Conservative writer warns Democrats all the ways they could blow it in 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer pose for pictures after delivering a response to President Trump's televised address to the nation. Image via AFP/Nicholas Kamm.

On Tuesday, Never Trump conservative and The Bulwark editor Charlie Sykes wrote an editorial in Politico warning that Democrats could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2020 — and urged them to not do anything foolish.

"Donald Trump remains historically unpopular because the past three years have cemented the public’s image of the president as a deeply dishonest, erratic, narcissistic, Twitter-addicted bully. As a result, a stunning 57 percent of voters say they will definitely not vote to reelect him next year and he trails Democratic challengers in key states," wrote Sykes.

Even so, he warned, Trump "doesn't need to win this thing; he needs for you to lose it ... Despite the favorable poll numbers and the triumphalism in your blue bubble, you’ve already made a solid start at guaranteeing another four years of Trumpism. Last week's pile-on of Joe Biden was a good example of how you might eat your own over the next 16 months."

Sykes then cited a number of things that are varying degrees of  popular with Democrats but could lose support with the general electorate: massive deficit spending, reparations, a health care plan that involves abolishing private insurance, packing the Supreme Court, or embracing the "socialism" label.

As for gun control and immigration, Sykes said, Democrats actually have the upper hand on these issues as Trump's policies are broadly disliked — but that could change if Democrats lean too heavily into gun confiscation or abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Sykes also warned Democrats that their now near-universal support for abolishing the Hyde Amendment could backfire with a general electorate as well, which presently prefers their stance on abortion rights but doesn't support taxpayer funding.

Above all, Sykes warned, if Democrats want to lose the election, they should "Hold firmly to the idea that Twitter is the beating heart of the real Democratic Party" and "ignore polls showing that most Democrats, not to mention swing voters, are much more likely to be centrist."