Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Last week, I lunched with a longtime friend, in a popular Orange County, Florida restaurant. He is a 68-year-old professed JFK Democrat who had predicted a return to 1990’s moderati0n at the time of Joe Biden’s election. The optimism of 18 months ago had disappeared.
“Yes, things are looking a bit grim,” he admitted. “My son is trying to find a new home for his growing family. But there are none to be found in Fort Lauderdale, or anyplace close to his office in Broward County. When I recommended Weston, he said, ‘come on, Dad! have you seen the gas prices recently?’ He has a point.”
It was difficult for me to refrain from adding, “Yeah, Don. And ironically President Trump predicted this exact scenario!”
In truth, there are a lot of “Dons” in America who loyally flocked to the Biden banner in 2020 and are now second-guessing their decisions. Maybe it’s because the Biden of 1995 isn’t the same Biden that we are seeing today. But then, it was more than the average “Don” who got duped!
Mitch McConnell suggested a “return to civility” with the Biden administration. “We worked together in the Senate quite successfully in 1995.” McConnell reminded. “We got a lot accomplished.”
The problem is, 1995 was 27 years ago. At that time, both men were in their fifties. Now, they are at or near eighty years of age.
I have another friend, “Gabe” in Cincinnati who recently described Senate candidate Tim Ryan as a rising star and a possible future U.S. President. Odds are, he will lose to J.D. Vance in the 2022 Ohio Senate race.
As Gabe put it, “Ryan has always been the candidate of the working man. He has promoted industrial and manufacturing jobs here at home and supports protectionism. But his party has moved toward globalization.
“Furthermore, Congressman Ryan can’t assume that he will automatically gain minority supporters. You can’t imagine the reaction in the black community in Hamilton County last week when Trump endorsed Daniel Cameron for Governor of Kentucky.”
When I suggested a hypothetical Democrat ticket of Joe Manchin and Tulsi Gabbard in 2024, his response was, “dream on!” He then soberly admitted, “No doubt, that ticket could win the general election. But, there is no way in hell that the party would remotely consider them! We’ve moved too far to the left. Why two-thirds of today’s Democrats would be happier kicking Manchin and Gabbard out of the party than nominating them to be President and Vice President.”
My obvious question to both Don and Gabe was, “have you given thought to switching parties?”
Don’s answer was short and definitive. “My wife is Jewish. In fact, she is Israeli. She talks about how much the people in Israel love Trump. But, she can’t get past 1966 when she immigrated and was ridiculed mercilessly as a child in Miami. Me, I must admit, Trump did a pretty good job with the economy until COVID.”
Gabe’s comeback was a bit more striking.
“I have always been for the little guy. The Republicans were always the party of ‘fat cats.’ But, that’s changing. Now, I am looking at guys like John Kerry and Tom Steyer who seem more interested in climate change than the working man surviving. They are both very wealthy. So are their friends in media. I was shocked when I learned how much Don Lemon and Rachael Maddow earned! It seems that they are all out of touch.”
Midterm elections will prove interesting, if not pivotal. Not only for Democrats but Republicans. 2020 smoked many “snakes from the woodpiles.” Republicans who said, “let’s move on and get ’em 2022,” are now viewed with mounting mistrust. Such can be expected when at least 50%, probably 75% of Republicans genuinely believe that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.
The moniker “RINO” has graduated to “Neo-Con.” For the more insightful thinker, “Neo-Con” is gradually becoming synonymous with “Evolved Trotskyite.”
My colleague from Kentucky, a Republican for life, was gravely insulted when I suggested that Mitch McConnell was an “Evolved Trotskyite.” His angry rebuttal amounted to “I don’t always agree with Mitch. But, you’re suggesting that he is a Marxist? No, Mitch is no Communist! But, I could see how a lot of people might think that, considering his wife is from Communist China.”
I said, “Evolved Trotskyite.” Not Communist. There is a difference, albeit not as great as we might like.
Gabe pointed out, “You see politicians in both parties more concerned with the world than people here at home. When I look at Republicans, I see two parties. There’s the McConnells, Mitt Romneys, Lisa Murkowskis, and Rob Portmans. And then there’s the Josh Hawleys, Jim Jordans, and Sarah Palins. And, of course, Donald Trump. Basically, Globalists versus Americanists.
“Democrats used to have a lot more people closer to McConnell and Murkowski. They’d get together and hammer out deals. Not anymore! Now, it seems that AOC is the new face of the Democrats. Guys like Tim Ryan, and myself, are no longer the rule, but the exception.”
“Would you vote for Biden again?” I posed the question to Don and Gabe.
For Gabe, it was a two-second answer. “No way! He has done everything imaginable to hurt the little guy. And, he’s been unbelievably smug about it! Just, sit down and shut the f*#% up!”
Don’s response was more guarded. “My wife would have kittens if I voted for Trump. But, my son has already told us both that we need to ‘wake up and smell the coffee.’ He’s got a point. The Democrats had better get things fixed and fixed fast! I smell a rout in ’22 and ’24. And, if Trump gets in with control of both the House and Senate, it will be very different.”
Do either men see long-term damage to the Democrat Party?
Don’s conclusion was, “No, but we might face a setback that will take years to correct. People are comparing Biden to Jimmy Carter and that’s not good!”
Gabe’s comeback was more explicit: “Ten years from now, Americans who voted for Biden will be seen in the same light as Germans who voted for Hitler. There are going to be an increasing number of walk-a-ways. I know that I am there.”
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
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