As we watch the dramatic division between moderates and progressive left-wingers play out on the political Left, it’s important to remember that there is another dramatic division set to play out in one form or another. And, at this point, we believe this one is oddly underappreciated.

The political spectrum in the US at present might be best understood as having five different faces: #MAGA, #McCain-Romney, #BothPartiesSuck, #Biden-Obama-Clinton, and #Socialism.

Another terminology that has caught fire in recent months is the RINO’s and the DINO’s — would-be pejorative terms for “republican-in-name-only” and “democrat-in-name-only”. These are what the “real” hardcore party members on each respective side call those they believe are too moderate to wear the badge. For example, the #MAGA republicans often call the #McCain-Romney-ites “RINO’s”, and Bernie fans now regularly call Biden supporters “DINO’s”.

But there’s a big difference that needs to be appreciated: whereas Bernie supporters will almost certainly break down doors with their foreheads if need be to vote against Trump no matter who the Dem nominee turns out to be, the jury is still out as to how #McCain-Romney-ites will turn out, and for whom, if someone like a Biden is the Dem nominee in the general election. That’s why we like to call them “the lost tribe wandering through the wilderness of American politics”.

The big point here is this: the GOP is running a far-right candidate that does not have great appeal to moderates in the party. If the Dems end up running a moderate candidate in opposition, where will the RINO vote go?

Don’t imagine the Trump campaign hasn’t been thinking about this. The GOP has already started to court the RINO vote through a targeted messaging tactic that can best be summed up by the instruction: “Look at what he has actually done.”

This is meant to point RINOs toward Trump signing the tax reform bill into law, putting hundreds of conservative judges behind benches, and, umm, well, and being tough on China? Yeah. Being tough on China!

This is a reasonable strategic idea. But the problem they face is the simple fact that the Trump Presidency, as of this point, has accomplished almost nothing that required actual leadership.

He got nothing done on healthcare, immigration, or infrastructure, and our foreign policy is in tatters. The cyclically-adjusted fiscal grade is an F-minus. And the US has never been less popular with our traditional allies.

More to the point, the only two areas where Trump has accomplishments — tax reform and judiciary — didn’t take anything from him. The tax reform bill Mr. Trump signed into law was under construction for over five years in Congress before he even had his first Big Mac in the West Wing.

He had nothing to do with its design and only delayed its passage by stoking adversity through his controversial and indecorous approach to the process at that stage of his presidency. Put another way: the tax reform bill would likely have passed into law in February 2016 if Jeb Bush were in the White House — rather than December 2017, as it was with Mr. Trump.

As for the judicial appointments, it doesn’t take a whole lot of leadership to agree to a list of names put in front of you by a think-tank.

Healthcare, immigration, foreign policy, and infrastructure were the areas where leadership was required to move the needle. And he struck out completely on all four counts.

That makes it a little more difficult to use Trump’s record in office — as opposed to his character — to compel centrist conservatives to race to the polls to support him for another four years.

We think this is a group that will only turn up in droves if the alternative is a socialist populist, such as Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.


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