Democrats need to show restraint to win over new Republicans

Democrats need to show restraint to win over new Republicans, by Bobby Jindal, a former Republican governor of Louisiana.

It’s not certain that Democrats will retake the House, but if they do they will likely ignore their leaders’ preferences and push to impeach the President, or perhaps judge Brett Kavanaugh. …

Democrats have an alternative. They can set aside the precedent of the Obama years, when the party sought to enact the most extreme agenda it could pass, and instead search for common ground with marginal Trump voters. …

Democrats can support gay marriage without forcing small-business owners to violate their religious beliefs and participate in the wedding ceremonies; defend abortion without opposing the sorts of restrictions common in Europe, including waiting periods and bans on mid-term abortions; fight global warming without making obsolete many Americans’ livelihoods and lifestyles; expand access to healthcare without eliminating private insurance; protect minority rights without condemning law enforcement; promote immigration while protecting the borders; value multiculturalism without removing all mention of God or tradition from the public square; and enact modest gun-control measures without stopping Americans from hunting and defending themselves. …

Unfortunately, since these stances don’t excite the Democrats’ base, they are unlikely to emerge from the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. …

Both political parties have spent the past several elections prioritising enthusiasm within their bases over persuasion of voters in the middle. One result, after Barack Obama’s eight White House years, was that many conservative voters felt alienated in their own country. …

Both parties like to take turns believing they represent a new permanent majority, until the voters remind them otherwise. …

Liberals may question why they should have to show self-restraint, especially when the pendulum seems to be swinging back their way. US politics increasingly resembles the Middle Eastern variety, where each side remembers how it was slighted yesterday and vows to exact retribution tomorrow. To avoid a backlash that will help Trump — or to help the country — Democrats may want to consider how else this cycle of escalation could end.