Progressive Democrats seem to be lost – more each day. Meantime traditional Democrats – like Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton – are all but vanquished. Gone is the Democratic Party centered on America’s seminal values – individual liberty, personal dignity, free enterprise, due process, fidelity to moral conscience. Republicans abide the values, but the Democratic Party is running from them.
Times are changing. Progressive Democrats are yanking their party left, more each day. If one doubts the shift in tectonic plates, the emerging reality, consult two dozen Democrat candidates for president – and their leftist platforms. Headlines include suppressing individual religious, speech, property and commercial rights, taking control of production and distribution of medicine, energy, education, transportation, agriculture, water access, communication, and finance.
They boldly propose federal seizure of health care, banning certain energy types (namely fossil fuels), rationing transportation (including air travel), payment for and federal control of post-secondary education (i.e. colleges), disallowing private control of key aspects of land, private streams and ponds, breaking up social media companies, dissolving major banks, and redistributing private wealth.
They propose new taxes on income generated by the Trump economy, mandatory wage hikes for temporary employees (which raises unemployment and lowers mobility), curtailing Second Amendment rights (some argue “repeal it”), ending the Constitution’s Electoral College, reparations for crimes committed by people dead 150 years, legalization of illicit narcotics, seizing wealth from lifetime savers to fund those able but unwilling to work. Their agenda leaves the average, hardworking American dumbfounded; it drifts toward Marxism.
Worse, First Amendment guarantees fall fast in this Brave New World. Already, progressive Democrats have been unmoved by violence against conservative speakers on college campuses, untroubled by state hostility to and suppression of religious freedoms, content to have national media push socialism (subverting journalistic independence), and always quick to take offense – dismissing dissent in emotional terms, like racist, sexist, bigoted, misogynist, or hateful.
This week comes a new and remarkable turn. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, via their Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued a policy shift: Anti-abortion Democrats are no longer welcome in the Democratic Party. They will not be funded. Pro-life Democrats are to be denied funding and will face pro-abortion primary opponents – funded by the party. As Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) declared last Friday, “You can’t say you are a Democrat … if you’re against abortion.” Well, that settles it, I guess. The Progressive Caucus is pressing “strong primary challenges” against “pro-life” Democrats. You might ask, with friends like that who needs enemies? More seriously, what is happening to the Democratic Party?
Look deep and you may see signs of the future. Lockstep is now required – a scary turn. With respect to abortion, traditional Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains or any other Americans of conscience who oppose abortion are unwelcome – and more, will be actively opposed by the Democratic Party.
The shift left is accelerating, strangely un-American and talismanic. Ten years ago, such views would be judged extreme. Progressive Democrats today nevertheless force a stark choice on those who would serve the nation – as Democrats: Be who we say, or you are not a Democrat.
So, here we are – in an Orwellian world where government control is pushed as the paramount good, socialism somehow sublime, conformity required, dissent disciplined, media subservient to ideology, individualism condemned, and those of conscience – who abide a moral code – told to check it at the door. Deeply wrong, that is how all this strikes me.
In a world dominated by Progressive Democrats – or oppressive autocrats – anyone with individual beliefs is an opponent of progress, apparently. In the new Democratic Party, they are political roadkill, as means justify ends. As 2020 rushes on, good luck Joe Biden. Good luck to any Democrat with sensibilities like those of Truman, Kennedy, Carter or even Bill Clinton.
The truth is sometimes hard to fathom, and arresting. Progressive Democrats are lost, blindly convinced of their rightness, as socialism always is. What they do not see, and may not until after 2020, is that America is here – not in the pucker-brush. America is where we have always been, in the middle – after Trump, middle-right.
One curious footnote: Intolerant Democratic leaders might pause to note, according to recent national polling, more than 60 percent of Democrats still favor “considerable limits on abortion.” How about that? In the next cycle, they may have to be Republican. Either way, Progressive Democrats are off track, their hard-left turn oddly out of sync with American history. They seem sorely lost, and more each day.