My Advice For The Democratic Party
(Note: For the purposes of the post, I am setting ideology aside and giving my best, most honest, advice to the Democrats about what they need to do to revive their political fortunes. If any of the conservatives reading RWN are worried about that — don’t — they’ll never listen to a conservative).
This is going to be hard for a lot of Democrats to accept, particularly liberals, but quite simply put, today’s Democratic Party is very out of step with the majority of Americans.
Are you a Democrat who doesn’t buy that?
Well then, why is it George Bush was openly calling himself a “compassionate conservative” while John Kerry had to hide his liberalism? Why is it that George Bush was able to run successful attack ads that did little more than in effect say, “John Kerry is a liberal”? Did you notice that at the end of the campaign, John Kerry was giving speeches about his “faith,” hunting, waving semi-automatic shotguns around, and desperately trying to convince the country that there was nothing that he loved doing more than killing terrorists? Come on, let’s be honest here — If Democrats really thought that’s what John Kerry was like, he could have never won the nomination.
Furthermore, have you Dems taken five minutes to consider how some of the things you say and do look and sound to people who aren’t other hard core Democrats? What does it say when you have a guy like Michael Moore who compared Iraqi insurgents to the Minutemen and has said over and over that Americans are stupid sitting beside President Carter at the Democratic National Convention? You think Rush Limbaugh is venomous? Have you ever listened to or read Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert, Ted Rall, Al Franken, Michael Moore, Janeane Garofalo, Bill Moyers, Al Gore, Wesley Clark, Molly Ivins, Robert Scheer, Mark Morford, Eric Alterman, and dozens and dozens of other liberals and asked yourself how vicious they sound in comparison? Hey, people don’t trust a party that has so many prominent members who seem to spend most of their time sputtering in rage and showing complete contempt for people who disagree with them.
That’s enough examples, let’s get to the crux of the problem.
The Democratic Party is probably roughly split 40/60 between libs and moderates. However, all the energy, excitement, and enthusiasm is on the left side of the party. The problem is that those same people are POLITICAL POISON.
In fact, they’re so extreme and out of touch that they’re driving a lot of moderates out of your party. That’s part of the reason why more Republicans than Democrats voted in an election for the first time on Nov. 2nd. It’s also why the South, which used to be full of yellow dog Democrats who’d never dream of voting for a Republican, has now for the most part gone red. They didn’t really leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left them.
And you know what the real danger is? That the Democratic party goes into a “death spiral” which features moderates leaving the party for the GOP because they can’t deal with the extremism of the liberals, which allows liberals to get stronger in the party, which causes more moderates to leave the party, which allows liberals to get stronger, and so on, and so on, and so on until the Democratic party is completely marginalized.
You Dems want to get back into it? Stop running liberals like John Kerry who have to run from their record. Get serious about national defense and start getting behind “John Kennedys” and “Scoop Jacksons” instead of “Jimmy Carters” and “Walter Mondales”. Stop drooling over ultra-libs like Michael Moore and a bunch of Hollywood actors who turn off middle-America. Find some issues that your liberal base can live with, that you think will resonate with the American people, and that you feel comfortable defending intellectually with something other than a variation of “you’re mean” or “you’re stupid” & you’ll start to make some progress. But continuing to run as “not Republicans” isn’t going to cut it.
Republicans are far from invulnerable, but a bunch of bile spewing liberals who pretend to be quasi-conservatives for a few months around election time aren’t going to beat the GOP long-term. So if the Democratic Party wants to win and keep winning, it’s going to have to change…