Julian Assange says the Democratic Party is doomed.
The WikiLeaks founder laid out his reasons on TwitLonger in a June 25 post, along with a bit of advice for demoralized Democrats.
“The Democratic establishment has vortexed the party's narrative energy into hysteria about Russia (a state with a lower GDP than South Korea). It is starkly obvious that were it not for this hysteria insurgent narratives of the type promoted by Bernie Sanders would rapidly dominate the party's base and its relationship with the public. Without the "We didn't lose--Russia won" narrative the party's elite and those who exist under its patronage would be purged for being electorally incompetent and ideologically passé. The collapse of the Democratic vote over the last eight years is at every level, city, state, Congressional and presidential.
It corresponds to the domination of Democratic decision making structures by a professional, educated, urban service class and to the shocking decline in health and longevity of white males, who together with their wives, daughters, mothers, etc. comprise 63% of the US population (2010 census). Unlike other industrialized countries US male real wages (all ethnic groups combined) have not increased since 1973. In trying to stimulate engagement of non-whites and women Democrats have aggressively promoted identity politics. This short-term tactic has led to the inevitable strategic catastrophe of the white and male super majorities responding by seeing themselves as an unserviced political identity group. Consequently in response to sotto-voce suggestions that Trump would service this group 53% of all men voted for Trump, 53% of white women and 63% of white men (PEW Research).”
The solution? Assange advises Democrats to form a new party.
“The Democratic base should move to start a new party since the party elite shows no signs that they will give up power. This can be done quickly and cheaply as a result of the internet and databases of peoples' political preferences. This reality is proven in practice with the rapid construction of the Macron, Sanders and Trump campaigns from nothing. The existing Democratic party may well have negative reputational capital, stimulating a Macron-style clean slate approach.”
We’ve touched on some of the Democratic Party’s recent struggles, from the loss of working class voters that once formed the foundation of the party to its reliance on divisive racial politics.
But form a new party? That sounds rather extreme. Wouldn’t a better solution be to abandon the party’s reliance on identity politics, which has fractured its party?
Maybe. But perhaps it’s not that simple. As Noah Rothman pointed out in Commentary magazine earlier this year, even Democrats who see identity politics as a poisonous offer no method to return to the status quo ante:
“There’s a reason for that: there isn’t one—at least, not an easy one. Political movements are not party committees. They don’t radically redefine their mission at the drop of a white paper. The modern activist left was reared on toxic identity politics, and it seems disinclined to abandon this addictive poison without a struggle.”
If Rothman is correct, and Democrats are unable to turn off the monster of identity politics, Assange may actually be right that the Democratic base might be wise to consider forming a new party on new principles.
What would those principles like? Democrats might already have the template:
“We need to rebuild America by abandoning the something-for-nothing ethic of the last decade and putting people first for a change. Only a thriving economy, a strong manufacturing base, and growth in creative new enterprise can generate the resources to meet the nation's pressing human and social needs. An expanding, entrepreneurial economy of high-skill, high-wage jobs is the most important family policy, urban policy, labor policy, minority policy and foreign policy America can have.
The Revolution…is about putting government back on the side of working men and women—to help those who work hard, pay their bills, play by the rules, don't lobby for tax breaks, do their best to give their kids a good education and to keep them away from drugs, who want a safe neighborhood for their families, the security of decent, productive jobs for themselves, and a dignified life for their parents.
[It] is about a radical change in the way government operates—not the Republican proposition that government has no role, nor the old notion that there's a program for every problem, but a shift to a more efficient, flexible and results-oriented government that improves services, expands choices, and empowers citizens and communities to change our country from the bottom up. We believe in an activist government, but it must work in a different, more responsive way.
[It]…is about facing up to tough choices. There is no relief for America's frustration in the politics of diversion and evasion, of false choices or of no choices at all. Instead of everyone in Washington blaming one another for inaction, we will act decisively—and ask to be held accountable if we don't.
Above all, [it] is about restoring the basic American values that built this country and will always make it great: personal responsibility, individual liberty, tolerance, faith, family and hard work. We offer the American people not only new ideas, a new course, and a new President, but a return to the enduring principles that set our nation apart: the promise of opportunity, the strength of community, the dignity of work, and a decent life for senior citizens.”
That was the Democratic Party’s platform from 1992, the year Bill Clinton defeated George Bush.
[Image Credit: Flickr-Francisco Huguenin Uhlfelder |CC-BY-2.0]
Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Washington Times.