The Democrat Party – at the national level – has a profound problem. Internally, they know it. At heart, the loose coalition since Franklin Delano Roosevelt is splintering. The splintering is accelerating. Good for Republicans 2020, this is not good for America.
In essence, the Democrat Party 70 years ago was centered on individuals pulling themselves up by bootstraps, legal immigration through hard work, devout American patriotism, faith and an open embrace of Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms.”
Traditionally, Democrats thought of themselves as defenders of free speech and religion, unencumbered association, an honest day’s pay for honest work, defense of America, or national security. They were part Spencer Tracy (a hard-charging Catholic Democrat), part Humphry Bogart (whom his biographer described as “Democrat in politics, Episcopalian by upbringing, dissenter by disposition”), bluff but congenial, centered on individual liberty. Until the party “left him,” Ronald Reagan voted Democrat.
Today, the Democrat Party is off the rails. It has fled that early all-American identity, turning to socialism and complicit silence, moral relativism to the point of embracing moral repugnance. In an ironic twist, the Republican Party has now become home of that old Democrat constituency.
Modern Democrats are sliding hard left – pushing for accelerated central control, inflexible federal mandates, collectivism, and anti-individual demagoguery. They seem to excuse violence in defense of their new “progressive” agenda. With hostility to tradition, religion and the individual, this new left has roots in Communist doctrine of 1848. And modern social media are accelerating the former Democrat Party’s deconstruction.
President Trump has inherited this traditional Democrat constituency. Modern Republicans defend individual liberty, equality of opportunity (not outcome), less federal intrusion, freer speech, freer exercise of religion, moral compass and territorial integrity, reduced regulation and increased economic risk-taking, more American jobs and energy independence, constitutional gun ownership, and honest pay for an honest day’s work. They stand for legal immigration not illegal, law enforcement and expanded veteran care, against legalizing illicit narcotics, and are unapologetic about their love of country, national anthem, and our exceptional history.
But this does not adequately explain the moment. Something else is afoot. What was once a reliable Democrat constituency is now within the Republican Party – with some overlap, shared agreement on infrastructure, incentives for clean environment, keeping healthcare accountable and affordable, supporting drug abuse treatment efforts.
Modern Democrats are deeply vexed – by loss of identity. Inviting moral relativism into their house, disrespecting America’s past, they have created flat contradictions within the party. Now, leading Democrats are accelerating the erosion of what is left of their onetime cohesion.
National Democrats have supported or stayed silent on New York State’s “late term abortion” law, effectively allowing the state to kill a child at birth. Virginia’s Democrat Governor went so far as to advocate keeping the born-child “comfortable,” before “doctor and patient” decide whether to kill a child. The idea is morally horrendous, yet out in the open– notable, quotable, and undeniable. What does a traditional Democrat do? How can this be ignored, counseled, morally tolerated?
Nationally, the Democrat Party has failed to remove a Virginia Governor whose graduate photos include dressing as a KKK Clansman. Think on that; KKK is not only offensive, it killed people. National and State Democrats did not remove Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, now twice accused of rape, in detail and with robust corroboration. Speechless, is the only word.
After imposing a national healthcare plan on the nation, which objectively reduced benefits, raised premiums and introduced mass unaccountability, Democratic leaders have now expanded the cone of capture, and openly advocate “socialism,” consistent with the Communist Manifesto.
Where is Democrat opposition to these shocks? Nowhere. The Party now seems in lock-step to advance government control of America’s means of production, suppression of individual liberties, speech to free exercise of faith, and only here and there a mouse-voice of opposition.
Democratic presidential candidates are actually outdoing each other to push left. To varying degrees, they support more centralized control, a vague socialist paradise or panacea, somewhere between the Soviet Union and modern Venezuela, except they pledge to “do better.” Competing visions include total control over whole sectors of the US economy – health care, energy production and means of use, transportation types and fuels, parameters for speech (with speech codes and policies), limits on religion (redefining traditional rights), abortion to (and apparently beyond) birth, redistribution of wealth by mass taxation, outlawing wealth, paying those “unwilling to work,” compensating minorities for ancient offenses, giving away THC (i.e. marijuana) to “spread joy,” and other bizarre schemes.
Latest offense against average Americans? A Muslim Democrat member of Congress makes anti-Semitic remarks, apologizes but then receives a pass from Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats, who offer an anti-hate resolution with no reference to her remarks – or to leftist violence against campus speakers and high school students who marched against abortion on the National Mall. Silence, resounding – deafening – silence.
Wither the traditional Democratic Party? Gone, and in its place a seething caldron of radical leftist ideologies and policies, wholesale disregard for American history, traditions and economic orthodoxy. The Party is coming apart, driven by festering contradictions, lack of moral compass, and a raw craving for power – over average Americans.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John and Robert Kennedy, Ed Muskie and Scoop Jackson – if alive – would probably shake their heads, sigh or cry, not so much for their lost party but for America.
As Americans first, we should push pause. This ungainly, unholy melee, this willful forgetting and preoccupation with being against all things traditionally American – is unhealthy, even dangerous. We should – of any party – just re-consult our historic moral compass, respecting each other again, and revering those God-given rights. The Democrat Party is in trouble, and faces accelerated splintering. Maybe this is good for 2020 Republicans, but in the larger scheme of things, it is bad for America. We have lost the centerboard, and need to re-find it fast.