Many pundits and thinkers have focused on changes in the Republican Party following the election of Donald Trump. Gone are the go-along, get-along politics Republicans remember from the days of George Bush I and II. They are replaced by a rambunctious president who tweets his mind, who promises to “Make America Great Again,” and who draws enormous and enthusiastic crowds wherever he speaks.
With this transformation of Grandpa’s staid party, some Republicans were so appalled that they became Never-Trumpers, even though for years they themselves had advocated many of the actions taken by the president.
Though some bloggers and journalists have examined in a similar way the changes in the Democratic Party – its shift from the moderate stance of President Bill Clinton to its radical take on all issues today – this subject draws less attention from mainstream media. The party now seems an organ of revolution rather than governance, a far cry from the days when Tip O’Neill and Daniel Patrick Moynihan walked the hallways of Congress. My Uncle Russ, a lifelong Democrat, is surely rolling in his grave.
These changes will only accelerate with the passing of the party’s Old Guard.
Tot up the ages of Dianne Feinstein (87), Joe Biden (soon to be 78), and Nancy Pelosi (80), and you’ll find their combined years surpass the lifetime of our republic. For now, these three elderly politicians are the face and voice of the Democratic Party.
We don’t need a crystal ball to know that this situation will change sooner rather than later.
Who then will become the voice and face of the Democratic Party?
Will it be politicians like Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar? Or will it be governors Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gavin Newsome of California, and Ralph Northam of Virginia?
Either way, we can expect to see a political party increasingly alienated from the middle class and, quite possibly, from minorities increasingly suspicious of the machinations of left-wing social justice warriors. We can expect to see average Americans who work for a living, raise families, and value their freedom reject leftist fanaticism.
Do the Democrats still retain moderates among them, men and women who might attract more independent voters to the party, who haven’t slipped down the rabbit hole with Alice like so many of their colleagues? Can a mainstream politician find a home in a party headed toward full-blown socialism?
Not if Tulsi Gabbard serves as our example.
This attractive, articulate representative from Hawaii served in Iraq with the National Guard and has long worked for the Democratic Party. At the time she entered that state’s legislature, she was the youngest woman in our nation’s history to do so. As a member of Congress, she proposed a Medicare For All Plan, remained a strong advocate of abortion, and generally voted the party line. She toes the party line on the environment and served three terms on the LGBT Equality Caucus while in the House. She’s also the first Hindu to serve in Congress.
Moderate Democrats might find Gabbard an ideal candidate for the presidency. She comes across as levelheaded, being less given to vilifying attacks on those of the opposing party.
But Tulsi Gabbard never even came close to winning the presidential nomination. Not only that – the powers that be never gave her the opportunity to speak at the Democratic Party Convention. She was one of seven candidates who won delegates during the primaries, and was the only oneof these not invited to speak at the convention – perhaps because of her opposition to overseas military intervention, but more likely because she humiliated vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris during the primary debates.
With the snubbing of Gabbard, who by the way endorsed Joe Biden for president, the Democratic Party has made clear its intentions to exile future candidates whose viewpoints fail to measure up to the extreme standards of the party’s left wing.
Some of these radical Democrats have threatened a continuation of violence should their candidate lose. Others have vowed to end the Electoral College, to pack the Supreme Court, and to kill the Senate filibuster should their party capture both the presidency and the Congress.
Either way, they promise to destroy our system of government and our culture.
The influence of older Democrats like Biden, Feinstein, and Pelosi, and all others who recollect the honorable practice of bargaining and political compromise, is fading and will soon disappear altogether.
What will then become of the Democratic Party? More importantly, what will become of the rest of us?
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.