Right On: Democrats’ relentless race to the left

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OPINION — “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.” So said Ronald Reagan, a registered Democrat until 1962.

Today millions of Democrats, including prominent Democratic elected officials, are voicing similar concerns.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware spoke out earlier this month. “Some members of our party, I fear, are taking the easy road and proposing ideas that might sound great in a tweet, like free college and free health care.”

He decried these “increasingly unrealistic proposals” coming from 2020 Democratic presidential nominee hopefuls and called upon his party to abandon its “relentless race to the left.”

So is Coons a lone wolf, a renegade ready to follow Reagan to the Republican Party?

Hardly: His firm centrist Democratic stands on a number of issues make that clear. But his call to “move from grievance to optimism” is a clear call for the party to abandon its focus on identity politics.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll published in May highlights Democrat’s leftward sprint and the splits that move is causing within the party. While the poll confirms near-unanimous Trump resistance, that resistance is papering over the party’s underlying challenges in moving from grievance to optimism.

In 2004, two-thirds of Democrats called themselves moderate or conservative. Today over half call themselves liberal. And as Coons points out, liberal today is much farther left than it was in 2004.

The poll divides Democrats into three broad categories: professional class, old guard and blue collar. Each segment has about a third of registered Democrats.

The professional class is mostly younger, higher-income, college-educated and white. The old guard is age 55 and older and came of age when organized labor was a major force in the party. Blue-collar members are lower-income, not college-educated and heavily minority.

The professional class is dragging the party ever leftward and is the party’s most enthusiastic supporter of all that Coons fears. It champions grievances such as police brutality, gender discrimination and LGBT rights.

The “Medicare for All” mantra – single-payer health care with a catchy title – is the professional class’ latest brainstorm. Critics have pointed out that it’s much more like Medicaid for all or the scandal-plagued Veterans Administration health service and want no part of it.

Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein of California is one of those critics. “If single-payer health care is going to mean the complete takeover by the government of all health care, I am not there.” Her professional class audience booed her.

Count Feinstein as one of the party’s old guard that favored Clinton over Sanders in 2016 and has the most positive view of Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader. Among Democrats, the old guard is the strongest supporter of traditional marriage, unions and even the right-to-life movement; they are the least enthusiastic about LGBT rights.

The old guard demonstrates just how far the professional class has pushed the Democratic Party to the left. But their age – over 55 – shows they are not the party’s future: Feinstein is 85 years old.

The blue-collar group, largely minority, drinks the Democratic identity-politics Kool-Aid. But as the poll shows, they are noticeably less enthusiastic about most professional class social issues.

Blue collar folks are especially skeptical when it comes to globalization, an unalloyed good to the professional class of both parties. Blue collar Democrats see their jobs heading overseas or being taken by low-wage immigrants.

They have a friend in Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio who praises President Trump’s plan to apply tariffs to steel and aluminum imports. Brown says, “This welcome action is long overdue for shuttered steel plants across Ohio and steelworkers who live in fear that their jobs will be the next victims of Chinese cheating.”

Immigration may be the Democrats’ most divisive issue. The professional class’ strident support of illegal immigrants and sanctuary cities is anathema to many blue collar Democrats. This division in no small part contributed to Trump’s victory.

Republicans find themselves divided, highlighted by the Freedom Caucus’ take-no-prisoners approach to balanced budgets and immigration. The party is struggling to advance its policies on several legislative fronts and frequently finds itself in disagreement with the mercurial Trump.

But unlike Democrats, Republicans on the whole have remained largely steadfast to social values and economic policies for decades. Liberals take issue with those values as they continue to press leftward, finding ever-new causes to support.

As increasing numbers of Democrats, especially younger ones, call themselves liberals, the country can expect more calls for socialist programs and trendy social causes. Liberals are models of inconsistency, claiming to champion individual rights when touting abortion and same-sex marriage. Yet they willingly trample on individual religious rights in the process.

Their collectivist economic socialism – Obamacare, Medicare for All, guaranteed jobs for everyone – is the antithesis of individual freedom and a recipe for national economic mediocrity.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

It’s time to stop being fooled by failed socialist economics and social justice policies hidden behind progressive, tweet-friendly slogans.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Jmfixitman August 2, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Great article!

  • comments August 2, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    a few good points, but then he goes blathering on about “the evils of librul socialisms”. Howard, as a matter of principle you should refuse social security since it is an “evil librul socialism”. If you know anyone dependent on medicare or the VA system you should convince them to refuse those since they are also evil librul socialism. Just by using these socialist programs they are supporting evil. Tell them that.

  • sheepobserver August 2, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Wait a second. Is this not hypocrisy?

    Republicans (which I long to be again, but because of their love for big business/money can’t) seem to me to be the one’s who’ve changed exponentially (most drastically due to Trump). A government that governs least governs best is absolutely what I believe, but just because that’s their motto, doesn’t make it the truth.

    Morality is important to me. Not to the new GOP. I despised Clinton for cheating on his wife, and was happy to see him impeached.
    Lying, totally okay with the new GOP. So many voices chanting “all politicians lie, what’s the big deal? Except for Hillary of course, she needs to be locked up for lying.
    All liars need to be punished, regardless of party! If Hillary is guilty, lock her up. It’s pretty pathetic that they haven’t yet……unless there isn’t any real evidence……..

    Cheating, perfectly fine as long as it serves their party. Again, if Hillary cheated she’s a horrible person, but if Trump did, it’s totally okay? Logic is something the GOP doesn’t grasp very well these days……

    Defending foreign governments manipulating our elections, perfectly okay as long as they’er on the side of the GOP. Really? I mean come on. That is just un-American. I love America, and this is just nonsensical behaviour on the part of supporters of the GOP. Punish Russia, impose sanctions for god’s sake? Nope, let’s just be friends and hug it out? haha Weak leadership at its worst! Obama too! He’s guilty of being a very weak president, but at least I can honestly say he was a good family man with good morals. Damn those who still believe he wasn’t born here! Trump probably spends a good part of his days trying to find a way to nail him as being born in Kenya still……………..

    What about fiscal responsibility? Republicans are known for their adamant stance on it. Until their party is in power. Then, it’s spend, spend, spend. Welfare for farmers (which are actually not “farmers” like mom and pop used to be, but rather rich corporations mass producing low quality food for the masses).

    Where is the real GOP? I don’t see it. I hear about it. I’m told about it, but I see a bunch of republican liberals touting conservative values that are the worst examples of the “values” they’re selling to the sheep that allow themselves to be spoon fed what they WANT to hear/believe.

    At least the Dems aren’t hiding behind (as many) lies. At least the Dems are trying to help the poor, the lost, and the misguided. The rich are just fine, they’re better than the rest of us, no need to coddle them so they can get further ahead?
    The Pubs, which preach about the joys of Jesus don’t seem to get it?

    I just don’t get it.

    • Craig August 3, 2018 at 9:24 am

      You are posting some inaccurate information.

  • Carpe Diem August 2, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Bravo! When you drill down on Bernie you find an empty suit promising free this free that with no way to pay besides debt and taxation.

    Then here comes Cortez. Thankfully she is even stronger in the dense dept, and people are going to #WalkAway including even Obama who didnt endorse her for 2018. (this just made news)

  • mesaman August 2, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Most emphatic statement; “I just don’t get it”. How right you are.

  • commonsense August 2, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Nice piece Howard. The race to embrace fringe groups for the sole purpose of votes has fragmented the Democrats. Imagine running in any sensible district on a platform of open borders, police hatred, raising taxes, and limiting gun ownership.

  • dhamilton2002 August 3, 2018 at 6:44 am

    So, let’s look at your republican accomplishments: The highest new mother mortality rate in the developed world, The highest drug prices in the world. The most expensive health care in the world. The highest murder by gun rate in the developed world. The highest rate or financial inequality in the world. The US ranks 17th in Math, 17th in reading and 21st in science in the developed world. And you are a proud republican. LOL

    • John August 3, 2018 at 8:23 am

      Yawn….#WalkAway, lefty!

    • John August 3, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Spoken like a typical uninformed democrat. Always blame the other side of that which they themselves are guilty of. Do you really enjoy being a sheep?..hahahahaha! #WalkAway

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