The evolution of the post-Obama Democratic Party is both fascinating and frightening to observe. The 2018 midterm elections brought a cadre of extremists to Congress, and, while many party strategists and senior congressional Democrats attempt to downplay the size and influence of this group, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the struggle for the future of the party now taking place.
In the eight years that followed Barack Obama’s ascension to the White House, the Democratic Party, as a whole, shifted from a liberal to a progressive world-view. Since that time, progressivism has become the new normal, but Democrats now face a new revolution: Socialism – unconvincingly disguised as “democratic socialism” – is on the rise. By comparison, even the progressives are beginning to look like moderates.
The Democrat Upstart Bullies
The upstart radicals, led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), openly berate even members of their own party who do not conform to the new dogma. At the same time, they tolerate no criticism and have never been called upon to defend their extreme positions, their anti-Semitism, and their hatred of white America.
Ocasio-Cortez, who is decidedly short on knowledge but big on demagoguery, is not slow to take stabs at those in her party who don’t toe the socialist line, as Vice President and 2020 hopeful Joe Biden recently found out. Having been widely ridiculed for her Green New Deal and her claim that the world would end in 12 years if climate change were not addressed, AOC jabbed Biden for his own, more moderate plan to tackle environmental concerns.
Addressing the far-left Sunrise Movement on May 14, the bartender-turned-firebrand raged: “And I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act [in the past] try to come back today and say we need a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives.”
Another presidential candidate fell afoul of AOC’s ideological intolerance at the recent convention of the California State Democratic Party. During his pitch to the crowd that booed former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper for saying “socialism is not the answer,” former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) raised doubts about “Medicare for all.” Though a proponent of universal health care, Delaney told the audience: “Medicare for all may sound good, but it’s actually not good policy, nor is it good politics.”
Ocasio-Cortez responded to Delaney in a tweet: “Since there’s so many people running for President (& not enough for Senate), instead of obsessing over who‘s a ‘frontrunner,’ maybe we can start w some general eliminations,” she wrote. “This awful, untrue line got boo’ed for a full minute. John Delaney, thank you but please sashay away.”
It is telling that AOC considers herself qualified to dictate to her party who should and should not be running for president. Equally, it is interesting to note that her use of the phrase “please sashay away” was a clear homophobic slur for which nobody called her out.
Since there’s so many people running for President (& not enough for Senate), instead of obsessing over who‘s a “frontrunner,” maybe we can start w some general eliminations.
This awful, untrue line got boo’ed for a full minute.
John Delaney, thank you but please sashay away 👋🏽 https://t.co/0RDOwbfcgv
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 2, 2019
Delaney later challenged AOC to debate, but the freshman representative does not debate anyone, nor does she tolerate criticism or answer policy questions. When Delaney pressed the issue, tweeting: “At a minimum, we have to be tolerant of different views on achieving the same goal: Universal healthcare,” Rep. Omar responded with a dismissive “No means no!”
No means no! https://t.co/fCRFprwSHk
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 5, 2019
No Compromise, No Debate
Ocasio-Cortez and Omar – along with Tlaib – do not believe in compromise or tolerance. If they are criticized in any way, they claim racism, sexism, or religious bigotry. They are never challenged by the media to defend their agenda or to explain the specifics of how their proposed policies would benefit the country. All the while, they heap scorn upon even their party colleagues and repeatedly make anti-Semitic remarks for which even the leaders of their party are afraid to condemn them.
Former senator and vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman in January said of AOC: “With all respect, I certainly hope she’s not the future, and I don’t believe she is.” The freshman did not take it well. Certainly, the party Lieberman remembers is now extinct.
The members of this young extremist wing are gambling with the very future of the Democratic Party, though. While they push their radical agenda – which is far too close to full-blown socialism for the tastes of most Americans – they lack historical knowledge, political instinct, and most definitely an understanding of economics. They are relying on fiery rhetoric, divisive identity politics, and the hope that they can bully or shame their opponents into silence.
2020 on the Line
With no substance behind their idealism and a distinctly anti-American and anti-capitalist attitude, these new Democrats could seriously damage the party’s chances of success in 2020. Among the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates, just two reflect their radicalism, even though several others try to pander to the extreme left. If neither Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) nor Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wins the party’s presidential nomination, AOC and her socialist colleagues may not be inclined to throw themselves behind Trump’s challenger or they might demand the nominee cleaves to the radical left far beyond what anyone would define as electable.
Ocasio-Cortez likes to say “no compromise.” If a more moderate Democrat (bearing in mind that “moderate” is a relative term) were to become the 2020 nominee, AOC and her cabal will face the prospect of compromising and – should that nominee then defeat the incumbent – waiting for, perhaps, eight years for the chance to field a more radical presidential candidate.
As much as they utterly despise Trump, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the socialist wing of the Democratic Party has no intention of giving an inch in the name of electoral success. They could well be willing to sacrifice another term to this president in order to complete their goal of consuming the Democratic Party from within. This could be the problem the official party leadership now faces: Will this growing and increasingly intimidating extremist faction back a less radical White House candidate in 2020 or hold out for a truly socialist presidential candidate in 2024?
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