Democrats are the new Republicans
When newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked the nation with her primary win over Joseph Crowley, a comfortable 10-term incumbent and rising House Democratic leader, it was really a family fight in an ethnically diverse, predominately liberal Bronx/Queens district over who’s more refreshing and progressive.
But in Washington, DC, the Republican Party rejoiced. Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. She’s not just a Democrat. She’s a Socialist!
For the GOP, Ocasio-Cortez’s win was Crazy Eddie’s Christmas in July.
Finally, Republican candidates fighting the Blue Wave in the 2018 Congressional midterms have something to run on: Fighting the creeping Socialist scourge!
Heavy sigh of relief. Hitching to Trump’s wagon wasn’t working except in blood-red Trump districts that represent a shrinking minority of angry voters. The tax reform bill, Trump’s “historic victory for the American people,” is as politically worthless as a sidesaddle on a sow, as Texans say. Trump’s trade war is hurting workers in a real way. Trump’s gleeful disruption of the healthcare system is threatening people who need affordable coverage and care the most.
Then Trump went to Helsinki and threw America under the bus.
He said he misspoke, but maybe not. Fox News and friends went into DEFCON 1 madly spinning Trump’s disgrace as even many Republican leaders needed to excoriate him. This left GOP candidates — especially those hitched to Trump’s wagon — “disoriented and unsure,” as The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman put it.
But with Ocasio-Cortez a few other progressive Democrats winning primaries, Republicans can change the subject and run on saving America from those terrible horrible no good Leftists.
— The Marxist/Leninists, radicals, revolutionaries and rebels without a clue or any military-grade assault weapons and cammo outfits like the self-anointed patriot militias have stockpiled and displayed in Charlottesville two summers ago
— The pink-hatted feminists, male, female, cis- or LGBTQIAPK, not to mention the LMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
— The bearded and bespectacled college professors who argue about footnotes on peer-reviewed papers nobody else understands or tries to read but indoctrinate our youth to hate America and freedom
— The snowflake safe-space college students terrified and racked by tears over offensive cultural misappropriation including the harm done by Doritos, especially when Dinamita Fiery Habanero, Flamas and Poppin’ Jalapeño flavors are served on Cinco de Mayo with Dos Equis, Corona and an indigenous Mexican distilled beverage and alcoholic drink liquor respectfully called “tequila” with the proper accent.
— The pathetic labor activists clinging to a lost cause like a polar bear on a melting glacier
— The mother protesters waving trenchant yet hilarious signs they spent all night painting with their neighbors, friends, kids and go-along mates.
— Antifa, Black Lives Matter, Elizabeth Warren, decorated Air Force veteran and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, conservative columnist George Will, the conservative National Review staff, and other wild-eyed, off-the-leash crazies
— The Bernie bros and baes, Hillary sore losers in daily group therapy to overcome Trump Derangement Syndrome, and Obama bleating sheep clinging to the old hopey-changey thing and the notion of dignity in the White House.
— The woke baristas in man buns serving strong coffee drinks we need to wake up while trudging to our responsible office jobs they don’t want because it’s easier to live with the parents while creating a killer app sold to Google for $20 million
— The Washington swamp smarty-pants elites, the ones at the liberal Brookings Institution and Center for American Progress, but not the elites at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation.
Even with just a faint smattering of Democratic Socialists in the race, the GOP can now frighten regular Americans by claiming we’re threatened by a new McCarthy-style Red Menace — the “red under every bed” — seeking to subvert our nation, society, freedom and democracy itself. (Although this time it’s not the Democrats giving aid and comfort to the Russians).
Now all Democrats are anti-American leftists — anti-free speech, anti-guns, anti-God, and anti-job-creating free enterprise, but pro-big government, pro-taxation and pro-baby murder.
Democrats, liberals all, promise every free lunch, including free college, socialized healthcare and a guaranteed living wage. As leftists, Democrats also love open borders, gushing with criminal illegals killing, raping and voting for Democrats in their spare time to live for free on our tax dollars after taking jobs beneath our value and dignity to do.
True? Doesn’t matter. It’s what Trump supporters believe.
In reality, a far different narrative is unfolding in Congressional districts across the country.
As the traditional GOP is radicalized down the drain by Trump populism, Democrats have stepped into what Republicans used to be — the solid, reliable, responsible, clearheaded, common-sense party protecting America. Here’s how:
Democrats are the party of national security.
Even before his “blame America First” collusion with Russia, Trump has turned our national defense and security arrangements — nurtured by decades of Republican and Democratic administrations and informed and experienced policymakers — upside down.
Trump is willy-nilly, seat-of-pants, without strategy, slamming long and loyal allies and sucking up to sworn enemies with nothing gained. While he also smears and sneers at the American security agencies that work every day, and even risk lives, to protect us.
As always, Trump “patriots” who know little about protecting our security interests — which ultimately prevents sending our young people off to fight and die in needless wars — are cheering Trump’s mayhem.
Blind Trump followers rationalize his recklessness and fecklessness, insisting — like Pee Wee Herman crashing his bicycle — he meant to do that. They love that Trump is “shaking things up” but when you ask about his plan to make things better, they can’t explain much. Turning Reagan’s view upside down, they trust without verifying, believing there must be a method to his madness.
#MAGAs then trot out the usual ridiculous whatabouts Fox and ilk feed them (well, what about when Obama did this? What about when Hillary did that?). But if President Hillary Clinton had even faintly intimated what Trump declared at Helsinki, Fox would be screaming treason, impeachment hearings would have begun forthwith and the “lock ‘er up!” chants would be deafening.
Or #MAGAs parrot the clinically paranoid deep state conspiracy theories spread by Russian trolls and bots. I’d call this treasonous collusion except maybe Trump was right when he pleased Vladimir Putin by bashing America for our “foolishness and stupidity.”
By “playing down the Russian aggression” and undermining Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into that aggression, “The party of national strength has become an obstacle to the effective protection of the country,” Republican columnist and former President George W. Bush adviser Michael Gerson put it.
Into that void, and maybe by default, it’s the Democrats who are keeping a stable and steady hand on the tiller, seeking to reassure allies, keeping the pressure on adversaries, and protecting America’s role in the world as the sole trustworthy superpower defending democracy.
Democrats are the party of war heroes.
Republicans sneered at John Kerry’s Purple Heart. A GOP president sent American troops to Iraq to die for a political lie. Trump jeers at John McCain’s heroism while his rally crowds — many who’ve never served or sacrificed a single day for our country — cheer. This is disgusting beyond words.
Meanwhile, Democrats have fielded some 150 military heroes and veterans for the 2018 race, according to With Honor, a nonpartisan organization that aims to “help elect principled next-generation veterans to office who will work in a cross-partisan way to create a more effective and less polarized government.
As Politico put it, “From Staten Island to San Diego suburbs, millennials with military résumés are making GOP districts competitive … [p]owering the Democrats’ 2018 hopes.”
As a military vet myself, while my four-year service was easy and long ago, I find this thrilling. And I am supporting Purple Heart veteran Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar against eight-term Tea Party Republican John Carter, a career politician who has never served outside of Texas or in harm’s way to protect our country. But he talks big and tough, puffed up like what is called a chicken hawk.
Democrats are the party of kitchen-table issues.
My dubious reward for contributing to Democratic candidates is being put on fundraising mailing lists that send me appeals for money from candidate campaigns about every 20 minutes. On the upside, this gives me a closer look at what mainstream Dems across the country are running on.
The Dems are focused on some pretty non-Socialist stuff — district issues, fresh faces and approaches, constituent service and representation in Washington, job retraining to fill the jobs open for lack of skills, repairing crumbling infrastructure, ensuring affordable and reliable healthcare especially for those relying on Medicare and Medicaid, and protecting Social Security.
Most Dem candidates are not running against Trump or for any radical agenda that Fox News and the alt-right media claim. They’re not running on environmentalist, feminist or any other -ist causes. They’re running on old Tip O’Neill’s advice that all politics is local.
Democrats are the party of law and order.
Heads are spinning — and both Dr. Martin Luther King and J. Edgar Hoover must be twirling in their graves — that it’s the Democrats who are defending the FBI. Even after former Director James Comey’s bumbling October Surprise hurt Hillary and helped Trump.
It’s the Democrats who are defending the Republican U.S. Justice Department and the investigation into Russia’s espionage against America’s electoral system. It’s the Democrats who are defending the Republican-appointed, lifelong Republican special counsel whose job it is to follow the facts wherever they lead.
It’s the Democrats who are defending the rule of law, due process and innocent-until-proven-guilty that protects both the poor Trump country opioid addict and the asylum-seeking immigrant family at the border.
Imagine: Democrats are now the party of Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Democrats are the party of economic strength.
Despite Trump’s chest-beating about the strong economy and stock market today, his advisers know it was his reviled Democratic predecessor who rescued the economy from near collapse and handed Trump a gift he claims to have made himself.
Remember — when Obama took office in 2008, the housing market and financial system were on the brink of shutting down, turning recession into depression. Eight years later, thanks to Obama’s team and policies, Wall Street and the banks were fully recovered and paid back their bailout, millions of people were saved from losing their homes, and home prices rose 20 percent.
Altogether, under Obama, the economy gained a net 11.6 million jobs while the unemployment rate dropped to below the historical norm. The average weekly earnings for all workers were up 4.0 percent after inflation. After-tax corporate profits also set records, as did stock prices. The S&P 500 index rose 166 percent. Also, the number of people lacking health insurance dropped by 15 million, and while premiums rose, they did more slowly than before. All of this is from the nonpartisan FactCheck.org.
By the way, President Bill Clinton also rescued his GOP predecessor’s failing economy. There’s a pattern here — Republicans tank the economy, Democrats fix and hand off a healthy economy to the Republicans, they tank it, etc.
As for general economic stewardship, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt recounted: “Since 1977, the three presidential administrations that have overseen the deficit increases are the three Republican ones. President Trump’s tax cut is virtually assured to make him the fourth of four. And the three administrations that have overseen deficit reductions are the three Democratic ones, including a small decline under Barack Obama.” So which is the party of fiscal discipline?
Trump acolytes undoubtedly have their own facts, from him or his official state media, aka, Fox News, that prove that Obama was a bad failed loser president. Bless their hearts. I send my thoughts and prayers.
Democrats are the party of decency.
For most of my life, Republicans have positioned as the bulwark against the liberal erosion of traditional good manners, social graces, Sunday school values, discipline and self-control, respect, and a polite and orderly society.
Now Republicans defend — and some thrill in — the shocking, almost daily depredations, degradations and insults to decorum of the Republican president. It’s the Democrats that worry about the terrible example set for our kids, society, public discourse and the nation.
As I mentioned in an earlier piece, a recent Pew Research Center survey in May found that 75 percent of Democrats say it is very important for the tone of debate among political leaders is respectful, while only 59 percent of Republicans do. And only 24 percent of Democrats say personally insulting political opponents is fair game, while 40 percent of Republicans do.
Where have you gone, Barry Goldwater?
I’ll leave aside for now how Democrats are now the party of the sanctity of marriage by extending marriage rights to all who embrace it … the party of personal privacy against government intrusion by defending Roe … and the party of traditional family values by not embracing a president whose personal life demonstrates anything but (how many times have Republicans shamed Democrats for their personal lives?).
On the subject of valuing family, Democrats are now the party of the Pope, evangelist Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) and many other moral leaders who joined them in excoriating Trump’s separation and caging of kids at the border.
Legend has it — perhaps historic fake news — that when the Americans won the revolution as the British surrendered at Yorktown, Lord Cornwallis ordered his army band to play an old English ballad, “The World Turned Upside Down.”
The song dating to 1640 protested how the parliament then tried to make celebration of Christmas more solemn instead of festive.
More currently, “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” features in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton. (“Immigrants — we get the job done.”)
When I was young, Democrats were the party of revolution, of wrecking things, of challenging the establishment, traditions, rules, institutions and basic American values. They didn’t have a plan. They were turning the world upside down.
Now, far from socialists who want to tear down our system, the Democratic mainstream has become the sensible, responsible patriots who want to build something new.
The Dems stand as the bulwark from the populist Trump radical mobs, protecting and advancing what makes America great.
That makes me even more a Democrat today.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer