Those of you who know me, and have read me for a while, know that there is one political axiom I despise more than any other. Republicans fall in line. Democrats fall in love.
One of the reasons I hated that axiom so much was that it was pretty much undeniably true! The GOP was so brainlessly robotic that if Idi Amin was on the ballot with a (R) after his name, Republicans would line up for miles to vote for him. On the Democratic side, only St. Francis of Assisi could rally the Democrats behind him. That’s the problem with a Big Tent Party, the divergence of opinions.
But I think we can finally lay that old axiom to rest as one whose time has passed. I have done some research, yes, me!, and I have concluded that at long last the Democrats have gotten the GOP memo. They have started to learn the simple logic of uniting behind one candidate. And I’ll give you 4 recent examples to show you that the Democrats are starting to unite when they need to.
1) let’s look at 2018, the vaunted Blue Tsunami. There was a well publicized report of a Democratic suburban woman running for congress, who already had her signature petitions filed and approved. Instead of campaigning, she went door-to-door knocking to help another Democratic woman collect her signature petitions to get on the ballot. When that 2nd woman lost, she threw her support for the victor, and campaigned for her. That was repeated over and over again in 2018.
2) In 2020, incredibly enough, the Democrats fielded a primary challenge even larger than the 17 candidates the GOP fielded in 2016. Biden and Sanders were the projected frontrunners, but Biden couldn’t gain any traction. Until South Carolina and Super Tuesday. There was the prospect of a long, bitter protracted contest going into the convention, until everybody in the field dropped out within 48 hours to cement Biden as the nominee, and spare him getting bloodied up in a primary fight.
3) Now we move to 2022. In Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro was the prohibitive front runner for the Democrats for the Governors’ race. The Democrats cleared the field for him, and gave him a pristine path to the general election.
4) In Wisconsin, GOP incumbent Ron Johnson was widely considered to be one of the GOP’s weakest links. There was a spirited Democratic primary, with Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes as the front runner. And lo and behold, 2 weeks before the Wisconsin primary, Barnes’s 2 closest competitors held a joint press conference with him, dropped out of the race, and gave him their full throated support.
As a voter, I cannot tell you how important this is. After all, in 2020, Biden wasn’t the first choice for Teri and I, Amy Klobuchar was. We contributed to her campaign repeatedly. But when Klobuchar not only dropped out, but appeared with Biden to endorse him, our minds were made up. We started donating to Biden.
The trend is becoming clear. The Democrats are finally starting to vote on issues and platforms, and less on candidates. And when their chosen candidate loses, they are rallying behind the winner. The Big Tent Party is finally beginning to realize that it’s still the party that can advance the agenda, not the candidates. I believe we’ve crossed a watershed moment.