You have likely cemented your reasoning for voting for a second term for Donald Trump around the fear you have over the progressive direction of the Democratic Party. You see this “socialist” movement, calling for free healthcare, focus on diversity, and fixing systematic racism, as dangerous to the country. Not only do you disagree with it, but you see these rallying cries as lies, orchestrated by elites and directed to a generation that has been taught to hate America. You believe your country is at risk of dying, should the current Democratic Party win the White House.
By thinking in this way, a vote for Trump is a vote to save America and its traditional, moral way of life. The truth of the matter, however, is that a Trump victory would only help bring about the radical progressivism you fear. Simply put, there will be another Democrat elected to the presidency, eventually. In the modern political era, the longest a single political party has held the presidency was from 1981 to 1993, consisting of two terms from Ronald Reagan and one by George H. W. Bush.
This means that in either 2024 or 2028, there is likely to be a Democrat elected to the White House. The message a Biden loss will send to the party is won’t be that it needs to become more moderate, because you, the very moderates the nomination of Joe Biden was intended to win over, chose Trump. Instead of the most bipartisan Democrat that stood on the party’s primary stage, you elected a far-right populist businessman, for a second time.
It will give all the more power to the voices in the party who have argued that there is no point in trying to appeal to the middle. And make no mistake, the selection of Biden is such an attempt. Though it might not seem like it from the right, Biden is a compromise. I am not mincing words when I say that the far-left considers him to practically be a Republican. I have heard progressives equate Biden and his philosophy to that of Mitt Romney. He opposes a ban on fracking, he is against Medicare for All, and he opposes defunding the police.
On top of this, before Biden decided to run for president, several moderate Republicans praised him as an upstanding man. Despite the threats made by Republicans that Biden will be a Trojan Horse for Bernie Sanders’ agenda, the progressives in the party are only begrudgingly voting for him, if they are at all. Thus, a Trump win would make Democrats second guess that pitch to the center, especially when his administration has utterly butchered the United States’ response to coronavirus.
We are currently in a pandemic made fundamentally worse by our president’s own narcissism and incompetence. In addition to his rhetoric, racist tendencies, coziness with foreign dictators, and dismantling of democracy, you and fellow Trump voters will have rewarded a man who is actively weakening our ability to fight off a deadly virus. If that’s not enough to make a moderate swing to the left once in their life, then it is doubtful there is anything that will.
This means that a politician in the vein of Elizabeth Warren, or by 2028 perhaps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is likely to be put on that ticket because you will have proven that appealing to the base, rather than the center, is the best course of action. And let’s be clear, to think that Trump has ever made the attempt to appeal to the left is foolish. He won by attacking them every second of every day, labeling them dangerous and getting people who have never voted before to believe he would shake up the system. A liberal populist can do the exact same thing, only this time Republicans won’t have Trump. He’s term-limited. It will be easy to unite new progressive voters, angry liberal moderates, and disaffected Trump voters to achieve victory.
Do not be fooled into thinking the left is too radical to be elected. Trump and conservatives were thought to be the same way in 2016, only for doubters to be proven wrong. History appears to be aligning itself quite nicely. In 2008, Republicans put John McCain, a moderate and quite decent man, on the ticket, but he lost terribly to Barack Obama. In 2012, the party fought off the far-right Tea Party movement to nominate the equally upstanding Mitt Romney, but he lost as well.
I suspect the perception among conservatives that Obama’s first term was utterly horrendous made Romney’s loss particularly glass shattering. With these back to back losses, Republicans decided there was no point in preventing the far-right from taking over the party. If they couldn’t win enough moderates, then it couldn’t hurt to go all-in with their base. And they won by doing so. If the American people reject both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, who yes, are moderates when looking at the ideological spectrum, the exact same thing will happen on the left.
But it won’t just solidify the shift in Democrats. It will reinforce to Republicans that Trumpism is the means for success. For those of you who wish Pence was the top name on the ticket, that day will likely never come. Instead, prepare yourselves for Tucker Carlson or Matt Gaetz, because the radicals will have a track record of victory. The party will not go back to picking Reagans and Bushes, but instead continue down its current path of division, name-calling and race-baiting.
If you are someone who wants to continue labeling themselves as a moderate, you must vote for Biden. A Trump win makes it clear that the middle is gone. It solidifies that a good man, who is known for reaching across the aisle and who has garnered more credible Republican endorsements than any Democrat in recent memory, cannot beat partisanship. A Biden win, however, shows that moving back towards the center is possible. It means that we don’t have to lock ourselves into our respective corners and fear the other side.
Remember, as he would be the oldest president elected to office, Biden may choose to be a one-term president. And regardless of that possibility, if you truly believe Biden will be a bad president, 2024 will be ripe for a Republican to win back the White House. Faced with Trumpism being a failure, the Republican Party can hit the reboot button and win with someone you can be truly proud of.
If the current direction of your party concerns you, now is the time to act. If there was ever to be an exception to voting along party lines, this is it. This is your chance to stop polarization from dominating the country for decades to come. You may be okay with it while your party is in charge, but I doubt you will find it as tolerable when the left’s version of Trump is in charge and no Democrat is willing to cross the aisle.