Issues & Insights
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaigns for Sen. Bernie Sanders in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Photo by Matt A.J.

A Party At War With Its Own Soul

I&I Editorial

The Democratic Party is in a state of panic over an unelectable extremist emerging as the possibly unstoppable frontrunner for its presidential nomination. When an institution is in a crisis like this, its leaders get called on to step in and exercise some leadership.

The problem for Democrats is that their official leaders aren’t their real leaders.

“Bernie Sanders cannot beat Trump,” warns 94-year-old longtime party mega-donor and Joe Biden backer Bernard Schwartz, who is appealing to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to come forward and back one of Sanders’ rivals.

Worse, Bernie at the top of the ticket could have a reverse coattail effect and hurt Democrat House and Senate candidates.

“We are not going to win these critical House races if people in those races have to explain why the nominee of the Democratic Party is telling them to look at the bright side of the Castro regime,” warned former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg during Tuesday night’s CBS debate.

Few if any have financed the Democratic Party establishment as much as New York City investment firm CEO Schwartz, who has given millions to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, and well more than a million dollars to congressional Democrats’ campaigns in the current election cycle. But Pelosi and Schumer can’t risk the embarrassment of backing the wrong horse on the eve of the South Carolina primary and less than a week before Super Tuesday. Biden seems poised for a comeback win in the Palmetto State but Bernie has an impressive lead in the polls in California, and a narrow lead in Texas, the two biggest Super Tuesday states, as well as leading in North Carolina and Virginia, and even enjoying a slim lead in the home state of competitor Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts, all also holding their primaries this coming Tuesday.

What’s more, a Pelosi-Schumer endorsement could hurt more than help the candidate who receives it, branding him or her with the label of the party establishment at a time when grassroots Democrats are crying for leftist revolution.

Author Steve Petrow, a devoted youthful disciple of 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern, whose disastrous campaign lost 49 states to President Richard Nixon, is sounding the alarm to his ideological descendants of today, contending that “while my younger self never would have accepted this, a primary vote for McGovern turned out to be a vote for Nixon. Just as a vote for Sanders now is a vote for Trump in November.”

Nancy and Chuck may be the highest-ranking Democrats among elected politicians in Washington, but they just don’t excite the youngest, most energetic members of their party. And that new generation certainly doesn’t recognize them as their leaders.

From Seeking The Rich’s Revenue To Seeking Blood

Their leaders are Bernie and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez del Bronx y Reinas, who has been campaigning for the Vermont senator as the real deal candidate of the left. A President Sanders might in short time even be joined by a Sen. AOC if she launches a giant-killer primary campaign against Schumer in 2022, as many expect.

To the followers of these two radical Democrats, Pelosi and Schumer are as uncool as the farmer couple in Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic, which they inadvertently self-parodied in their January 2019 response to an address by President Donald Trump on border security.

The 77-year-old, gaffe-prone Biden likely cannot attain the nomination in an environment in which the left, its support now split between Sanders and Warren (and perhaps Buttigieg too), makes up a majority within the party that opposes him. The other candidates marketed as moderates, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and multi-billionaire and former Republican and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, are long shots to bring down Bernie, too.

But beyond the shortcomings of Sanders’ challengers, this dedicated socialist is on the verge of controlling the Democratic Party simply because the party has spent decades embracing the false claims of socialism, even if absent the revolutionary impatience of a Jeremy Corbyn, the hard-left British Labour Party leader relegated to the ash heap of history by last year’s parliamentary elections, or a Hugo Chavez, now-deceased socialist ruler of Venezuela.

The whole premise of ObamaCare, for instance, was that the problem with health care in America was that we needed to find a way to make sure the “insurance companies can’t jerk you around,” as President Barack Obama liked to say. In a massive sector of the economy that was already immensely over-regulated for many years, Democrats have told us unceasingly that the problem is unfettered capitalism.

Democrats were provoking class struggle as a means of getting votes long before Bernie turned the knob up to 11 on the practice. Running for president in 1992, Bill Clinton complained that his opponent, incumbent President George H.W. Bush, had “lowered taxes on people who ride in limousines” and he promised “an America in which the wealthiest – those making over $200,000 a year – are asked to pay their fair share.”

So why should we be surprised when a generation whose minds are immersed in envy and resentment of the successful start linking the distance between a demonization of the rich that seeks revenue and one that seeks blood? How far removed is Sanders’ declaration that being a billionaire is “obscene,” or Ocasio-Cortez’s belief that “a system that allows billionaires to exist” is immoral, from Lenin’s 1917 incitement that there must be “No mercy for these enemies of the people, the enemies of socialism, the enemies of the working people! War to the death against the rich and their hangers-on, the bourgeois intellectuals”?

Sanders and AOC and her “Squad” in Congress are monsters of establishment Democrats’ own creation. They’ve done nothing more than take previous generations of Democrats’ own words to their logical conclusion. Hatred of the economic freedom responsible for the success of America over the course of history became the soul of one of the two parties. So why should Schwartz, or anyone else who has spent decades using money or words to advocate class warfare, be surprised when someone such as Bernie stands poised to take over the Democratic Party – and crash it down in flames this coming November?

— Written by Thomas McArdle

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  • A fine article. I have a disagreement with its headline, though. Political parties are institutions. They per se are morally, ethically and existentially neutral. They have no souls. Only people do.

    The apparent philosophical content of a party is introduced solely by those in it. That in turn changes with circumstance and time. The Democratic Party today promotes ideas fundamentally different from those of the past. If it survives, it will change again in the future, indeed is in severe throes of change right now.

    There is no overarching idea for any political party. There never will be. It operates in the moment, all the time, nothing more.

  • “at a time when grassroots Democrats are crying for leftist revolution”
    While those ‘grassroots’ are small they are loud. Democratic Party primaries have always been controlled by the activists in that Party. Not that many average Democrats attend caucuses. That gives the Leftist activist disproportionate influence. More Moderate Democrats have lost their seats in a primary than in a general election.

    With almost every election in which Democrats took a hit there were those who put forth the argument that the loss was because the Party had not been true to its Liberal ideology. They argued for a more Left leaning approach to issues. The worse the loss the louder the demands for Ideological Purity became.

    ‘Holier than thou’ (‘more Leftist then thou’) is not just a phrase, it is a mechanism by which people in an ideological setting can only advance by being more pure, more ‘holy’ (‘Leftist’), than whoever is in charge last. This mechanism concentrates and defines the competition among activists and their leadership by ideological purity. There are no other metrics available in that setting.

    The old standard bearers were the ‘Moderate’ Democrats and they took the brunt of the Ideological argument. They were edged out by Liberal Democrats in primary after primary. By the late 1980s there were no Moderate Democrats left. The same cycle of loss, recrimination and demand for ever more ideological purity ensued. Now it’s the Liberals who are being purged and replaced in both primary and general elections by Hard-Left Socialists. See: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    Then see the chairman of the DNC: “The Hill – Jul 3, 2018 “DNC Chair Tom Perez: [Socialist] Ocasio-Cortez Is “The Future Of Our Party”.
    The Democratic Party has lost any reason to be a political party. They are at the bottom of their ‘Ideas Barrel’ scraping up ‘Men-who-think-they-are-Women’ to rally around. Being the National Socialists they are it is no surprise that Socialism (Sanders) and Fascism* (Warren) are the ‘New Ideas’ guiding the political empty suit aka the Democratic Party.
    “As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer.”
    Presidential hopeful Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act:
    “Requires very large American corporations to obtain a federal charter as a “United States corporation,” which obligates company directors to consider the interests of all corporate stakeholders. American corporations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue must obtain a federal charter from a newly formed Office of United States Corporations at the Department of Commerce.” A United States corporation must ensure that no fewer than 40% of its directors are selected by the corporation’s employees. [It] Permits the federal government to revoke the charter of a United States corporation.”
    “The means of production are nominally privately owned but directed by the State. Private ownership of business is contingent upon submission to the direction and interests of the State.”

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