Don’t let the Democratic Party leave me

| March 14, 2019 | 1 Comment

by D. G. Martin, One-on-one and host of NC Bookwatch, March 11, 2019.

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, it left me.”

This declaration is not new.

I heard it over and over again back in the early 1980s when old-line conservative Democrats, still smarting from Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights legislation, were looking for a different pathway. And they were finding one. It was blazed by Ronald Reagan and Jesse Helms.

More recently, we heard it from formerly loyal working-class Democrats who felt their party had lost interest in their concerns. They found Donald Trump’s pathway more to their liking.

As the late state legislator Martin Nesbitt, an unapologetic mountain populist, warned me, when you lose these votes once, you will have a hard time getting them back.

Today, Democrats are flirting with losing another important part of their coalition. Worried Democratic leaders see that some of the over-the-top campaign promises of prospective Democratic presidential candidates could drive away a slew of moderate progressive voters who support our competitive economic system.

Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator and current leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, self-identifies as a democratic socialist. Trump, of course, brands all the current candidates as socialists.

Sanders does not run away from Trump’s branding. He takes credit for his ideas being in the platforms of many other Democratic candidates.

In their March 10 article in The New York Times, Jonathan Martin and Sydney Ember quoted Sanders, “Those ideas that we talked about here in Iowa four years ago that seemed so radical at the time, remember that? Shock of all shocks, those very same ideas are now supported not only by Democratic candidates for president but by Democratic candidates all across the board, from school board on up.”

Other candidates are adopting or copying Sanders’s platform of Medicare for all and free college tuition, certainly important ideals but budget-bursting in implementation. Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed breaking up Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook.

Warren and Sanders seem like moderates in comparison to the outspoken super-progressives like newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, known as “AOC.”

In 2017, after the Democrats’ impressive showing in the Virginia elections, Republican columnist Peggy Noonan cautioned, “The threat for Democrats is that they’ll overplay their hand–that heady with their first big win since Barack Obama’s re-election, they’ll go crazy-left. If they are clever they will see their strong space as anti-Trump, socially moderate and economically liberal. Will they be clever? Hunger encourages discipline, and they are hungry. But emboldened progressives will want to seize the day.”

Noonan was right and is still right. Today, Democratic presidential candidates and many youthful activists are seizing the day.

Many young Democrats have no patience for or understanding of the hard-fought gains their parents worked so hard to win. “We have had enough of the centrist, corporatist Democratic–the type of Democrat that my mom would have voted for back in the ‘90s. We just don’t have patience for the platitudes,” one young Sanders volunteer told Martin and Ember.

But the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is due to victories in center-leaning, competitive districts, like the North Carolina Ninth Congressional District where hard-charging, but moderate, candidate Dan McCready nearly won on election day.

If McCready hopes to win the special election in the Ninth later this year, he must distance himself from any connection to socialism.

And if his Democratic Party wants to help him win, it will not allow itself to be branded with Sanders’s socialist tag.

Looking forward to the 2020 presidential election, the Democrats’ greatest asset is widespread disapproval of President Trump.

But, if put to the choice, some traditional Democrats and even Trump haters would still vote for Trump rather than a candidate they view as a socialist.

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” Sunday 11:00 am and Tuesday at 5:00 pm on UNC-TV. The program also airs on the North Carolina Channel Tuesday at 8:00 pm and other time. 

 

Category: NC SPIN Perspectives - Opinions from NC Leaders & Organizations

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  1. Norm Kelly says:

    So, in other words, be a socialist, just don’t RUN as a socialist?
    Do what democrats always do: hide who & what you are until after winning an election. AOC may have run as a socialist and won, but not being from her district (thank God!), I have no idea how she ran.
    What I do know is that Bernie lost. Most of Bernie’s loss was due to the fix being in by the democrat party (the party of ‘level playing fields’ ‘ everyone is equal’ ‘every vote must count even for illegals and felons’). Yet when it came to their own, the democrat party couldn’t stand to let voters actually decide who their candidate would be. The party of openness and fairness refused to let their voters pick their candidate.
    And their candidate was a socialist. Whether it was Bernie or Hildaliar, the candidate would have been a socialist. It’s just that Bernie was honest about it and Hildabeast hid her socialism. She planned to do what socialists do, democrats do, hide her real position until after the election, and then like Obumbler, govern as a socialist. Just like Obummer, she would have said one thing in front of one group and exactly the opposite in front of another group. Oh, wait. She did do that and was recorded doing so; no argument against this statement possible because the records DO exist!
    The only real challenge facing democrats in general is that some of these upstarts, those with no real experience or credit behind them, want to be socialists full time. And since many of their supporters have been indoctrinated in public education, too many will simply accept that socialism is the best way and accept the idea/candidate without questioning if their schemes are possible.
    Will some democrats do the right thing and voter for a conservative/Constitutional candidate, even if that candidate is Trump? Yes, but by & large, democrats either vote for a democrat or they stay home. It’s a rare democrat that doesn’t simply vote for the democrat, regardless of how much they don’t like the candidate. Indoctrination is proving a very powerful ally for democrats. Perhaps that’s one reason they send so much money toward education, and refuse to allow parents to choose their kids school. Give parents choice might just mean fewer democrat voters. Just like preventing voter fraud might mean fewer democrat voters.

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