The following piece was written by Mackubin Thomas Owens, a monthly contributor to the Providence Journal, who is a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, in Philadelphia, and editor of its journal, Orbis.
I was raised a Democrat. My parents, like most people of their generation (Depression and World War II), were Roosevelt Democrats. I, like most of their children, followed in their footsteps.
The first election in which I could vote was 1968 (the voting age was still 21) and I voted for Hubert Humphrey. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either Richard Nixon or George McGovern in 1972, but I did vote for Jimmy Carter in 1976. Carter turned me into a Republican. As Ronald Reagan said, I did not leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me.
But despite my estrangement from the Democrats at the time, there was still room in the party for a Scoop Jackson, a Sam Nunn, and a Phil Gramm. It claimed the mantle of the middle and working classes. It was anti-communist and patriotic. It was committed to free speech and freedom of religion. But those days are long gone. Today’s party would have no place for John Kennedy.
It is now the party of rich bi-coastal liberals who disparage those who grow their food and make things work — the “deplorables” clinging to their guns and religion. It is the party of dueling victimization narratives (mirror, mirror, on the wall/who is the most oppressed of all?). It is the party of blatant anti-Semitism. It is the party of unrestricted abortion against which no opposition will be tolerated. It is the party of socialist policies that have destroyed prosperity across the globe.
The clearest example of this last point is the party’s opposition to the provision of abundant and relatively cheap energy as a generator of economic growth. Thanks to technological innovations such as fracturing (fracking) and multi-directional drilling, the United States is now the number one producer of natural gas and oil in the world.
But this was despite the policies of the Obama administration, which, in thrall of the radical environmentalists and “green” energy, rent-seeking, crony capitalists, engaged in nothing short of a war on oil, gas and coal. But the Democratic Party has now gone farther, with fealty to the “Green New Deal” a requirement for any Democrat with presidential aspirations.
Even more distressing is the sad fact that the Democratic Party has become the anti-Constitution party. Of course, progressives, who have long dominated the Democratic Party, have never been fond of the Constitution as drafted by the Founders. The latter saw it as a framework for sharing power within a republican government, the only form of government capable of protecting the liberty and natural rights of citizens.
Founding progressives such as Woodrow Wilson, on the other hand, saw the Constitution, with its separation of powers and federalism, as an obstacle to their enterprise of using government to solve the country’s social problems. Its checks and balances could not accommodate the necessary new programs and agencies. But the progressives nonetheless paid obeisance to the document, arguing only that its interpretation must change with the times. It was to be a “living” constitution.
But now the Democrats are going further, happily attacking the Constitution itself: it is, they contend, not sufficiently “democratic,” as illustrated by such elements as the Electoral College and the makeup of the Senate, in which each state, no matter how large or small, gets two senators.
The Democratic Party was pulled sharply to the left during the Obama administration. It is poised to shift even more in this direction in 2020. The question is whether a Democratic candidate who is acceptable to the party’s radical base, as represented by such individuals as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, can appeal to a broad, national, constitutional majority, as required by our system. I don’t think so.
Do the Dems even still have a ‘broad, national, constitutional majority’? I’m not hearing any of them talk about getting back to the Constitution or moving closer to the center. The only ones who talk are the nutjob freshmen and the old geezers who want to impeach the President at all cost, and think we should apologize to RashidaTlaib for disputing her Holocaust statement.
If you listen to the celebrities and other Dem supporters you’ll hear the same radical garbage from them that’s being spewed from the Dems in Congress, so if they have a constitutional majority, they’re not speaking up.
The author, Mr. Owens, wrote a good summation of the degeneration of the Democrat party, but he might have missed it on that point – they look pretty splintered up right now. That may prove to be good for Trump, but he’ll have to dodge a lot more of the lies and insults tossed at him.