Skip to comments.2005: The Splintering of the Democratic Party
Posted on 02/03/2005 9:04:20 AM PST by Publius
The year 2005 will mark the 72nd anniversary of the New Deal, the seminal event of the modern Democratic Party. Democratic policies and rhetoric all hail from that era of Big Government protecting the American people from Big Business. As long as the party held to its roots in economic equality, it prospered. When it marched boldly into the quicksand of social change, it alienated the Great Middle of American politics and lost its way.
Now the signs are all in place for another great Democratic debacle, but with one major difference. This time, the Democrats are headed for the ash heap of American political history.
New England is where American political parties go to die. In 1814 Alexander Hamilton, guiding light of the Federalist Party, had been dead for a decade. While Hamilton would have argued vehemently against a new war with Britain, preferring instead to resolve differences through diplomacy, he was astute enough to understand that certain arguments stop at the waters edge. When the ragtag remnants of the Federalist Party, then holed up in New England, organized the Hartford Convention to discuss secession, Hamilton must have turned somersaults in his grave. Once Andrew Jackson routed a British invasion at New Orleans, the Federalist position smacked of treason, and the ragtag remnant was annihilated in the next election.
In the 1850's, with founder Henry Clay dead, the Whigs lost their way over slavery. While even the Great Compromiser might have found it impossible to square this particular political circle, the temporizing of the Whigs made them toothless in the face of people who were absolutely sure of what they believed. It took only a few electoral cycles for the Whigs to be replaced by the Republicans.
The Roots of the Democrats Dilemma
In 1964 Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in a popular and electoral vote blowout. One thing that can be disastrous for a political party is for it to get everything it wants. Following the election, the Democrats felt they had decisively won the argument, and Goldwaters defeat cleared the way for the enactment of Johnsons Great Society programs. Medicare and the war on poverty quickly became law, although poverty clearly won over time. The Democrats had achieved the goals set during the Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy years. What was left?
In the late Sixties the Democrats made the error of turning to social change in that era it meant race and promptly alienated a key group of voters later to be known as Reagan Democrats. Ethnic blue collar Democrats were liberal on economic issues and had agreed that the situation in the South was intolerable, but there was no such consensus on de facto segregation in the North. When the courts went beyond the law and ordered busing to promote racial balance, the future Reagan Democrats became angry. Thanks to the rising tide of Black Nationalism and the violence of urban insurrections, sympathy with the problems of black America began to wane.
In the Seventies the Democrats invested their energy in promoting social change via the courts, this time in the area of sexual liberation. At bottom, liberals were trying to change the social attitudes of Americans by judicial fiat to infuse them with the proper revolutionary fervor and they failed to see that the resistance of the Great Middle was but a desire to de-politicize the affairs of daily life. As a rule, social attitudes change at their own natural speed and do not require a political party to push them along. The Democrats forgot this and ceded the Great Middle to others.
As Reagan shifted the Great Middle to the right, the Democrats spent the Eighties in a state of shock and denial. Looking at the Democratic Party, Americans saw a collective of Americas misfits and malcontents, and the result was disastrous. The Democrats had jumped on the bandwagon of social change and had forgotten the economic issues that had made them the majority party. The institutional party had become totally disorganized and obsessed with process while the nominating electorate was dominated by left-wing ideologues. Upset and bewildered, the Reagan Democrats made a new home in the Republican Party.
After the Dukakis debacle in 1988, Mark Russell posed the question, "Why do we expect our generals to be serious men and our brain surgeons to be serious men, but we expect our presidents to be game show hosts?" In 1992 the Great Game Show Host slouched onto the scene. Bill Clinton emphasized economic issues and fudged the social foolishness that had gotten his party into so much trouble in the past. Clintons pitch was simple: Guys, we can take a stand for our beliefs and go down in flames, or we can go back to basics and win.
Once elected, however, Clinton discovered that in running for office from the center, he lacked the political capital to enact any genuine liberal programs. His first major expenditure of political capital was NAFTA, a Republican initiative. A few months into his presidency, Clinton realized with horror that he had become an Eisenhower Democrat. Having sold the party to the lobbyists of K Street to raise enough money to compete with the Republicans, Clinton had robbed his party of its soul. The left wing ideologues took note but kept silent lest they lose the perks and privileges of power. Their day would come, they thought.
Congressional Democrats, ideologically at odds with the president, felt they had the luxury of not marching in step with Clinton and didn't fear him the way they would have feared an experienced operator like Lyndon Johnson. Thus, his health insurance initiative crashed and burned, and Republicans went in for the kill. The post-Watergate reforms had the effect of locking the Congress of 1974 in place for twenty years, but Clinton's failure to produce the promised changes brought in a Republican Congress for the first time in forty years.
Internally, the two parties are very different. The Democrats function like a federation of state parties while the Republicans have always been a top-down organization. This gives the Democrats an edge when they don't control the Executive. Republicans, without the Executive, seem lost. They need a leader to snap them to attention and send them marching in step. Newt Gingrich took that role and made his troops the force of change in the Nineties, but in provoking a government shutdown Gingrich failed to understand the role of entitlements in the American psyche. People had come to expect certain things from their government, and they didn't want anything to get between them and their government checks.
Having lurched too far to the left with Hillary Care, Clinton positioned himself as close to the Great Middle as he could. Unwilling to show the ruthlessness required in politics, the Republicans nominated Bob Dole even when it was obvious months before the convention that he couldn't win. Frustrated by their inability to defeat the slickest president in modern times, the Republicans grasped at a straw held in the mouth of a White House intern.
In retrospect Rush Limbaugh was right. Neither Congress nor the American people would countenance the removal of a president for offenses related to illicit sex. To most Americans in the Nineties, Bill Clintons behavior was not outside the mainstream. By couching the 1998 election as a referendum on impeachment, Gingrich misread the situation.
Talk to ardent partisans about the 2000 election, and youll get two very different versions of reality.
A Republican will tell you that the networks called Florida early and suppressed Republican turnout not only in Florida, but nationwide. Some will accuse the networks of collusion with the DNC in attempting to steal the election for Al Gore. A partisan Florida Supreme Court attempted to keep the theft in motion, but the US Supreme Court honored the Constitution and stopped it in its tracks.
A Democrat will tell you that Al Gore won the national popular vote and the vote in Florida. Bush was selected illegally by a partisan US Supreme Court when his father called in some IOUs. The election was stolen, plain and simple. Bush lost and took up residence in Al Gores big white house.
But the events of September 11, 2001 changed everything.
War, Disconnection and Marginalization
The Republicans were now in power in time of war. With Afghanistan out of the way and Iraq on the table, the Democrats found themselves in a quandary.
The Democratic Party had played a key role in the creation of the United Nations, and there was a strong belief that being a responsible player on the world stage meant not engaging in unilateral action, but working through the UN to gain the support of world opinion. This is the origin of the global test. Had not Jack Kennedy gone to the UN first during the Cuban Missile Crisis? With most of our traditional European allies opposing regime change in Iraq, Democrats were split on whether to authorize an invasion. The initial success of that invasion coupled with the guerilla war that followed furthered splits in the party. The perception of lukewarm support of the war effort on the part of Democrats led to losses in the election of 2002, and the partys left-wing nominating electorate was on the warpath for peace.
At the center of this difficulty is a problem unique to liberals a willingness to accept the adversarys viewpoint if it puts their country in a bad light. Liberals call it being objective, but it is really a lack of faith in America and a lack of faith in traditional American ideals. While fine in peacetime, it is deadly in war.
At their core, these ideals are not American, but UNeesian, to invent a word. To UNeesians, patriotism is a vice. To UNeesians, America doesnt have the right to lead because its hands are dirty, courtesy of slavery, Vietnam or some other flaw in its past. To UNeesians, America, like Israel, is a source of evil in the world.
In time of war, social issues take a backseat. One of the key UNeesian objections to the war in the Middle East is the belief that the money should be spent on something else. Spend it on government-run health insurance, government-run schools or government-run Amtrak, but dont spend it on war. Thats immoral. Spend it on social change. But there comes a time when people become weary of social change and want stability, particularly freedom from attack by foreign religious fanatics.
Nothing bothers UNeesians more than a muscular United States working to mold the world into a place reflective of its traditional values. To UNeesians, these traditional American values are suspect. They remember Vietnam, but not World War II. And when they root for the enemy, as many of them did in the case of Iraq, they step over the line crossed by the ragtag remnants of the Federalist Party in 1814.
Trapped by Ideology
In 2004 the Democratic Party could have run against the Republicans from the right, a technique used successfully by Jack Kennedy. This would have meant taking the war against terrorism to a new level, to include racial profiling and securing our borders. Ordinary Americans not associated with Big Business would have jumped to join a party willing to militarize and seal the borders. This would have led to a stand in favor of economic nationalism, which would have brought many of Patrick Buchanans troops into the party.
But the Democrats instead argued that terrorism was a nuisance and that the US should apply a global test to military action, thus giving Europe and the UN a veto over Americas defense. From its Democratic wing came a hint that America got what it deserved on September 11. Economic nationalism, racial profiling and sealing the borders went against the grain of the partys UNessian values. Further, without that vast army of illegal immigrants in the nations workforce, the declining birthrate would put the sacred programs of the welfare state in actuarial jeopardy.
Socially, the Democrats pushed for a continuation of the sexual revolution when people were tired of being confronted by sex every time they turned on the TV. After forty years of sexual liberation, people wanted a break from overt sex, particularly from the same sex variety. A key issue for Democrats in 2004 was the recognition of gay marriage by fiat via the courts which is not a priority for the vast majority of Americans who are not gay. This has led to the beginnings of an exodus from the party by Hispanics and blacks.
For an economic program, the party has not changed its stance in forty years, arguing for programs that even Lyndon Johnson could not push through Congress. When looking at an economic platform, the Democratic Party can suggest only more socialism. They succeeded in getting a new entitlement prescription drugs for the elderly and they still hope for some form of government-run health insurance, but the party has failed to answer the question, Do you want the people who run Amtrak to take out your appendix? When it comes to economic ideas, even the Mainstream Media admitted 25 years ago that it was the Republicans who had all the good ideas.
The Future of the Democrats
The New Deal coalition has been fraying ever since George Wallace cracked the Democratic Party in 1968 over race. Failure to defend the country and manage the economy has haunted the party at each election. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton defeated Republican incumbents only because of a failing economy.
In 2004, the Democrats nominated a New Englander who was deep in his partys mainstream but was out of step with the rest of the country. In reporting for duty, John Kerry hoped to elide his partys ideological marginalization, but since his defeat the rest of the party has stridently spoken out, raising disturbing questions:
Much of this conflict has played out in the race for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, soon to be Howard Dean, another New Englander. Clintons decision to sell his party out to the Grifters of K Street still rankles. But Deans belief in going directly to the people via the Internet would have credence only if the Deaniacs were more connected to the mainstream. Deans supporters on the Internet, however, are among the most radical people in the Democratic Party. This will only exacerbate the differences between the partys factions.
Todays Democratic Party is made up of K Street Grifters, government workers, the remnants of the union movement, UNeesians, political correctness fanatics, Greens, homosexuals, liberal women and blacks. As Michael Barone has pointed out, blacks are the glue that holds the party together. But as they join the Great Middle, make some money and move into a nicer neighborhood, black Americans start thinking like Republicans, even if they cant say so publicly. Bill Cosby speaks for many middle class blacks who are tired of the antics of their poorer brethren in the cities.
This hodgepodge of factions is not geared to occupying the same political party.
These factions have only one thing in common an insatiable appetite for more government, an appetite not shared by the majority of the American people.
On occasion in American history, concepts like Left and Right become blurred, parties run out of steam and ideas, and a wing of one party wraps around a wing of the other party. Sometimes one party will even splinter. Then the two parties re-form when a new issue arises. The Nineties, like the 1850s, represents a time when one party ran out of steam and ideas, and everybody noticed it.
The Democratic Party is now restricted to Americas cities and to the suburbs of certain states. It is almost absent from Americas heartland. Its values are out of step with the Great Middle. It has forgotten its economic roots and become lost in the swamps of social change once again, vehement in its insistence on forcing that change down the throats of a reluctant nation.
The center cannot hold.
The Democratic Party will splinter like the Whigs. Soon there will be at least three parties on the left: the Green Party, the Labor Party and the Reparations Party. The Grifters of K Street will merely change their spots, as many of them have done since the 2002 election, and switch allegiance to the Republicans now that they control the federal faucet. Americans once represented reasonably well by the old Democratic Party, like Zell Miller, will reluctantly pull up stakes and find a new political home.
It will be another twenty years before a new set of issues emerges that permits a true second party to coalesce. The Republicans may well be running the store for decades.
ping to self
If the GOP is entering majority status, why have they allowed the (essentially) unoppposed reelection of Democrat senators in states where the President is strong?
Arkansas (Lincoln), Nevada (Reid), Montana (Baucus), North Dakota (Dorgan), soon to be North Dakota again (Conrad).
This is not the mark of a strong, national party.
In 1980, there were thirteen Republican Senators from states that Al Gore won in 2000 by 54% or more. By 2000, that number was down to two.
The Democrats have cleared GOP Senators out of the blue states. The Republicans have failed again and again to clear Democrat Senators from the red states.
If the Bush states had the same tendency to "Republicanism" in the Senate as the Kerry states have to elect democrats, we would have 60+ GOP senators right now.
Can you imagine the Democrats allowing a Republican to run unopposed for the Senate from Massachusetts? That is in essence what happened in Nevada, and Montana, and North Dakota.
The GOP may not be as strong as you suppose.
One of Gore's henchmen actually made the General Will argument in November 2000 (If I could search FR by date, we discussed it all then).
This is what they now believe-that the "actual votes" don't really reflect the will of the people, because of late capitalism, false consciousness, and "vote suppression".
Since they should "really win" every election, cheating is just a tool to fulfill the general will.
This, of course, leads directly to war if it is not stopped.
Good piece that highlights many of the reasons for the death spiral of the Democratic Party. Thanks.
Another contributing factor to the Democrats' self destruction, IMO, is the mainstream media's longstanding support for all things liberal. With the press unquestionably championing their agenda (and at the same time being complicit with their attacks against conservatives) Democrats have had little reason to moderate their positions secure in the knowledge that they would always be supported by the media. In effect, there was no governor on them to control their excesses.
During the New Deal when the Republicans were on the ropes and in danger of extinction, they were restricted to New England, where they evolved their Rockefeller Republican strain as a defense.
Are you sure we didn't?
I suspect we did win at least some of those states. In fact I'm beginning to wonder how many Democrats have served out terms that were never theirs to serve. Finally we're starting to fight back publically on vote fraud, but we better hurry up.
Outstanding essay and right on the mark!
Bush gained no votes over Iraq. He in fact lost enough votes to nearly lose the election.
Trivia question: The Republicans use the elephant as the mascot and the Democrats the donkey. What was the mascot of the Whigs?
Answer: A bulldog guarding a strongbox.
The Republicans stole the Whigs' thunder on the importance of commerce and were willing to take a stand on slavery. This was something the Whigs tried to dodge.
Before the 1850's the slavery issue could be discussed dispassionately by the Great Middle, even though discussion on the extremes always led to violence. By the time of the Kansas-Nebraska unpleasantness, and the unwillingness of the Pierce Administration to maintain law and order in the two territories, there was no longer any middle ground.
The Whigs bailed on the major issue of the day, and there was no way they could have survived the upheaval of the Civil War.
Tormenting spokespeople of the other side is the part of political guerilla warfare that happens just before one side takes up arms and drives the conflict to the next level. We have to go back to the period just before the Civil War to see that behavior in our history.
The more radical elements of the Democratic Party, i.e. the "Deaniacs", are pushing events to the edge of violence. What they've forgotten is that it's their adversaries who have all the guns.
And the Deaniacs are going to be the face of the party. I keep asking the question, "If they are certain to lose a countrywide violent confrontation, why do they keep pushing it? What are they counting on?"
My own opinion is that they're expecting outside help. Progressive has always been the code word for Communist and Communism is a religion in that its followers never lose the faith no matter how often and how many places it's proved a failure and an atrocity. It is the cause in their lives that is bigger than themselves.
Most of us thought that Reagan had broken Communism when the wall came down, but religions don't evaporate because they've been rejected by the majority--sometimes they redouble their efforts and the intensity of their fanaticism. The Islamists are just one example.
Communism is still alive and growing again in South and Central America, Russia under Putin, China (hardliners are ascendent), and in a weaker form in Europe, etc. Our "Progressives" can reasonably expect foreign allies if it comes to that.
Our domestic Progressives are now faced with their own local version of the wall coming down and they don't seem able to fight in any way other than verbal violence that is more and more becoming physical as you have shown.
I agree that Hillary intends to win their power back through deceit, but the bottom line is always violent thuggery in the background. If the deceit fails, and I think it will, I think they will resort to civil war which they cannot win unless they have foreign help...
The more radical elements of the Democratic Party, i.e. the "Deaniacs", are pushing events to the edge of violence. What they've forgotten is that it's their adversaries who have all the guns.
The so-called "blue states" secede, announcing that they are entering Canada as new provinces. Both the UN and the EU grant diplomatic recognition to this new Canadian federation, arguing that the US has become such a threat to world peace that its breakup is the only thing that can save the planet. The EU and UN move French, German and other foreign troops to the new Canadian provinces to prevent any move to recover them for the US.
But most "blue states" are really heavily-populated blue counties surrounded by red counties, and the inhabitants of the red counties will take umbrage at this decision by the cities to secede in their name. Unlike the last American civil war which was fought in the south, this one will be fought in the north with patriots being forced to take on foreign troops along with their liberal collaborators.
I got a laugh at a recent FReeper Meet when I imitated the voices of the two sides when they meet at a roadblock.
RED: Freeze! Keep your hands up! Is the Constitution a rock or a tree?
BLUE: A tree!
(sound of machine gun going off)
While I got a laugh at the FReeper Meet, no one reacted to my entry on that particular thread, except for one FReeper who said he had imagined the same thing, and it was his worst nightmare.
Food for thought -- but I don't want to turn this into a secession thread.
The effect of Iraq was much more immediate than the broader foreign policy question. It's possible to ask what would have happened had Iraq gone better, while to ask who would have won had there been no 9/11 is to get deep into counterfactual history and fantasy. But if we're asking about longer term trends, Bush's security uptick may not be a more lasting gain to the party than his losses of votes over problems in Iraq. Some of those who went with Bush because of concerns over terrorism aren't going to be convinced Republicans in later elections, while some of those who voted against him because of the war may be lost to the party.
But I don't have a crystal ball and can't predict that. The net effects of the war will depend on what happens over the next four years and how Americans react to it. One thing, though: it's hard to tell how many people swung to Bush because it looked to them like the Iraq war meant that he was serious about terrorism. Doubtless he lost some votes because of the problems on the ground there, but I don't think that's the whole story.
One reason why the GOP is more liberal in those states may have been because the party was so strongly rooted there in earlier years. You could build a Mississippi or Florida or Oklahoma GOP pretty much up from scratch in the 1960s, because Republicans had been rare in those states earlier. The Republicans were also trapped by the ethnic conflicts of the East Coast, and identified with the old oppressors.
For years in New England the Republicans had been the Protestant party and the Democrats the Catholic party, and as the composition of the population changed the Republicans lost strength. They are still a pronounced minority even though the WASP Establishment is now at least as favorable to the Democrats. What's interesting -- and alarming -- is that states where this Southern New England dynamic wasn't a major factor in past elections, like Delaware or New Jersey or New Hampshire have become more Democratic in presidential elections as the Republicans have become the evangelical party.
There's a 19th century parallel to this. The Federalists and Whigs were tied into New England's Congregational establishment. And the rest of the country wasn't interested. They might be Calvinist, but they didn't want their way of life bound up in old Puritan forms and subject to Puritan deference to authority. So the New England states were left holding on to something the rest of the country wasn't buying.
Another reason for the Democrat tilt is that older cities and industrial towns want resources from the federal government. They may not get more than other Americans, but they embrace an ideology that they think will get them what they want. Also, there's not as much cheap land for wide open development in the East, so there's less enthusiasm for economic growth.
New England's great problem was that it didn't have a large hinterland. Virginia and South Carolina were able to stamp Arkansas and Alabama with a Southern identity and to draw on their human resources to promote their interests. The Tidewater and Charleston were backwaters indeed for long decades, but they spoke for a larger region or convinced the region to speak for them. New York was able to do draw people in from all over the country to promote the idea and the interests of New York.
But New Englanders who went West didn't look back or contribute to any New England idea or way of life. Tennesseans and Texans might be as Southern as Virginians, but when Vermonters and Massachusans moved to Wisconsin or Oregon they ceased to be New Englanders in any way. And as the population and the economy changed in New England, becoming less Protestant and less rural, so did New England's politics and culture.
Consequently the region had trouble in the material and cultural competition. What it had to offer didn't "sell" on the national market, and in time, what didn't have appeal elsewhere took root in New England.
There may be more sense than we suppose in New England's choices, though. Steve Sailer wrote an interesting article contrasting the Red Republican states, where people still marry and have children, and the Blue Democrat states which are increasingly populated with the unmarried and the childness. He compares San Francisco's and Los Angeles's responses to growth in recent years. Northern California embraced a low growth Democrat point of view. Los Angeles went in for high growth and rapid development. Both cities have changed a lot in recent decades, but Sailer's idea is that change got more out of control in Los Angeles.
That doesn't mean that San Francisco made the right choice in going left, but Republicans in LA and elsewhere have sometimes overestimated the degree to which they can combine rapid change and conservative politics. Northern California or Vermont choose greater political control over greater economic freedom, but they may simply have chosen a more direct path to where other parts of the country will end up in the future.
Actually the Yankee diaspora still has echoes. Bush ran relatively poorly in most places where Yankees are a significant force. Of course, now it is a reflection of values. Yankees tend to be secular. Kevin Phillips picked this up in his seminal book, The Emerging Republican Majority. On this matter, his thesis continues to have traction.
Your analysis is impeccable, as usual. Thanks.
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It looks a little like Phillips's Irish revenge on the old WASP overlords. The real punchline may be that, as a blue state guy, Phillips now feels more comfortable with the old Yankees than with the today's Republican party.
As a history buff, I like to go back to the 1850's for a comparison. The Whigs wanted to have it both ways on slavery when people were becoming more committed to one stance or another, and more strident about their views. Eventually it killed them, and the Republicans took their place.
But during this period, the Jacksonian Democrats did not get stronger. In fact, they got weaker and weaker as the decade progressed, and their splintering in 1860 over slavery was a key factor that led to the fracturing of the nation.
Turning to today, I understand that the Republicans have not taken on key senators who should have been challenged. As a matter of fact, pulling out of Washington state three weeks before the election prevented Dino Rossi from pulling out a convincing win for governor. But with a limited amount of money available, triage becomes inevitable. Certain people can be challenged, but in this era of permanent imcumbency sometimes you just have to swallow hard and pick your targets carefully.
Is the GOP all that strong? No. But in the absence of Democratic Party strength, all you have to do is hold your own, and you get where you want by default.
Prior to World War II we had an active partisan press in this country. Every city had at least one Democratic paper and one Republican paper. There was no difference between news coverage and editorial stance. All news was slanted, but when you opened up the newspaper you knew what you were getting.
After World War II, with media consolidation, the press took up a bland, elitist, corporatist liberalism, quite different from the radical liberalism one would find among Howard Dean's followers. This is why committed leftists look at our Mainstream Media and immediately pronounce it "conservative". They really mean "corporatist", but they can't pronounce the word or understand the concept.
You are correct in the fact that the Mainstream Media has bedded down with the Democrats so thoroughly that they have lost the ability to control the party's excesses. Until a competing chain of newspapers follows Fox News and re-establishes a strong partisan press, the Democrats are going to have nobody to hold them accountable in the Mainsteam Media.
Fortunately, the Mainsteam Media is dying.
I don't think NH is becoming like DE or NJ.
There are lots-LOTS-of very, very conservative people here-one of the reasons it's so good to live here.
But W has not ever been really popular here-McCain destroyed him in 2000, and although this year was close, he didn't light any fires.
I think it's cultural-the "some people say I swagger, down in Texas we call it walking" just isn't a vote multiplier here the way it is in dark Red America.
This year past, Effin' had hordes of GOTV from over the line, and the top of our State ticket was a sleaze who repelled voters if anything.
We'll be red again next time. Bet on it.
Let me congratulate you on an excellent essay, and thread.
I doubt that secession will precipitate civil war next time, but the seizure of power by the judiciary is a much better candidate, I think.
The Left is building the intellectual structure to neutralize the results of elections. The threads of "suppression", "intimidation", "voter confusion" are simple surrogates for the old bolshevik argument that the masses vote against their interests because late capitalism constructs a false consciousness for them.
What they want, what the courts are soon going to give them, is "corrections" of the actual, arithmetical vote total to add ascribed votes that were either never cast at all, or cast "mistakenly" for the "wrong" candidate.
A Democrat in a statewide or national race cannot win if his/her share of the black potential vote falls below 85% or so. What has been happening is that small numbers of blacks are switching to the GOP, but larger numbers are staying home.
Just as the Left has convinced courts and Fourth Branch agencies to "correct" the census, adding Democrat representatives to the House without the actual, enumerated citizens to justify it, soon they will be suing to add votes to unsuccessful Democrats because of "suppression".
Once they get this (and they certainly will), there will be war.
WELL DONE ANALYSIS, PUBLIUS .. AND LOGICAL CONCLUSION !
We are watching daily the implosion of the Democrat Party. Until the past few months it was a gradual, almost imperceptible thing; now, it seems to be going on in a very public way. Can't say it upsets me one bit.
At the federal level, the chances of this kind of foolishness diminish every year as Republicans consolidate their hold on the courts. When Democrats got a judge on the 9th Circuit to call off the California recall, the rest of the circuit met en banc and reversed that judge because they sensed Scalia warming up his hand to slap them down. Even the 9th Circuit will eventually be brought into line.
During the Florida unpleasantness, a number of arguments were made to give the outcome to Gore. The argument for a revote went nowhere because the Constitution states that federal elections must be held on the same day, and that implicitly forbids a revote for a federal election. The "probably illegal" butterly ballot turned out to be legal when it was litigated. The large number of Jewish votes that went to Patrick Buchanan stayed credited to Buchanan despite the efforts of the Democratic lawyers to add them to Gore's count. The stories about state troopers with dogs harassing black voters and long lines at black polling places were obviously untrue, or those stories would have been the lead on the CBS Evening News the next day.
The US Supreme Court shut down the foolishness in Florida because it was endangering hard-coded dates in the Constitution for the process of electing a president.
In the end one specious excuse after another was shut down either by the US Supreme Court or by Judge Saul on the state court. No dangerous precedent was set, even though Gore's people tried to get such absurd arguments considered by the judiciary. I remember both Justices Scalia and O'Connor ripping Alan Dershowitz a new one during interrogation.
The same arguments were made in Ohio this past election, and nobody cared except a few Hard Left grandstanders in Congress. They didn't have a legal leg to stand on. Long lines or the presence of a white man at a black polling place have no standing.
Here in Washington state, we've just had an election stolen the old-fashioned way, through ballot box stuffing, much the way it's still done in Chicago, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. Here the King County Democratic machine played the angles on "enhancing" ballots, but the key dirty work was done by manufacturing absentee votes based on false registrations.
Yesterday the Democrats used a variety of poorly thought out arguments in an attempt to dismiss a challenge to validity of the gubernatorial election, but no one has raised the late capitalism argument. The judge is the exact opposite of a judicial activist, and he made short work of those arguments. We'll see if the Washington State Supreme Court shows the same respect for the law as written.
So far the attempts to create the precedent you fear have failed, although had the US Supreme Court not intervened in Florida, they might have been able to play that card.
The Left's power is waning, and although their last refuge is in the academy, judiciary and bureaucracy, their fangs are being pulled.
Excellent read and a ping!
bump for later
She has no patience with people less brilliant than
Herself she imagines herself to be.
Well, the SJC "decision" was certainly shocking, especially in the naked use of dicta to reach a pre-chosen result.
However, there is not going to be a civil war over guys who put their willies in the wrong place pretending to be married.
Once the courts get into redefining who won the election, though, they're really seizing power. THAT will require an attitude adjustment.
excellent essay, indeed! Kudos, Publius.
I disagree with this statement. True, many thought Communism was dead with the fall of the Berlin wall, and even moreso after the collapse of the USSR.
However, at that time the Democrats and MSM began substituting "liberal" for "Communism," just as today "Progressive," a catch word for "Communism," is replacing "liberal."
Even many on the left realize that to call a "liberal" or "progressive" by its true name, "Communism," would destroy the basic fabric of the (now) Democrat Party.
*Bump* for later.
The same was true in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Minnesota. However, the driving force behind the GOP in those states were German Lutherans, Mennonites, and Anabaptists.
You also forget the strength the GOP had in Italian areas of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, upstate New York, and even Illinois and northern Ohio from the 1920s-1980s.
Beautifully written! Very well put! I enjoyed reading this!
Industrial jobs are going away in China as well.
Great BIG Bump!
In 1896, when the Democrats and Populists merged, and with the fraying of the Republicans' Civil War coalition, the current wisdom was that a new period of Democratic hegemony was beginning. Marc Hanna disagreed.
The Populists were an agrarian party that was socialist on economic issues but biblical fundamentalist on social issues. They were anti-black, anti-Catholic and especially anti-immigrant.
The Democrats were already America's urban party and the natural home of first-time immigrant voters. But the marriage with the Populists now meant that the Democrats had to give up their urban advantage. Further, with people leaving the farms for the cities, the urban landscape with its immigrants was the place where elections would be won.
Hanna responded to the challenge by creating ethnic-American Republican clubs. He sent Italian, German, Polish and Lithuanian-speaking organizers into the cities to expedite getting immigrants naturalized and registered to vote -- as Republicans. This was a way of assimilating foreigners into the American way, by empowering them politically, teaching them the ropes and helping them wield power.
Hanna's plan worked so well it created a new Republican governing coalition that lasted until 1932 when the Great Depression destroyed it.
My late father's (Sicilian) side of the family was greeted by a Republican organizer when they came to Philadelphia in 1908 and promptly joined the local Italian-American Republican Club. They prospered during the Depression, so that side of the family is still staunchly Republican.
My late mother's (Neapolitan) side did poorly during the prosperity of the Twenties and even worse during the Depression, so they became (and still are) staunch New Deal Democrats.
As immigrants assimilated and moved to the suburbs, their interests and viewpoints changed, and so did their polical allegiances.
1. When Mayor Frank Fizzo switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party, he stated that it was a "homecoming to the party of his immigrant father."
2. When King Richard I of Chicago was looking for neighborhoods to bulldoze to build the U of Illinois at Chicago, he chose the near west side Tri-Taylor district. The reason being that the Italians who dominated the area did not vote for machine candidates and, despite being in a gerrymandered ward with Poles and blacks, still often voted GOP in local elections.
You can only get rid of them by shutting off the faucet.
Fizzo=Rizzo. Too much Cava for me last night.
And, it's a beautiful thing!
We splintered in 1992. Your essay completely ignores Perot and his con job that got Clinton elected.
Also, never forget the impact the coddling of murderous maniacs and the abolition of the death penalty by activist judges had on the conservative movement. By the late seventies, crime was a much bigger issue than busing.
Once the dust settled after the 1992 election and the pollsters were able to reconstruct what happened, they concluded that Ross Perot did not elect Bill Clinton. He did, however, deny Clinton a popular vote majority and thus any claim of a mandate.
May I toss in 2 cents from the peanut gallery?
The Left's power is waning, and although their last refuge is in the academy, judiciary and bureaucracy, their fangs are being pulled.
My theory is that the Left is losing power because it has worked its way out of its job. There was a time when a good chunk of the Right (or maybe you could say the American mainstream) was racist and sexist and homophobic and insensitive to the poor (I'm stating this in rough, unqualified terms for the sake of brevity). The Left had a valid argument against these things and had staked out a position against them. Rational, healthy people knew the Left had a point, that the Right had a problem in these areas, so they gave the Left a certain measure of power in order to act as a necessary corrective. Well, time has passed and the Right, thanks to pressure applied from the Left, has accepted this correction. The Right is no longer bigoted in its attitudes towards blacks or women or the poor. In these areas the Right is now healthy. Thus the Left can wither away and die. It has done its work.
On occasion in American history, concepts like Left and Right become blurred, parties run out of steam and ideas, and a wing of one party wraps around a wing of the other party. Sometimes one party will even splinter. Then the two parties re-form when a new issue arises.
One thing we can all be sure of is that new issues will emerge over time. Economic and social circumstances change, and eventally two sides will form, one favoring stasis and the other favoring change.
After the Cold War ended, Francis Fukayama proclaimed "the end of history." Well, we all know he got a rude shock on 9/11. As did all of us.
From the immediate post-Civil War period to 1951, Philadelphia was controlled by one of the most corrupt urban Republican machines anywhere in the country. The Vare and Penrose machines in the early 20th Century vied hard with Tammany Hall 's New York for the title of worst city government.
My late aunt was a schoolteacher and Republican committeewoman who was marked for a judgeship had the party held on in the 1951 elections. It's frightening to think of a woman with no legal experience and who hated blacks on the bench. A lot of black folks were lucky the Democrats won in '51.
Joseph Clark was a good mayor but went on to the Senate. Starting with Richardson Dilworth, the corruption crept back into City Hall, and only the party labels had changed. It took only a decade for the Democrats to become as corrupt as their Republican predecessors.
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