There’s a theory floating around that says if Democrats pick Joe Biden as their party’s nominee for president, more than a few progressives will do the unthinkable – they’ll vote for Donald Trump.
According to this theory, progressives are fed up with moderates running the Democratic Party; they want something new and fundamentally different; they want to throw out any semblance of the old Democratic Party; and if they can’t do that, they’d register their opposition to a moderate like Joe Biden and vote for Donald Trump instead.
According to this theory, progressives dislike Biden and what he stands for more than they dislike the president and what he stands for.
Hard to believe, I know.
But there’s even a guest column in the Wall Street Journal pushing this theory, a column that runs under the headline, “Progressives Who Prefer Trump to Biden.”
And it’s not a wishful thinking piece by some conservative. It’s a column by political cartoonist and left-winger Ted Rall, who points to some intriguing numbers from 2016 to support the theory:
Hillary Clinton, he writes, “shouldn’t have taken progressives for granted. More than 1 in 4 [Bernie] Sanders primary voters didn’t support Mrs. Clinton in November, according to a February 2019 Five Thirty-Eight analysis …”
Turns out that some of those disgruntled-with-Hillary progressives voted for minor party candidates. But 12 percent of those who voted for Sanders in the primaries actually voted for Donald Trump in the general election.
If you add up all the progressives who voted for minor candidates, and then throw in those who voted for Donald Trump, you get at least 800,000 Democratic votes that Hillary Clinton didn’t get – and, as Rall tell us, that’s “10 times Mr. Trump’s combined margins in the key states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.”
Who are these progressives that would be so distraught with a moderate Democrat like Joe Biden that they’d actually vote for a man they despise? Here’s another portion of Rall’s column:
“Kim McKinney Cohen, a leftist Democrat, told Politico her vote [in 2016] for Mr. Trump was ‘my primal scream’ to the Democratic Party. ‘I wanted it burned down,’ she said, ‘so that we could build a new, hopefully more equitable one that meets the needs of all, not only the superrich.’”
I’m sure she’s not the only one playing deep left field who thinks that way. But I’m just not buying the theory that progressives might actually be a significant factor assuring Donald Trump a second term as president.
I’ve written in this space that I believe if Biden gets the nomination, progressives understandably won’t be happy, but they’ll swallow hard and support him anyway, because goal number one for Democrats is to make sure Donald Trump doesn’t win in 2020.
Sure, some on the left wing of the Democratic Party will register their discontent by not voting, by sitting home and pouting – just as hard right Republicans did when both John McCain and Mitt Romney got the GOP nomination for president.
And yes, some progressives will vote for the Green Party candidate, or the Save the Whales candidate or whomever. And some will hold their nose, take a deep breath, and vote for Mr. Trump.
But enough to influence the election?
“Hard as it is for centrist Democrats to fathom,” says Rall, “many progressives would rather see a second Trump term than a President Biden …”
So according to this theory, we’re supposed to believe that progressives who hate everything about Donald Trump – who can’t stand his policies, his hair, his ties, his mouth -- are going to help elect him to second term next year?
That would be easier to believe if I were in Colorado or California right now, eating a gummy laced with marijuana.
But then I, along with about 50 thousand other brilliant pundits, didn’t believe Donald Trump would actually win in 2016!
So what do we know, right?
Well, here’s one thing we do know: When it comes to what’s going to happen in a presidential election still more than a year off, nobody knows anything.
So then, is it really possible? Can progressives really help elect Donald Trump? There’s a lot of talk out there at the moment about the existence of UFOs. If aliens from outer space can make hyper-supersonic passes over San Diego, anything, I guess, is possible.
But until things settle down and we know more about 2020, pass those gummies, dude.