Let’s Judge Buttigieg
Media and Twitter pundits have replaced Beto with Pete Buttigieg as the left’s current moderate candidate. He’s a retired naval officer and Rhode’s scholar who attended Harvard University. When he speaks, legitimate policy proposals come out; when he speaks of his opponents, he addresses them as human beings not comic-book villains. His rhetoric is temperate and seemingly moderate. His proposed policy isn’t, however. On MSNBC, he tacitly supported the recent bills in New York and Virginia, which functionally legalize abortion up to the point of birth or even after. He has recommended increasing the Supreme Court to up to 15 justices and is “all in” for a single payer health care system. His rhetoric is tempered compared to other Democratic candidates; his policies are just as far to the left.
Trump’s Drab Moderation
Perhaps the polar opposite of Buttigieg, Trump talks big but his policies are tame. Chanting “build a wall,” Trump has placed himself on the far fringes of right-wing populism in many eyes. He’s aggressive, accusatory, and prone to tossing around insults. Over two years into his presidency, though, he’s ended up a pretty standard Republican. He led Congress to pass tax cuts that helped boost the economy. He’s cut hundred of repeat regulations in every department. Even his immigration policy, decried as extreme and immoral, would have been considered a compromise just a few years ago; the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a law not unlike Trump’s proposed border funding, passed the Senate with an overwhelming majority of 80 votes under Bush. Compared to other politicians, Trump’s rhetoric is radical; his policies are not.
How to Win in 2020
Trump doesn’t need to do much. Through every triumph and mishap, Trump’s approval rating has vacillated around 40% so chances are he won’t lose that base. If Trump leans into his capacity for an establishment disposition and achieving moderate goals, however, he stands to gain. When he has done so in the past, like reading straight from the script at the State of the Union Address, 76% of viewers approved. Republicans lost 41 seats in the House from a flip of moderate voters. If he acts like an establishment Republican, keeping off of Twitter and picking no more fights, he won’t push any more away. If he touts his previous accomplishments and undertakes a few modest initiatives in the realm of education or immigration reform, he could start to win moderates back.
And Don’t Forget the Democrats
Admittedly, Trump probably doesn’t even need to do that much. With a Democrat-led House of Representatives, he can’t do anything right now anyways. What he can do, instead, is sit back and watch as the Democrats climb over each other to scamper ever farther to the left, taking each other out and leaving the White House to him. If Buttigieg is their moderate, then Trump can just sit on his current laurels and watch the Democrats lose voters on their own.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.