While President Trump and Congressional Republicans celebrate the closing of a successful 2017, Democrats have little to show for their #resistance.
True, they’ve successfully managed to present a unified front of opposition to Republicans at every turn. But it’s come at the expense of anything resembling a positive, forward-looking agenda.
Rather than commit to actual ideas, Democrats have instead devoted countless time and energy to propagating the false narrative of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. As Deroy Murdock writes for National Review, Democrats’ single-minded focus on a bogus story has cost them both time and credibility:
They are fresh out of ideas and possess no vision. Their relentless allegations about Team Trump’s collusion with “Russia, Russia, Russia” have amounted to a collective hallucination.
Even worse, in a textbook case of psychological projection, the Left’s Russiagate charges mask the only real Russian collusion seen to date: Team Hillary’s purchase of a bogus anti-Trump dossier developed with Russian sources, along with her notorious involvement in the Uranium One deal. This transaction secured for the Kremlin 20 percent of America’s uranium supply in exchange for $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Part of the reason Democrats focused so much time uniting against Donald Trump is that they could agree about very little else. The party spent much of the year locked in a heated argument between centrist elements, which saw that they were bleeding support among the working class and sought to find ways to move to the middle and collaborate with Trump, and the progressive wing of the party, which sought to push the party further toward the Democratic socialism of their figurehead, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The problem with that is that when Senator Bernie Sanders was asked whether he identifies as a Democrat he responded: “No, I’m an independent.” It speaks volumes that the “leader” of the party, and one of the few that actually generates excitement among voters, refuses to identify with the party.
In a desperate attempt to paper over their obvious internal differences party leaders launched a “Unity Tour,” which only served to highlight the ever-deepening divisions between the party’s factions. The tour, which consisted of Sanders and Tom Perez, the newly elected leader of the DNC, was an unmitigated disaster.
Perez was regularly booed by Sanders supporters. It even got more awkward as the two leaders (can you have two?) publicly contradicted each other on numerous issues of importance to voters, including whether to attack Wall Street.
The result, as Chris Reeves write for the progressive blog Daily Kos, was “spectacularly off kilter.”
In one last attempt to put the pieces back together Democrats offered up an economic plan called “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.” If you didn’t hear about it, don’t be surprised. It received more Twitter jokes about resembling the Papa John’s slogan than it did critical analysis from the pundit class.
Ultimately, it has served as yet another example of Democrats’ fundamental conundrum: Do they steer themselves back towards the ideological middle or do they double-down on their leftist rhetoric?
Their plan attempts to straddle both, to poor effect. On the one hand, it doesn’t hold back in its Bernie Sanders-esque critique of businesses and capitalism, arguing that “vulture capitalists” and the “wealthy and powerful” will run amok without heavy-handed government intervention. But on the other, its policy prescriptions are little more than a recycled, reheated version of the same stuff they’ve been trying and failing at for years. As the left-leaning Damon Linker wrote for The Week:
Don’t get me wrong: The policy proposals that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) lists in his New York Times op-ed announcing “A Better Deal for American Workers” are fine, as far as they go: a minimum wage hike; a $1 trillion infrastructure plan; paid family and sick leave; tax credits to get small businesses to “train workers for unfilled jobs.” The problem is that these ideas (and vague talk of beefing up antitrust laws, “rebuilding rural America,” and “changing our trade laws to benefit workers, not multinational corporations”) are embedded in precisely the same message that Democrats have run on since Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign in 1992.
Has any Democrat with national ambitions run for office over the past 30 years without promising a “strong, bold economic program for the middle class and those working hard to get there” (presumably in contrast to the lazy poor people who aren’t working hard)? Without throwing a few punches at vaguely defined “special interests”? Without assuring voters a little defensively (and unconvincingly) that the party isn’t about “expanding the government” or moving “in one direction or another along the political spectrum.”
Despite the internal divisions and the numerous policy defeats (tax reform for the first time in 31 years, anyone?) Democrats are somehow still acting confident in their political hopes. In fact, as David Von Drehle writes in tongue-and-cheek fashion, “Democrats haven’t been this confidence since…2016.”
And unless they quickly change their ways, Democrats’ hubris will lead them to the same exact place in 2018.
Photo Credit: Alisdare Hickson. See more of his work HERE