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Laura Hollis / Oct. 15, 2020

Fear and Loathing in the Democratic Party

Other than despising Trump — and being willing to do anything to get rid of him — what does it stand for?

For the past four years, the national story about the Republican Party has been that President Donald Trump has damaged it, if not destroyed it; that it is in utter disarray and rife with internal dissension; that its voters are fleeing; and that the party must distance itself from Trump if it is to survive (with more pessimistic commentators predicting that it will not survive, no matter what).

But I hear far less discussion about the damage that’s being done to the Democratic Party.

For most of my life, I’ve lived in parts of the country that lean strongly Democrat, and I’ve worked in an overwhelmingly Democratic profession (academia) for nearly 30 years. The Democratic voters I know are cops, teachers, firefighters, professionals and business owners. They are patriots and parents. They love this country. They are devoted to their families and communities, supporters of law enforcement and the military. And, yes, they strongly support equality and civil rights (as do my Republican, Libertarian and Independent friends and colleagues).

They love the Democratic Party they know from their past. But the Democratic Party I am seeing these days does not represent them anymore. It has been wholesale hijacked. And while some see it, many don’t.

The most critical problem facing the Democratic Party is the lack of a core message. Other than despising Trump — and being willing to do anything to get rid of him — what does it stand for?

While Democrats still bill themselves as representing “the little guy,” the party abandoned those voters years ago. Bill and Hillary Clinton bear much of the blame for this; their lust for money led the Democratic Party to pander to big-money interests on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley and even in foreign countries. This shift in position has filtered down to the press, which used to expose corruption but has become the Democratic National Committee’s de facto propaganda arm, with all that entails. Consider the protection given by the media to Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and Ed Buck, for example — all big Democratic pals, donors and fundraising bundlers.

More ominously, the Democratic Party has allowed itself to be infiltrated by Marxists and other extremist groups whose intentions are expressly to dismantle the American political and economic systems. They have embraced activists from the antifa and Black Lives Matter movements, thinking that this will pull more voters to the party. The DNC apparently assumes it can exploit the protests, unrest and violence for its electoral purposes and then turn them off like a spigot if/when it wins the White House and Congress.

This is a dangerous game and likely wrong.

To the extent anyone’s asking about the Democratic Party, it’s “What will happen if the Democrats lose in November?” But the real question is, “What will happen if they win?”

The answer is that all these splinter groups the party has courted will expect their payoffs.

The antifa and BLM protests and violence won’t stop. Why should they? Those tactics have worked; Democratic governors and mayors have caved to the rioters and allowed them to wreak havoc in city after city.

The Green New Deal environmental extremists clamoring to shut down entire industries will expect action to be taken on those fronts, too. And they will be utterly unconcerned with the impact on small businesses, which are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy.

Others who will expect payback include those who demand the police be defunded, that the Second Amendment be abolished and that the federal government take control of housing and zoning. Then there are the perennial demands for the elimination of school choice and for much higher taxes.

Democrats I know who are supporting the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket can’t stand Trump and are fond of the Joe Biden they knew from the 1970s, ‘80s and '90s. They don’t see — or they refuse to believe — that Biden is quite likely a temporary figurehead, and that vice presidential candidate Harris — his likely successor — is a consummate politician whose principles are, shall we say, malleable. This leaves the party at the very top susceptible to manipulation by special interests behind the scenes.

Democrats I talk to don’t see the riots in New York City, Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago, Portland and Kenosha; or the prolonged shutdowns in Michigan, Illinois and New York; or the flight from states like Washington, New York, Oregon, Illinois and California as harbingers of the future. They’ve been told that electing Biden will fix all that, and they believe it.

There are Democrats who see what’s happening. Some including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Joe Manchin are trying to work within the party (despite being courted by the GOP) to bring about the changes they see as necessary. Other high-profile Democrats like Leo Terrell and Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones have all but left the party. And then there are the untold number of former Democratic voters who’ve joined the #WalkAway and #BLEXIT movements and left the Democratic Party.

These events and shifts in politician and voter sentiments are treated as de minimis distractions by the Democrats and the media.

I’m not convinced.

In some very important respects, Donald Trump is a bigger threat to the Democrats than he is to the GOP in that unified opposition to him has enabled the Democratic Party’s national leadership to ignore, deflect attention from or paper over the internal fissures and horrifically bad decisions that threaten the party’s future.

My patriotic friends who still vote Democrat — like the #NeverTrump Republicans — believe they’ll get rid of Trump and all will be right in the world. No one’s asking what they’ll do when they find out they’ve been deceived.

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