US: The New Democratic Party, by Victor David Hanson.
The Democratic Party metamorphosed in 2008. Obama convinced it that identity politics and new demographic realities meant that record minority turnouts and bloc-voting—coupled with the disengagement of the vanishing “clinger” white working class—ushered in a new hard left Democratic generation of power.
Progressives sipped this tainted moonshine and the result over eight years was the disastrous losses of the majority of state governorships, legislatures, the House, the Senate, the presidency and, likely for a generation, the Supreme Court. In truth, the polarizing “hands up, don’t shoot” /”you didn’t build that”/”punish our enemies” assorted rhetoric deemed necessary to galvanize Obama’s progressive base also both polarized and riled the “deplorables” and “irredeemables.”
Or to put it another way: historic minority participation and identity politics zealotry were not commensurately transferrable to a 69-year-old, multimillionaire white woman; but the working-class estrangement that accompanied such an effort most certainly was. Clinton inherited all the downsides of the Obama paradigm without, at least in her case, any of its upsides.
After the emergence of an even harder left Democratic National Committee leadership, and President emeritus Obama’s own vows to lead a sort of shadow progressive resistance movement, there is little chance that a stung Democratic Party will jettison polarizing identity politics issues and its neglect of the middle classes, and learn from the 2016 defeat.
The problem is not just that the Democratic establishment leadership — Jerry Brown, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, Diane Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi — ranges in age from their late sixties to eighties, but also that the younger, and more robust next generation — Keith Ellison, Kamala Harris, Tom Perez — has embraced an even more polarizing politics. Are orthodox and old preferable to radical and young?
In sum, Trump is the beneficiary of a dysfunctional opposition whose reaction to the close loss of 2016 is reminiscent of the unhinged Democratic response to the narrow defeat of 1968, when it doubled-down, went harder left, gave up on middle-class concerns — and was demolished in 1972.
There is as yet no credible response to Trump and certainly no opposing coherent agenda. Instead, the “Resistance” is being waged by cherry-picking liberal federal judges in hopes of delaying and slowing down executive orders in the courts, along with states-rights nullifications, organized advertising boycotts of conservative media figures, media collusion, jamming town hall meetings of conservative representatives, campus antics, and waging war on social media.
At least for now, all these slow-downs are not substitutes for legislative action, but more evidence of political impotence.