Guest Commentary / Jul. 24, 2019

Democrats Are Committed to Permanent Revolution

Anyone who has been watching the sudden leftward lurch of the Democratic Party in recent years may want to get checked for whiplash.

Guest post exclusive to The Patriot Post.

By Harlan Hill

Anyone who has been watching the sudden leftward lurch of the Democratic Party in recent years may want to get checked for whiplash.

During his first term, President Obama largely avoided, to the extent that he could, using the bully pulpit to wage a culture war. Sure, Obama oversaw a large-scale government intervention into the healthcare system, imposed thousands of burdensome new regulations, and slashed military spending. But by today’s standards, Obama was practically a moderate in some areas. 

A decade ago, Barack Obama did not yet support gay marriage, refused to comment on the burgeoning identity politics movement, and supported border security to limit the flow of illegal immigration.

Today, the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates defend government-funded abortions for transgender men, call America’s founders white supremacists, and want to stop enforcing our immigration laws altogether.

What has happened to the Democratic Party?

Just three years ago, Bernie Sanders accurately characterized his “democratic-socialist” campaign platform as revolutionary, with its calls for a complete government takeover of the healthcare system, tuition-free public colleges, and doubling the federal minimum wage. Today, though, Bernie marvels that his “radical and extreme” policy positions have become thoroughly mainstream, even unremarkable, among the Democrats’ 2020 candidates — so much so that even Bernie has been hard-pressed to come up with a way to position himself to the left of his rivals.

Bob Johnson, the founder of the BET network and America’s first black billionaire, recently lamented the Party’s leftward shift in an interview with CNBC, saying that while he would like to support a Democrat in the 2020 presidential election, the current candidates are so radical that he can’t bring himself to endorse any of them.

“I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center,” Johnson remarked. He also suggested that the Democrats should tone down their apocalyptic rhetoric about the Trump tax cuts, giving the President an A+ for his handling of the economy and asserting that “If business people are concerned about anything, it’s the clear, clear partisan politics that’s become very wicked and very mean,” which is “not helping the American people, and it’s not helping America as a global nation.”

The rapid ascendancy of extremism within the Democratic Party has certainly been startling, but it shouldn’t be entirely surprising.

Democrats yearn for change for the sake of change. That is their common theme — permanent revolution. Policies are not as important as the construct of big government to deliver solutions for all that ails us as a society. In other words, liberals desperately want things to be different, because they have an endless supply of grievances against this country, but they rarely concern themselves with whether the change they demand would make matters better or worse. 

That’s why Obama’s memorable slogan, “Change,” was so effective — it perfectly reflected the liberal mentality. And while his administration was responsible for major progressive programs, such as Obamacare, extreme environmental regulations, shrinking the military, banking bailouts, Obama was slow to the progressive dance in many ways. 

This basic orientation informs all of their policy positions. “Progressive” Democrats want to rewrite the Constitution to enhance their own electoral prospects, make the American people dependent on government for basic necessities, such as healthcare, and replace traditional American morality with their own brand of moral relativism.

They’ll never be satisfied, though. Every policy victory they notch is only a stepping stone to even more radical proposals down the line. 

American voters are waking up to this reality. Voters who backed moderate Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections are watching those representatives become increasingly marginalized as the Democratic Party’s leadership buckles under constant pressure from the far-left wing of their caucus. 

Obama’s own evolution over the course of his presidency foreshadowed his party’s recent transformation. Obama ramped up his radicalism during his second term in office, fully embracing identity politics, using unconstitutional executive orders to impose radical immigration reforms, and using his influence to help normalize gay marriage. In 2009, you may recall, Barack Obama assured the American people that the Affordable Care Act was not “a Trojan horse for a single-payer system.” By 2016, he was likening Obamacare to a “starter home” that represented “a good first step” toward a completely government-run healthcare system.

In truth, Barack Obama’s “hope and change” propaganda appealed to many of the same instincts as Bernie Sanders’s calls for “revolution” today. Each represents a different rhetorical and tactical means to reach the same strategic goal: upheaval of the social and political order. 

That mentality has long been a powerful force within the Democratic Party, but until recently, it had always been restrained by the Party’s desire to put on a centrist facade in general elections. That facade crumbled with astonishing speed once Donald Trump came along, exposing the undisguised radicalism represented by the current field of Democrat presidential candidates. 

The Democrats’ full-on sprint to the left is so significant, and took place in such historically short order, that you’ll need more than a neck brace to recover.

Harlan Hill is a political advisor, media commentator, and an advisory board member of the Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

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