by Victor Davis Hanson in the National Review on June 27, 2017
If they weren’t trying to destroy the president, Democrats would have to focus on an agenda most Americans don’t support. . .
(T)he current efforts at Trump character assassination may be the best — or only — progressive pathway back to political power.
In the last few days, the Democratic party lost its fourth special House election; . . .billed in advance as likely negative referenda on the contentious first six months of the Trump presidency. . . Shortly before the Georgia election, a hard-left-wing killer attacked the players at a congressional baseball practice, intent on the assassination of Republican legislators. . .
The two events in saner times might have prompted introspection. . . (S)elf-reflective Democrats could begin to grasp why voters distrusted them more than they feared Trump.
Such moments quickly vanished. Progressives saw any remedies to identity politics as worse than the disease of electoral defeat. . . amid the assassination chic and the obscenity of key Democrats. . . Left unsaid was that Obama had virtually destroyed the Democratic party, which during his tenure lost more than 1,000 state and local elections and both the House and the Senate. Obama left a personal legacy of a party agenda that had no popular support, (and) an incoming Republican presidency. . . And progressives oddly loved him for all that. . .
It is said that Democrats are in an existential crisis because of their obsessions with Donald Trump. . . going from one conspiracy theory to the next as collusion begat obstruction that begat witness tampering. More outsider advice is for Democrats to focus instead on their agenda.
But nothing could be more paradoxical. Or rather, what agenda?
Of the Democratic policies once envisioned under Bill Clinton (opposing illegal immigration, dreams of abortions as rare, balanced budgets, workfare, being tough on crime), few are left. In other words, progressives logically obsess about Trump, because otherwise they would have to defend agendas that most Americans simply do not support. . What otherwise would fill the progressive void, if Democrats were not currently obsessed with Donald Trump?
. . . Should Democrats, the party of youth, vigor, hip, cool, hope, and change, simply forget Trump and instead showcase their dynamic leadership and forward-looking activists: a 69-year-old Hillary Clinton, an 84-year-old Dianne Feinstein, a 79-year-old Jerry Brown, a 77-year-old Nancy Pelosi, a 75-year-old Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old Joe Biden, a 68-year-old Elizabeth Warren, or a young 66-year-old Chuck Schumer?
Or should a next generation of minorities and women now take over the reins from ossified progressives — such as an obscenity-shouting Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, or Tom Perez? Does Keith Ellison offer the proper agenda and background profile for national progressive exposure? Should more Pajama Boy candidates such as Jon Ossoff be recruited to highlight the big-city, hip, metrosexual core of the Democratic party?
If freed from the Trump obsessions, would progressives make great inroads by renouncing increased oil and gas production through fracking and horizontal drilling, all while they. . . hope, as did former secretary of energy Steven Chu, that energy prices rise so that subsidized wind and solar will be more viable? Would they run on discouraging thousands of new jobs in the petrochemical, aluminum, and fertilizer industries, given that such companies are relocating to the U.S. to capitalize on its cheap energy?
The Democrats are now a pyramidal party — ethnic-identity groups at the base and wealthy elites on top, all united by a mutual disdain for the half of the population that covers 85 percent of the geography.
The point is that somewhere between 2006 and 2009, Bill Clinton’s formerly competitive Democratic party aged and then evaporated. It was replaced by a hard-left coastal coalition, a pyramidal party — ethnic-identity groups at the base and wealthy elites on top, all united by a mutual disdain for the half of the population that covers 85 percent of the geography.
What followed were universities, Hollywood, the media, and the wealthy damning supposed “white privilege” (a phrase rarely spoken outside of university ethnic-studies departments prior to 2009), as those who did not have privilege were damned by those who most certainly did.
So the Democrats logically grew hysterical over Trump because they had few choices other than a rescue through a Watergate-like crisis. . . Given those realities, Trump Derangement is not a misappropriation of progressive resources. Instead it is logically the chief and only viable message that the current Democratic party has left.