President Donald Trump — aka the Dealmaker in Chief — was just schooled in the art of bargaining by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. The Russia investigation is mowing down his cronies like a wheat thresher. His cabinet keeps spinning people in and out furiously. And while his approval ratings have been terrible for a long time, now the polls show even his Republican base is getting squishy.
Yet, despite all that, many Democrats are terrified that he will somehow win re-election.
Their paranoia was front and center this week as they hurled their Caffe Mochas en masse at Starbucks billionaire Howard Schultz. Their logic was as crisp as a barista’s apron: the coffee king’s independent bid could split the “anti” vote and serve up another steaming victory to Trump. Schultz has suggested that notion is wrong, and that the party is drifting so far left it could blow the election anyway.
But Democrats have bigger issues than one roasted-bean mogul. If you haven’t noticed, their field of wannabe presidential nominees (already announced or expected) is expanding at warp speed. Kamala Harris. Julian Castro. Tulsi Gabbard. John Delaney. Andrew Yang. Elizabeth Warren. Kirsten Gillibrand. Pete Buttigieg. Not to mention Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and possibly — although not likely — Hillary Clinton all over again.
You see the problem. Sifting through all those contenders could help Democrats select a fierce, able, and powerful challenger to Trump; but the process could also produce confusion, division, and bitterness. Ask yourself: Will moderates show up in force if a hard leftie gets the nod? Will progressives throw all their weight behind a centrist? Remember, there are Hillary supporters who are still seething at the Bernie Backers who did not rush to her side in 2016.
To reiterate: Most Americans are not happy with and do not trust Trump. The stench of indictments hangs over some former members of his team, a whiff of possible impeachment rides the air, and many voters are dismayed by the direction of the country.
But Democrats are still afraid he could beat them in 2020. And they should be. Because unless they successfully forge their party’s current chaos into a clear identity, message, and candidate — he just may.