Sunday, February 10, 2019

Does Venezuela Hurt Democrats in 2020?

I've seen this argument enough already and debated it on Twitter, so I want to just put it here and leave it. The New York Times writes about how Venezuela is "dangerous" for Democrats in 2020. Here is why this argument is problematic.

First, 2020 is one hell of a long way away and people's memories are short.

Second, beyond short memories there is so much time that the political context in Venezuela will not be the same. BTW, if Trump decides to invade and it becomes a bloodbath with Americans dying then you can guess who that will hurt politically. If he uses military force and it's deemed a success in the U.S. (which may or may not mean good for Venezuelans) then 99.999% of the electorate will soon forget about it entirely.

Third, these arguments disingenuously conflate opposition to invasion and support for the status quo. You can believe that Maduro is illegitimate and that invasion is a bad idea. The simplistic analyses are driving me crazy.

Fourth, no one outside a subset of Floridians care about this enough to put it front and center when voting. Donald Trump won Florida in 2016 but only barely. Pennsylvania was razor thin and they don't give a crap about Venezuela. Same goes for Wisconsin. Well, same goes for frickin every other state.

Fifth, these articles always mention comments from about 2-3 Democratic Representatives, who are representative of exactly nothing in the party. Plus, no one votes based on what one relatively unknown person across the country said 18 months ago.

The scenario that would hurt Democrats in 2020 would be one in which Maduro were still in power and Democrats were prominently opposing putting any pressure on him at all. I can't see this scenario happening, in large part because the Trump administration is committed to regime change and will certainly use military force of some kind if this drags on much longer. Further, the Democratic leadership believes Maduro is illegitimate and would not be doing that anyway.


shah8 8:18 PM  

One thing I think hasn't really been contemplated in public is just how much of a catastrophe the Trump Administration open contempt for appearances has been for the conduct of US foreign policy.

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