If there is one thing that the Democrats claim to uphold, it’s the “working man.” Yet when the much-maligned and misunderstood President Trump took to the podium for his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night, the Democrats sat silently while he proudly announced that millions of middle-class Americans are seeing pay increases, greater employment opportunities, and record tax cuts.
Think about that: the party of Andrew Jackson refused to stand and clap at the news that millions of working-class Americans have seen their lives improved through a combination of good governance and a revitalized economy. Given the last 40 years of Democrat politics, this is not a surprise—but it is shameful.
When President Trump moved on to praise the removal of the Obamacare mandate, mercifully repealed in the recent round of tax cuts, the Democrats not only remained seated—Nancy Pelosi actually started yelling across the House Floor at the cheering Republicans. Keep in mind that the reason the why the Democrats have lost their majorities in both houses of Congress and lost the White House is precisely because of their overreach with Obamacare. The unpopularity of that legislation with working people, particularly those caught up in having to pay the obnoxious fine associated not choosing to purchase a government-approved plan, did them no favors in recent political seasons.
But Democrats appear to be determined to continue with their obtuse reading of the public.
With all of the recent talk about how President Trump is supposed to be undermining the rule of law and eroding hallowed democratic institutions, the congressional Democrats apparently saw nothing problematic in their refusal to clap when President Trump called on Americans to honor law enforcement. And when the president thanked the military (especially the veterans) for all that they do, the Democrats sneered. This shouldn’t be surprising from the party that presided over some of the worst scandals to have ever rocked the Department of Veterans Affairs, but it was not a good look.
The image in the House of Representatives during the State of the Union address was a snapshot of the political landscape of the United States today. The Democrats sat quietly seething in the corner, while the Republicans stood and cheered President Trump on. They were even reluctant to cheer as President Trump praised Congress as a monument to the sovereign American people. Most Democrats have convinced themselves that Trump’s recent successes are not really victories and that he won’t be able to maintain his political success for very long. They cite his alleged unpopularity (I mean, none of their friends like him) and refer to the same polls that failed them in the 2016 election. Yet they are convinced that they are purportedly going to sweep the midterm elections in 2018.
There are good reasons for them to expect some gains, but their understanding about what will drive those gains, if there are some, is skewed perfectly to suit their prejudices.
Watching tonight’s speech, I couldn’t help but wonder if the Left had totally checked out of reality and focused solely on their echo chamber. Did they really think that marginally Democrat voters would be impressed with their performance? The majority of elected Congressional Democrats were caught on camera tonight sneering at the concept of average American workers keeping more of their pay, bettering their lives, and overcoming stifling government regulations. They were caught in stone cold silence at the concept of honoring the flag and the ideas it represents.
The Democrats are banking on President Trump’s alleged unpopularity to carry them forward in their 2018 campaigns. However, that is a born-to-lose proposition going forward. Tonight’s speech proved that while the Democrats snigger and sneer at the Right, the Republicans—led by Trump—are actually doing things to demonstrate their sympathy with the American people and producing results that people can applaud. The Democrats are not “woke” if they fail to recognize this fact.
When he arrived at the Yalta Conference in 1945 to discuss how the Allied powers would effectively divide the world, Franklin D. Roosevelt was infirm and weak. Since he could not use his legs, FDR was confined to a wheelchair. Yet, both the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill and the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, opted to sit down, beside FDR, and allow for the press to photograph them that way. The power of the image was great: the Allies were united and viewed each other (at least publicly) as equals—what’s more, they would bolster each other when needed (as evidenced by Churchill and Stalin’s decision to sit beside FDR for the official pictures rather than to tower above or in front of him).
The power of the image in politics is everything. Regardless of his low approval ratings, the picture the president painted last night decimated the Left’s narrative going into 2018: he recounted real successes; he pointed the country in the direction he planned on taking it; and he offered hope—real hope—to a majority of Americans who’ve not experienced it for at least a decade. He also offered a vision of American unity while the Democrats showed themselves to be committed to division. This is why the Democrats are so keen to import as many illegal immigrants as possible: when left to their own devices, the American people do not agree with the bulk of the DNC’s platform and they want Americans to come together around shared goals and aspirations. They want to live in a powerful country; the kind that inspires respect around the world and that causes other eminent world leaders to know when they should sit down.
What’s more, as the 2016 election proved, neither the RNC nor the DNC can rely solely on their base to win national elections. Rather than fighting Trump at every turn, the DNC should start working with the Republicans and move back toward the center—otherwise they may be surprised to discover that 2018 catches them just as off-guard as they were in 2016.