The New Leaders Must Make Room in the Center
The Democratic Party is about to have a very big problem…
As we go to print, the election outcome has not yet been officially finalized and President Trump shows no inclination to concede. Lawsuits are being filed as recounts are being conducted.
But the Democrats’ problem won’t be Trump refusing to leave office, as some are worrying… It will be the Democratic party itself.
Indeed, one thing in this election cycle is quite certain…
There is a major rift within the Leftist movement that is being seen, felt, and heard – loud and clear.
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If Trumpism forever changed the Republican party, the Democratic party is about to embark on its own bitter tug-of-war as party big-wigs wrestle for power and try to determine the policies of the future…
Will the Democrats be the party of extremist socialists or the party of moderate centrists?
The Democratic Party’s New Crossroads
The 2020 election should be a wake-up call for the Left, proving that neither socialism nor extremism plays well in Peoria, as they say. But convincing the Democrats of this fact could prove challenging and may eventually cause their downfall (though not without some unpleasantness for the country along the way).
Granted, some – like Hillary Clinton – remain delusional, as she and her cronies point to what they consider a stupendous victory…
“It’s a… repudiation of Trump, and a new page for America,” she tweeted — just as the Trump campaign and Republican party filed multiple lawsuits and a recount was ordered in Georgia. Regardless of the eventual outcome, Hillary Clinton and her cohorts should admit that the vote tally proves that this election was hardly a “repudiation” of Trump.
Let me remind everyone, there was no blue wave.
At present, it seems the Republicans have the Senate and flipped many more seats than expected in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, more than 71 million Americans voted for this president – the most Americans to vote for any sitting president in history.
And although many of those 71 million people may not have always liked all that Trump said or the way he sometimes acted, they most definitely approved of his policies. Under President Trump’s administration, America witnessed immense economic prosperity pre-COVID-19. The stock market soared, and median incomes grew at rates not seen in decades.
An estimated 500,000 manufacturing jobs returned from overseas, and the jobless rates for Black Americans, women, Asian Americans, and Hispanics hit record lows. Between 2016 and 2019, incomes for the poor grew 9%. And given the recent economic data, including historic 33.1% annualized third-quarter growth, it’s clear the economy has already embarked on a strong recovery. See, policy matters… Lower taxes and less onerous regulations have contributed to growth. And voters like growth.
Meanwhile, the Democratic party is also composed of those whom I call realists. People like Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger from Virginia who was caught in a candid moment on audiotape obtained by the Washington Post last week scolding her party for allowing the extremists to take hold of the message. She said it nearly cost her the race for the 7th District of Virginia…
The No. 1 concern in things that people brought to me in my [district] that I barely re-won, was defunding the police… We want to talk about funding social services, and ensuring good engagement in community policing, let’s talk about what we are for… And we need to not ever use the words ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again. Because while people think it doesn’t matter, it does matter. And we lost good members because of it.
But Congresswoman Spanberger stands in contrast to the loud, polarizing members of the party – the extremists.
Socialism and its high-volume cousin, communism, may sound promising in theory… Everyone is guaranteed something. Everyone is equal.
The problem, of course, is that these systems in actual practice inevitably lead to hardship. We only have to look at Venezuela, the nation that 20 years ago opted for a socialist existence to see, in real time, a modern-day example of the tragedy this economic path always takes. As I described in detail for the August issue of American Consequences, socialism never ends well.
Despite the promise of equality for all, socialism inevitably ends in a world of haves and have-nots, with those in the bureaucratic government reaping the rewards. Remember the picture of an overweight Nicolas Maduro, the self-anointed president of Venezuela, enjoying a steak dinner as his people starved? He and his cronies have no problem accessing food despite the struggle for their people.
Kamala Harris’ recent comments in an online video showcase the potentially new vice president’s extreme economic positions and preference for socialism. “Equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place,” she is quoted saying.
Indeed, “equality of outcome” is very much the desire of a socialist. It is a goal that’s inherently un-American. Part of our success as a nation is thanks to the ambition and drive of our most successful entrepreneurs for financial and personal gain… And so far, it’s worked.
Would Steve Jobs have created Apple, Bill Gates Microsoft, or Jeff Bezos Amazon if the government was going to take all their rewards? Why work, create, and invest if there’s no benefit on the other side?
The Left wants to prevent individuals from being too successful for fear it hurts those that aren’t… But instead of helping those on the bottom, it punishes those on top, thereby creating a level of mediocrity that is truly un-American.
In the socialist scenario, the goal of a nation is to provide everyone with the equal outcomes – which would result in the failure of our capitalist meritocracy, designed to reward hard work and creativity.
The reality is, like it or not, human beings are self-interested. Capitalism captures the reality of that self-interest, and though not perfect (hence the need for regulation and thoughtful policy), capitalism encourages a willingness to work and create.
While Harris suggests equality of outcome, there is a very vocal cheerleading team that has a huge appetite for attention, power, and the advance of “socialism.”
The Attention ‘Squad’
The self-anointed “Squad” members are so hungry for the limelight that, despite their so-called socialist roots, its chief member posed for the cover of the tabloid magazine Vanity Fair in $14,000 worth of threads. (Don’t you just love socialism?)
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Talib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar view themselves as the future and are making a play for the heart of the party. All four women advocate extremism, socialism, and in some observers’ views (mine included), they are pushing for a form of anarchy via their dangerous “defund and dismantle the police” movement.
Despite criticism within the party from Spanberger and others, the Squad isn’t backing down… AOC seemed downright furious at accusations that her party considers her progressive extremism a threat to its future.
In an interview with the New York Times, the congresswoman who won her district with 70% of the votes lashed out at the Democratic party, accusing the establishment of lacking the “core competencies” to win elections.
Read between the lines… She’s combative and insistent that her operation and her vision will win in the future. Any losses for the congressional members, AOC says, were a result of the party not taking her help. “I offered to help every single swing district Democrat with their operation. And every single one of them, but five, refused my help,” she said. “And all five of the vulnerable or swing district people that I helped secured victory or are on a path to secure victory. And every single one that rejected my help is losing. And now they’re blaming us for their loss.”
Arguing that the party is currently capable of success, she tells the Times, “There’s a reason Barack Obama built an entire national campaign apparatus outside of the Democratic National Committee. And there’s a reason that when he didn’t activate or continue that, we lost House majorities. Because the party – in and of itself – does not have the core competencies, and no amount of money is going to fix that.”
Is Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez the New Obama?
While former President Obama seems to adhere to some rather socialist ideals himself (famously accusing business owners of not being responsible for their own success with the “you didn’t build that” quote), Ocasio-Cortez’s vision almost makes Obama’s seem quaint.
She’s trying to weaponize anti-Trump sentiment. She’s recommending the compiling of a blacklist for half the country, tweeting, “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future? I foresee decent probability of many deleted Tweets, writings, photos in the future.”
All this as fellow Squad member Congresswoman Talib accuses centrist Democrats in her party of trying to “silence” districts and representatives like her… “Me not being able to speak on behalf of many neighbors right now, many of which are Black neighbors, means me being silenced. I can’t be silenced.”
Now, I appreciate the sentiment… And she has every right to speak out on behalf of what she thinks is right. Part of the problem in recent years has been the willingness to shut down speech. We’ve seen this predominately used as a way by progressives to target conservatives through a cancel culture apparatus. It’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it’s a violation of our First Amendment.
However, as much as Talib and others in the progressive wing have a right to their opinion – so do 71 million other individuals who voted for President Trump. And yet… it’s a chief Squad member championing the blacklist.
Meanwhile, other extremists in the Democratic Party, including former members of the Buttigieg campaign operation, have become advocates for a group of Never-Trumpers called the “Trump Accountability Project.” It aims at preventing anyone who worked in the Trump administration from receiving future employment. The effort is the brainchild of The Lincoln Project, which was founded by Never-Trumper Republican strategists. It may be their attempt at trying to stay relevant in a post-Trump world run by the Biden camp.
It’s wrong… It’s highly unfortunate since anyone who believes in our Constitution should believe in the freedom of every American expressing their thoughts.
Nonetheless, one thing is quite clear… The alignment of the Never-Trumpers and the progressive extremists, in this case, proves that politics makes for strange bedfellows.
Meanwhile, the Squad’s attempt to wrestle control from the Center Left could get ugly. While I applaud the group’s ability to express itself – it is their right as Americans to do so – the extremists’ continued presence could prove to have a negative effect on the Democratic party and the country before it’s eventually pushed aside (which is inevitable).
That’s the realist in me… the realist who believes in America and believes in our ability to make the right decisions.
Then again, given the insanity of this moment – who knows?
Perhaps the Democrats will decide that the reason they failed to gain more ground in Congress is because AOC is correct when she says they simply need to push harder, organize better, and fully embrace her socialist movement.
Consider the fact that, at times, it is rather difficult to depict the kind of politicians Joe Biden and Kamala Harris really are. These two appear to be the ultimate politicians – ready, willing, and able to pivot as needed. Harris, for example, built her career in California by putting criminals in jail. Yet on the campaign trail, she championed the “defund the police” movement.
Biden, meanwhile, who once campaigned alongside a notorious segregationist and pushed back against the busing of black children into white neighborhoods for school, considers himself a champion of the African American community (a role even his own vice presidential nominee infamously questioned in the first debate).
It’s unclear whether these two politicians are beholden to any other movement other than their OWN political career advancement. As such, the internal battle between progressives and centrists will continue to take center stage… And the chances of Biden and Harris migrating towards the center, or the extremes, are 50-50.
Socialism Must Exit Stage Left
I hope any movement toward the extreme Left backfires swiftly. I would advise those in the Democratic party to remember this… more than 71 million Americans voted for President Trump.
While it may not be enough to win, it’s enough to prove the point – pollsters are wrong. The mainstream media are wrong. And Americans have had it with “cancel culture.”
In his “victory” speech (Trump has not yet conceded), Biden sounded an optimistic tone. He encouraged both unity and healing. It was a pretty decent speech. (We later learned that one of the contributors from MSNBC allegedly had a hand in writing it.) Biden, in all fairness, did a good job. He was articulate, didn’t flub his words (which for him, matters) and tried to reach out to the other side saying,
Together – on eagle’s wings – we embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do. With full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and in each other, with a love of country – and a thirst for justice – let us be the nation that we know we can be. A nation united. A nation strengthened. A nation healed. The United States of America.
Of course, I’ll believe it when I see it.
If Biden and the Democratic party are serious about unifying America, they must recognize that this election was NOT a landslide, but a close race that enabled Republicans to flip some House seats while still maintaining power in the Senate.
The delusional ones like Clinton and the extremists like AOC need to exit stage left. If America is to prosper, Biden and Harris must make room in the center – and adopt the economic and international policies that have served this country so well.
Trish Regan is one of America’s brightest and most recognized conservative economic thought leaders. An award-winning journalist, Trish is the host of “American Consequences Podcast with Trish Regan,” a weekly radio show dedicated to economic and political truth, as well as a columnist for several publications.