen DKing for a few days now, where has she gone? Deaton. [beam]

dougleonard6

[spam]

dougleonard6

[innocent][innocent][innocent][innocent][innocent][innocent][innocent][innocent][innocent][innocent][innocent]

VA172

Yet Obama built cages to hold children in 2012.

HwyRovr

Trump's false claim that child separations were carried out by the Obama administration has been frequently refuted. "The Obama administration did not do that, no. We did not separate children from their parents," former Obama domestic policy adviser Cecilia Muñoz told NPR in May 2018. "This is a new decision, a policy decision put in place by the attorney general," which Muñoz said "puts us in league with the most brutal regimes in the world's history." It was then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions who instituted the "zero tolerance" policy at the Southern border in April 2018, which resulted in children being separated from their parents who were taken into custody for criminal prosecution.

VA172

Sorry Rvr. Obama and Bush both separated children from parents. Doesn't make any difference the reason, it was done by them. So you think that one of Obama's policy makers say it didn't happen makes that the truth. You know better.......

dougleonard6

Its been proven that this started under Obama

dougleonard6

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dougleonard6

Fake news here...[offtopic]

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