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It’s almost as if the Democrats cultured their newest and shiniest pet in a petri dish. Person of color? Check. Not male, pale, or stale? You bet. Millennial? Goody. Tenuous link to the struggles of people Democrats used to care about? Gotcha.
Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez is the “future” of the party, at least according to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. Her shock primary win in New York certainly stirred a denuded Democratic Party eager to marry the narrative of the enbubbled, to the “oppressed” they’re keen to “help.”
But while the political equivalent of organic bulgur wheat might excite the Democrats’ frothing base of left-wing miserablists disdainful of anything that could make someone, somewhere happy, most Americans—by a frightful margin—prefer steak.
The pace of this change is dizzying, and perhaps telling of how desperate Democrats are for a morsel of positive news. Ocasia-Cortez enjoyed muted support within the pages of The Nation and The New Republic, but non-groupies hadn’t heard of her until a few weeks ago. The votes rolled in, and New York’s 10-term 14th district Rep. Joe Crowley rolled out.
Immolating Themselves Over ICE
Busying themselves feverishly, each 2020 hopeful now cleaves to a new litmus-test position virtually nobody on Main Street agrees with. To Mark Lilla’s crumpled brow, Democrats haven’t eschewed the radical politics devouring their once ostensible dominance. They’ve gone large.
You would be forgiven in thinking that the calls to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service were the trollish indulgences of the presumably uber-niche, pro-global warming movement. But no, Democrats lunge leftward in fealty to their infernal base. Abolishing ICE as about popular as abolishing the North Pole.
On the Left, however, this is no longer just the preserve of iPhone insurrectionists or the Buzzfeed Bolsheviks. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is in support. So is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). And, of course, the curator of fine grievances, California’s Kamala Harris is warming. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), meanwhile, is no longer progressive enough. He never was. But, we knew that. Open-borders is a “Koch brothers proposal,” right, Bernie?
Guiltily simmering in their white privilege, Warren, Gillibrand, and the Democratic high command have fastened suicide belts around their waists and stolen for the White House. But, there are barely 72 votes, let alone 72 virgins. Paradise has a strict guest list. Abolish ICE? It’s a thing, now.
Extremism on the Left
As usual, the new Democrats burrow themselves tick-like within the cranium of ordinary America. The outrage thing, no doubt, is becoming a little wearisome. But they’ve no choice. Democrats are now beholden to an extremist sect bent on intifada. Mainly because democracy tends to disappoint half a nation.
Those professional placards bobbing atop protesting throngs may denounce the president as a “fascist,” but his immigration four pillars are about as mainstream as it gets. That is according to the American public, anyway, 63 percent of whom supported Trump’s offer to legalize DACA kids in exchange for a merit-based system, elimination of the visa lottery, and border wall funding. Oh, and the same percentage of Democrats agreed.
The same poll asked whether illegal border crossers should be allowed to stay or be sent home. 64 percent (including just under half of Democrats, and two-thirds of independents) said they should be sent home.
Meanwhile, 69 percent of Americans said ICE should not be abolished. The party’s intellectual Brahmins might want to know that 59 percent of their voters and three-quarters of independents don’t agree with their barmy ideas.
Of course, they don’t want to know. The Democratic Party stopped listening to most of its troublesome voters long ago. Instead, they side with the grievance farmers, whilst jostling for the throne in a feudal microcosm of everything they posture and pose against.
They know it’s too late. Worse yet: their old voters are defecting rightwards. This is true of the GOP. It’s certainly true of the Conservatives here in Great Britain, and center-right parties sweeping up Europe—Sweden being next.
Misjudging the Voters
This is what happens when a party stops listening. And what happens when the purists finally get their way. It happened here. Motley socialists ground their teeth to dust while “their” centrist Labour Party actually won three elections in a row, after 18 years in the wilderness. Then they seized power through now-leader Jeremy Corbyn. This tribute act won’t win an election in my lifetime. (I’m barely 30, by the way.)
That’s not to deny that the emerging Left doesn’t have some appeal. It’s just that they misjudge their support. Politics since the financial meltdown has changed. Rumble against the status quo, and you’ll do nicely.
But the hankering for a different approach to the bankrupt economics that laid waste to the West in 2008 isn’t an endorsement of full-blooded socialism. Populist parties across Europe get this—voters want strong controls on immigration, and an end to the specter of Markets Über Alles. Call it “Trumpism.” (Or not.) Just don’t call it “conservatism.”
So, Democrats can hail the future they’ll never own. But, abolish ICE? Perhaps they should cool down.
Photo credit: Astrid Riecken for the Washington Post via Getty Images