Who are these Democrats who aren't doing anything besides running against Trump? Every actual candidate I know about is talking a lot about substantive issues, especially health care. This is a narrative invented out of thin air. https://t.co/Yoihzmhehb
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) May 28, 2018
David Leonhardt, in the NYTimes, “Democrats Are Running a Smart, Populist Campaign”:
Stacey Abrams and Conor Lamb are supposed to represent opposite poles of the Trump-era Democratic Party. She is the new progressive heroine — the first black woman to win a major-party nomination for governor, who will need a surge of liberal turnout to win Georgia. He is the new centrist hero — the white former Marine who flipped a Western Pennsylvania congressional district with support from gun-loving, abortion-opposing Trump voters.
But when you spend a little time listening to both Abrams and Lamb, you notice something that doesn’t fit the storyline: They sound a lot alike.
They emphasize the same issues, and talk about them in similar ways. They don’t come across as avatars of some Bernie-vs.-Hillary battle for the party’s soul. They come across as ideological soul mates, both upbeat populists who focus on health care, education, upward mobility and the dignity of work…
The lesson here isn’t just about these two candidates. Dozens of other Democratic candidates also sound like Abrams and Lamb. The lesson is that Democrats are more united than many people realize — and are running a pretty smart midterm campaign.
Yes, there are some tensions on the political left. But these tensions — over Obama-style incrementalism vs. Bernie-style purism, over the wisdom of talking about impeachment, over whether to woo or write off the white working class — are most intense among people who write and tweet about politics. Among Democrats running for office, the tensions are somewhere between mild and nonexistent…
None of this means that Abrams will win in November — she’s an underdog — or that the Democrats will take back the House. Trump’s approval numbers, while weak, have risen slightly, and the midterm campaign has a long way to go.
So far, though, the Democrats are defying the clichés about their division and disarray. They’re giving themselves a good chance to win.