The self-destruction of the Democratic Party is being accomplished so quickly and thoroughly that even Democrats are noticing it. Certainly, the increasing internecine bitterness of Democratic debates is evidence that something is deeply wrong.
The problem isn’t just that socialism is growing like mold on the planks of the party platform. There’s an even deeper, longer-term rotting underneath that needs exposure to the air. We need to step back and take a larger historical view to get a clearer diagnosis of the problem.
The place to begin is with the Left’s (and hence the Democrats’) animosity toward Trump. As many suspected, the impeachment proceedings against President Trump weren’t about actual transgressions, but something much deeper. The hostility will only intensify as we approach November. We await breathlessly while they search for yet another petard to hoist themselves upon in their effort to unseat him.
In the meantime, we might ask why the Democrats—or, more accurately, the entire Left—hate Trump so intensely? Is Trump too unconscionably vulgar and morally compromised to sit in the esteemed office? He’s less crude and abrasive than LBJ (imagine LBJ with Twitter), and he’s far less of a philanderer than John Kennedy or Bill Clinton. That can’t be it.
Perhaps there’s some hidden fault that justifies the savagery with which Trump has been treated by the Left-leaning elite and the media? Taking the long historical view, those of us who’ve been around awhile recall the very same kind of endless, splenetic media attacks on Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush and his son George W.
In fact, taking this long view, the pattern makes clear that any Republican elected in 2016 would have been treated with similar savagery by the press. And this provides our first clue to the deeper causes of the Left’s current crusade against Trump.
The exhilaration that the Left-leaning media felt in being able to bring down Nixon has defined its modus operandi toward Republican presidents in the half-century since. Hence the media’s alliance with the Democratic Party against every Republican president. Elections that go the wrong way must be corrected by the elites who are unencumbered by doubts that they know the right way (or more exactly, the Left way, the only way).
This deeply shared but rarely expressed conviction of the Progressive Left regarding the correcting of elections was the source of Adam Schiff’s blundering revelation: “The President’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box. For we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won.” Translation: the only fair vote would be if he lost; any other outcome must be undone by the Democrat-media alliance.
So there we have it. The Democratic Party has a long-standing problem with democracy. Like the Constitution itself, it stands in the way of what they deem to be progress.
That brings us to another clue to understanding the Democrats’ self-implosion. We need to see it in the larger context of the Left’s undemocratic use of the power of the Supreme Court and of bureaucratic agencies to enforce its agenda from the top down, rather than (as the Constitution mandates) resorting to passing laws through Congress.
The Constitution declares: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” All legislative powers, that is, all law-making. This exclusive granting of power means that the Constitution forbids the Judicial Branch and the Executive Branch (including its myriad bureaucratic agencies) from making laws.
The Constitution’s investment of that exclusive power in Congress alone deeply rankles the Democrats. It means that law-making is an untidy and lengthy democratic process that requires open debate and invites the public input of voters with the power to oust senators and representatives. Imagine how woefully unsuccessful it would have been for the Left to try to pass a law making abortion legal in all fifty states in 1973. The deplorables of the electorate, those still clinging “to guns or religion,” would have never allowed it. That’s why the Left used the Supreme Court and orchestrated Roe v Wade to do the work of the revolution instead.
Now we see the connection. The triple alliance of the Left-leaning media, the intelligentsia, and the Democratic Party tried to use the House’s power of impeachment against Trump in the same way as the Left in general has continually used the Supreme Court: as a top-down remedy to cancel democratic opposition to their larger and deeper agenda.
That’s why the bitter, destruction-by-any-means attack upon Brett Kavanaugh so resembles the bitter, destruction-by-any-means attempt to unseat Trump—and lets us know that Trump himself is not the cause. Precisely because the Left shifted law-making power from Congress to the Supreme Court, the Democrats cannot let a single justice through to tip the balance against them (or a Republican president to nominate him or her). Hence, they must destroy Republican judicial and presidential candidates by any means, fair or foul.
We note the same tactics by the Left outside of Washington in the way that the armies of the politically correct savagely destroy any and all opposition to the advancement of their cause. There are no democratic debates. Those who would present rival arguments are viciously shouted down. Dissenters are branded as Nazis, Fascists, Racists, and haters, and mobbed by phalanx upon phalanx of social media soldiers who threaten their lives, shut down their businesses, and destroy their reputations. As in the heady days of the French Revolution, the Enragés declare that “terror is the order of the day,” and even those who express “insufficient zeal for the revolution” must be punished severely.
The real source of all this implacable bitterness, inside and outside the Beltway, is that there is an unbridgeable cultural divide in America of the same kind but much deeper than that which almost led to the self-destruction of the nation in the Civil War—and sadly, the Democratic Party defined itself by being on the wrong side, both then and now.
For over a hundred and twenty-five years, beginning in the 1830s, the Democratic Party was the party of slavery, and then, from the end of the Civil War up until about 1950, it was the party of segregation. For over a half-century now the Democratic Party has been the party of the Sexual Revolution and hence abortion. Even more reprehensible, it uses its late-in-life conversion to advancing the Civil Rights of African Americans in the 1950s as moral justification for advancing its revolutionary sexual agenda—gay marriage, transgenderism, sexual libertinism, abortion, and all the rest.
Now we have the key to the Democratic Party’s self-destruction. It became clear in 2016 to many in its voter base that the party elites cared far more for advancing the Sexual Revolution than it did for securing jobs, decent working conditions, and good pay for blue-collar workers. When Hillary Clinton treated the blue-collar base accordingly—as deplorable minions—Trump swooped in and snatched them up, and therefore won.
It wasn’t, however, all about economics. Part of what attracted them to Trump is their repulsion for the Democrats’ support for everything from abortion, to gay marriage and the transgender insanity. Blue-collar workers have not been indoctrinated at Left-leaning universities. They tend to think that there are only two genders, male and female, and that they should marry each other. They don’t love abortion. They resent being bullied into silence and submission by the politically correct, the thugs of the Left.
I predict that in the 2020 election, Democrats will find that more and more African Americans are tired of supporting the Sexual Revolution with the hard-won capital of the civil rights movement, and that they will find the courage to break free from their bondage to the Democratic Party.
When one subtracts more and more blue-collar workers and African Americans from the Democrats’ base, the shrinking number is increasingly defined by what remains: the politically correct who fervently support the Sexual Revolution and who have beenindoctrinated at Left-leaning universities—liberal elites, the media, and supporters of Bernie Sanders, who are all pulling the Democratic Party ever further to the Left and away from its moderates, thereby tearing it in half.
Since the Democratic Party’s base is shrinking and will shrink even further, it will have to resort to ever more brutally undemocratic means to try to achieve its ends. The Democrats will have to become even more undemocratic, even and especially against its own members who are trying to save it from self-destruction.
Can the Democratic Party be saved from self-destruction? Yes, I do believe it can—by giving up being the party of the Sexual Revolution, abortion, gay marriage, and transgenderism, just as not so long ago it gave up being the party of slavery and segregation. If it can find this courage, it might recover its lost base and become truly democratic once again.
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Author: Benjamin Wiker
Benjamin Wiker is Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow of the Veritas Center at Franciscan University. Benjamin is, first of all, a husband and a father of seven children. He graduated from Furman University with a B.A. in Political Philosophy. He has an M.A. in Religion and a Ph.D. in Theological Ethics, both from Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Wiker taught at Marquette University, then St. Mary’s University (MN), Thomas Aquinas College (CA), and is now Professor of Political Science and Director of Human Life Studies at Franciscan University (OH). During these many years of teaching, he offered a wide variety of courses in political philosophy, philosophy, theology, history, the history and philosophy of science, the history of ethics, the Great Books, Latin, and even mathematics.
Dr. Wiker is a Senior Fellow at the Veritas Center for Ethics and Public Life, Franciscan University, and Director of Human Life Studies at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. He has published twelve books. He is also the writer and host of EWTN’s. His website is www.benjaminwiker.com. Follow Benjamin Wiker on Facebook.