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‘You can feel it now’: New Democrats push party, and 2020 candidates, to the left on divisive issues

‘There Is Going to Be a War Within the Party. We Are Going to Lean Into It.’

Postby smix » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:12 pm

‘There Is Going to Be a War Within the Party. We Are Going to Lean Into It.’
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story ... tez-224542
Category: Politics
Published: February 4, 2019

Description: The Justice Democrats helped get Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez elected. Who are they after next?

Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortez-Justice-Democrats.jpg

Maybe you’ve heard the warning: The country is beset by a menace. A fringe conservative minority is holding Congress hostage, extracting radical policy concessions over the will of the majority. And it’s leading the nation to fiscal, environmental and moral ruin. Maybe you haven’t heard this part: These dangerous conservatives are Democrats. “I am talking about the radical conservatives in the Democratic Party,” said Saikat Chakrabarti. “That’s who we need to counter. It’s the same across any number of issues—pay-as-you-go, free college, “Medicare for all.” These are all enormously popular in the party, but they don’t pass because of the radical conservatives who are holding the party hostage.” Not long ago, this would have been an outlier position even among American liberals. Today, it’s the organizing principle of a newly empowered segment of the Democratic Party, one with a foothold in the new Congress. Chakrabarti is chief of staff to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the closest thing to a new celebrity Congress has had in years—a 29-year-old former activist and bartender who, on the most recent Martin Luther King Day, sat on the same New York stage as the rapper Common, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and MacArthur “genius award” winner Ta-Nehisi Coates. Although it’s Ocasio-Cortez who gets all the headlines, she arguably wouldn’t be in Congress in the first place without the group Chakrabarti founded: Justice Democrats, a new, central player in the ongoing war for the soul of the Democratic Party. It was the Justice Democrats who recruited her in a quixotic campaign early on, providing a neophyte candidate with enough infrastructure to take down a party leader. And it is the Justice Democrats who see Ocasio-Cortez as just the opening act in an astonishingly ambitious plan to do nothing less than re-imagine liberal politics in America—and do it by whatever means necessary. If that requires knocking out well-known elected officials and replacing them with more radical newcomers, so be it. And if it ends up ripping apart the Democratic Party in the process—well, that might be the idea. “There is going to be a war within the party. We are going to lean into it,” said Waleed Shahid, the group’s spokesman. The top Democrats in Congress have their hands full already, trying to use their new control of the House of Representatives to fight President Donald Trump, expand their majority in 2020, and maybe even capture the Senate. But they also find themselves with real anxieties about their left flank for the first time in memory. Justice Democrats is one of a handful of groups that represent a new and restive spirit in the party, a Tea Party-like populist coalition of voters awakened by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ cannonball run in 2016 and united by their superprogressive politics and a millennial disdain for the establishment. Not all of their efforts have been successful—of the slate of 2018 candidates Justice Democrats recruited, only Ocasio-Cortez won—but they’ve been undeniably disruptive, and unafraid to go after people on their own side of the aisle. Nervous members of the Democratic establishment and leadership are watching, asking: Could they hurt the party as it tries to leverage its first majority in years and defeat Trump in 2020? And do they even care?
***
Four years ago, Ocasio-Cortez was waitressing at a Union Square taqueria, Donald Trump was the host of a fading reality-TV franchise, and Chakrabati was a digital entrepreneur who had nothing at all to do with politics. He was living in the San Francisco Bay Area and working for a digital payment processing company when he suddenly, unexpectedly found himself electrified by a 73-year-old presidential candidate named Bernie Sanders. “I liked what he was saying. He seemed like he was one of the people,” Chakrabarti says. “It wasn’t just that he was a progressive, but that he really cared about building a movement around these ideas.” He reached out to Claire Sandberg, the digital organizing director of the Sanders campaign, who was arranging “Bernstorms” around the country, getting previously apolitical activists together to host phone banking and door-knocking parties. Eventually, it became clear that Bernie wasn’t going to win. But it felt clear to Chakrabati that the political revolution Sanders had stoked was close to coming to fruition. He began meeting with a small group of his fellow Sandersistas to figure out how to channel that energy in the next election. Like Chakrabarti, they were entirely from outside government, and mostly outside politics altogether. Corbin Trent was a political neophyte who’d been volunteering for Sanders in Knoxville, Tennessee; when the food truck he owned burned down, he left Knoxville and joined the campaign in Vermont. Alexandra Rojas was a student in community college in Orange County, Calif., when Sanders announced his run — “It was the first time I got excited about politics,” she said — and started volunteering on campus. Today, she’s the executive director of Justice Democrats, and Trent, the group’s co-founder and former communications director, is Ocasio-Cortez’s spokesman. The group’s current communications director and perhaps fiercest firebrand is Shahid, the only member in its leadership who had any experience in politics before the Sanders campaign. As the 2016 primary got underway, Shahid was working at an immigrants rights legal aid group in Philadelphia; people would come in—asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants—and Shahid recalls telling them, day after day, to just keep watching CNN because Obama was bound to pass something clarifying their status sooner or later. “It was the most demoralizing, uninspiring time of my life,” he said. Disappointed with Obama, Shahid got a job with the Working Families Party, which was all-in for Sanders, and after the election began trying to figure out how to make big systemic changes in politics, or “cultureshifts”—not just winning arguments, but changing the terms of the whole debate. “The idea is that you bring moral questions to the public’s attention, and have the public rally around it,” he says. “Reframe the issue so that the choices are stark, and let the public decide rather than people in power.” He points to how the “99 percent” became a buzzword after Occupy Wall Street; how Obama and Hillary Clinton eventually came to oppose the Keystone Pipeline after supporting it; how “Abolish ICE” quickly went from a fringy Twitter slogan to one embraced by mainstream Democrats. Either you favor ripping kids from their homes, or you don’t. And if you don’t, suddenly the policy choices aren’t incremental: They’re rather stark. The group started meeting up even before the 2016 primary was over, and its members began looking ahead to the 2018 midterms—figuring that any Democratic president would need a very different Congress to get anything done. Along with Cenk Uygur, the progressive activist and founder of the liberal media company The Young Turks, they started a group called Brand New Congress. The original idea was thrilling in its ambition, if absurdly unworkable: They would create a slate to replace Congress entirely, recruiting 435 people across both parties to run for the House, while BNC would serve as the back office for all of them, handling mail, digital, and press. Chakrabarti, Uygur and others saw the effort begin to founder under its own weight. And in the wake of Trump’s shocking win, the notion of a nonpartisan effort to replace every member of Congress with some nonpolitical person didn’t seem as important as creating the sharpest possible counterweight on the left. And so after the election, Chakrabarti, Trent, Rojas, Uygur and others split off to found Justice Democrats. This time, the goal was far more modest: Push the Democratic party closer to Sanders’ politics by challenging centrist Democrats in their primaries. The idea was to recruit 12 working-class candidates to confront incumbents, muster some of that Sanders-style populist energy on a local level and push incumbents to the left. If a couple of breaks went their way, they might even score an upset or two. “After the election, was I mad at Donald Trump? I guess, kinda,” said Uygur, who ended up leaving the group when a series of previously deleted misogynistic blog posts were unearthed. “But mainly I was mad at the Democratic Party for blowing it. How could you lose to this guy?” “I came to realize Democrats are never going to learn,” he said, “and that the only way to make a difference is to defeat the corrupt corporate Democrats. They get paid to lose. The corporate donor pays them to be weak, and pays Republicans to be strong.” The group didn’t have many litmus tests for candidates they were willing to support, but they drew a few red lines. One was a ban on all corporate PAC money, something that soon became standard fare for 2018 candidates. On policy, if you weren’t for Medicare for all, “it usually meant you weren’t our type of candidate,” said Uygur. Even now, Justice Democrats is a shoestring operation. It has no headquarters, no major benefactors and raised less than $3 million in the 2018 cycle, mostly small dollar donations from people not used to much political giving. But it built a 300,000 strong email list by engaging with young activists on the ground and online. A typical “big donor” to the group is Arden Buck, an 84-year-old retired research engineer in Colorado who gave $10,000 after receiving a windfall insurance payout. I found him through public fundraising records; when I asked him how he found about Justice Democrats, he said he saw them mentioned on MSNBC and that he was driven by concern about greenhouse gases and wanted to give money to groups that could use it the most. “I am focused on climate change. If we don’t take care of the environment, social justice is beside the point,” he told me. For all its passion, the group might have been just another voice in the political wilderness if it hadn’t been for the success of Ocasio-Cortez. She had come to the founders’ attention in 2016 when her brother, Gabriel, who had heard about Brand New Congress, nominated her to be one of its candidates. Chakrabarti was still with BNC, and he told Business Insider earlier this month that the group didn’t really see her district as a likely target: It was occupied by Joe Crowley, the powerful 10-term incumbent from Queens, and seemed unwinnable. But after a few phone calls and a meeting, he had a different thought: “Holy Crap. You are an incredible candidate.” As her race heated up, and it became clear that this 28-year-old was actually gaining ground on one of the most powerful Democrats in the House, Shahid encouraged the entire leadership of Justice Democrats to momentarily abandon their other efforts and go all in on running her campaign. The challenge of running a young, underfunded working-class candidate became apparent early on. When Shahid joined Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, she was still working four nights a week as a bartender in Manhattan. He would set up meetings with community leaders only to have Ocasio-Cortez say that she couldn’t do them because they interfered with her work schedule. “I would get so frustrated with her. ‘You can’t do this full-time bartending thing and run for Congress!’ And she would say, ‘What do you want me to do? I have to work.’” They thought they were going to get 30 percent of the vote. Ocasio-Cortez would text Shahid excitedly whenever there was a report that Crowley had moved a little to the left—embracing Medicare for all, for example. That was proof, as they saw it, that their mission was advancing. Shahid says he felt more than a twinge of regret for leading people on. “We would go to these fundraisers in the Bronx, and there would be ex-cops in the room and they would have tears in their eyes. It was a double thing for me. I had just come off the Bernie campaign and here AOC was, she was so fucking inspiring and so charismatic that grown men are crying and I would think to myself, ‘We just have no chance here. Everyone is going to be so disappointed!’”
***
At one level, Justice Democrats’ strategy failed. Their original goal was to recruit 12 candidates, provide them with media, field and fundraising help as needed, and try to pick off a few vulnerable seats. Of those candidates, 11 lost. But they also notched a success beyond anything they’d planned for. Ocasio-Cortez took on one of the most powerful congressional Democrat not named Nancy Pelosi, and by a decisive margin, she unseated him—shaking the party’s power structure and getting nationwide attention for a democratic socialist newcomer who embodied nearly everything that thrilled young movement voters. Several other candidates they’d endorsed, but weren’t as closely involved with, also won, including Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. The Crowley defeat brought to mind Dave Brat’s surprise 2014 victory in Virginia, taking out Republican majority leader Eric Cantor by primarying him from the right. Shahid looks back at the power of what a single race can do, recalling the Politico headline that ran at the time: “Eric Cantor Loss Kills Immigration Reform.” “It was just one fucking race,” he said. “One fucking race and suddenly immigration reform was dead.” The Sanders race had established the existence of a populist Democratic base eager to vote against its own party’s establishment. Now there was an organization willing to lead the charge. “It’s remarkable,” said Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which started a decade ago as a liberal alternative to what it saw as its stodgy counterparts in Washington. “Everybody is so concerned about clout and about relationships, and they have no relationships, so they just go for it, taking big chances.” The fact that Ocasio-Cortez, and for that matter Pressley, Tlaib and Omar don’t hail from the traditional background in a body in which the median wealth is over $1 million is very much part of the point. As Ocasio-Cortez faces criticism for her bank account, her wardrobe and her supposed lack of knowledge of the details of policy, the strategy from Justice Democrats and her team has been to face it head on. “Our theory is that when a working-class person wins, when a person without a political background wins, there is going to be a backlash—you don’t have experience, you don’t know anything, you are dumb,” said Shahid. “All of this happened with Ocasio.” This, as he sees it, is the culture shift, a way of turning the lens around to reveal the now stark choices. “That is an awesome story for people to see, because the way the D.C. media and the conservative media in particular tear into AOC around being a working-class person or a person of color or a Puerto Rican, I don’t think the public likes it very much,” he said. “The public sees a Cinderella story, a bartender who goes against the machine and wins. And you see the way she is dragged by the D.C. establishment and the media, we lean into it, as if to say, ‘If that’s what they think about her, what do you think they think about you?’” In Congress, fellow Democrats don’t know quite what to make of AOC or the Justice Democrats. Ocasio-Cortez’s bark may not be as serious as her bite; although she livestreamed a sit-in of Pelosi’s office, she also voted for her for Speaker and has been supportive of her fellow Democrats. It’s not lost on her colleagues, however, that the group that helped vault her into place—and who have two founders leading her office—is the sworn enemy of the establishment she needs to work with. “In person, she is lovely and is trying to get along with her colleagues,” said the House Democrat. “But she is going to have to navigate the fact it was the Justice Democrats who brought her to prominence, and their currency is going to be continue to shake up what they call the establishment and run primaries against people.” David Hopkins, a professor of political science at Boston College, says systematically targeting fellow Democrats really crosses a line in American politics. “I mean, even the Freedom Caucus doesn’t do that,” he said. “We sort of know how stuff happens in Congress. It requires a lot of negotiation and compromise. Starting a bunch of internal fights within your party is not usually step one.” Some people in Congress closely aligned with the group have publicly distanced themselves from any effort to cast a wide net of insurgent challenges. Ro Khanna, a second-term congressman from Silicon Valley who himself defeated an eight-term Democrat in a primary in 2016, sent Justice Democrats a direct message on Twitter to join the cause soon after they formed. The group considers him, Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, to have been their closest allies in the last Congress; Khanna was the only sitting member of Congress to endorse Ocasio-Cortez. But today he said the party needs for all of its component parts to keep their eyes on the real prize. “Our primary focus has to be stop Donald Trump, to defeat the Republicans, particularly in the Senate. That is the single most effective thing we can do to advance progressive politics,” Khanna said. “I have been encouraging our party to save our fire for Republicans rather than on intraparty disputes.” Ocasio-Cortez herself has sent mixed messages on this score. According to a report in POLITICO, New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone, a moderate Democrat, fought with Ocasio-Cortez on her idea for a select committee on a Green New Deal in a closed-door meeting of Democrats in November. Rather than embrace the narrative of being a firebrand, Ocasio-Cortez, who hadn’t yet been sworn in, denied the story was true. A few weeks later, POLITICO also reported that Ocasio-Cortez and allies were eyeing a primary challenge to Hakeem Jeffries, a young Brooklyn lawmaker who angered progressives in part for taking Joe Crowley’s position in the leadership over the more liberal Barbara Lee in California. Ocasio-Cortez took issue with the story on Twitter, without denying it, lamenting that the article was “printed + distributed to **Congressional offices**” and only later, when pressed by one of her followers, saying it wasn’t accurate. Jeffries’ camp noted, pointedly, that the story didn’t include an on-the-record denial from Ocasio-Cortez herself. They also told me she hadn’t reached out to Jeffries herself to deny it. Jeffries himself was quoted citing the lyrics of Notorious B.I.G: “Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way.” “That quote was sending a message,” said one Jeffries supporter in New York. “I am from Brooklyn. Don’t fuck with me.”
***
For now, it is still unclear where Justice Democrats will fit in among the various groups that emerged in big numbers out of the 2016 election, including Democratic Socialists of America, Indivisible, Brand New Congress, Swing Left and the Sunrise Movement, just to name a few. Justice Democrats made a bet that a single giant felled would rewrite the political landscape, and so far they have been proven right. The Green New Deal, a joint production of Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement, has 45 co-sponsors and is embraced by several Democrats running for president. Justice Democrats helped galvanize support, getting 150 people to sit in at Nancy Pelosi’s office just after the midterms. Shahid, the group’s spokesman, predicted that, besides further agitation on the Green New Deal, the group would attempt to push for free college and an end to mass incarceration. And to force some support, they won’t be afraid to threaten primary challenges against anyone unwilling to sign on. “We already are a pariah in Washington, D.C.,” he said proudly. “It’s about attention. Either it helps you gain leverage because people are scared of you or you lose leverage because people are annoyed with you. We will see.” So far, the results of this aggressive outside game are mixed, at best. Despite the group’s success attracting support for the Green New Deal, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied calls for a select committee on the idea. And 45 co-sponsors is a long way from the 218 needed to actually pass something. “You are not going to make 218 people in one session of Congress afraid,” said Hopkins. “How much leverage does Ocasio-Cortez have? If she can wave her hand and endanger the reelection prospects of even pretty liberal members, then that is one thing. They may not like it, but they will be forced to get in line. But does she have that kind of power? If you take a shot and miss, you are very much likely going to be worse off than even if you didn’t take a shot at all.” “I view these outside groups like this skeptically. Are they trying to build a movement or start a riot?” said Colin Strother, a Texas operative and an adviser to Representative Henry Cuellar, one of Justice Democrats’ top targets in 2020. “I never heard anything about Justice Democrats until a few weeks ago. Are the people running it political professionals? Groups like them, they come along for a cycle or two, they disappear and something else crops up in their place. Democrats do best when we keep our disagreements around the kitchen table instead of in the front yard where everybody can see.” Buck, the Colorado donor, says he is thrilled with Ocasio-Cortez—“She is fabulous”—but wary of what Justice Democrats want to do next. “It is little tricky. People without experience can shake things up, but I worry that they will be sitting ducks for the Republicans.” As they move into the next election cycle, their hope is that Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Tlaib and Omar form more of a unit, one in which they share staff, best practices and strategy, and care less about personal brand-building. Justice Democrats plans to provide cover with its 350,000-person email list and active social media feeds. Limited resources mean that playing in the presidential primary will be difficult, but the energized new left has already seen some of what were once considered its most outré ideas—the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, Abolish ICE and free college—become a central part of several likely presidential campaign platforms. Next cycle, members of the group plan to target from five to 10 House Democrats who occupy safe blue seats. Some names of the targets have already been floated out, like Henry Cuellar, but Sean McElwee, a liberal activist and co-founder of Data for Progress, where he works closely with Justice Democrats, listed a handful more who are vulnerable to a Crowley-sized challenge, including Kathleen Rice of Long Island, Jim Cooper of Nashville and Dutch Ruppersberger of Baltimore. (Shahid, asked if they were targets, declined to list any names.) Strother, the Texas operative, said people from outside Cuellar’s South Texas district—a place where guns and gas drilling are a way of life and an economic driver—don’t understand the absolutism. How, he asked, could a party that prides itself on being welcoming now try to kick apostates out of the tent? “The Republican Party went through a lot of these same fights after they won in 2010, and they were not well-served by them,” he said, “and the Democrats should learn that lesson.” “Diversity is one of the values of our party,” he said. “We have Muslims in our party, we have Buddhists in our party, we have Baptists in our party, we have everything under the sun in our party. We say you can worship what you want, you can love what you want and you can be what you want. Then how is it that we are going to tell people you can’t think what you want?”



‘This is not a day at the beach’: Pelosi tells moderate Dems to stop voting with GOP
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/ ... ts-1195854
Category: Politics
Published: February 28, 2019

Description: House Democrats are divided over how to respond to Republican procedural attacks.

pelosi-at-the-beach.jpg

House Democrats held an emotional debate behind closed doors Thursday over how to stop losing embarrassing procedural battles with Republicans — a clash that exposed the divide between moderates and progressives. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took a hard line at the caucus meeting, saying that being a member of Congress sometimes requires taking tough votes. “This is not a day at the beach. This is the Congress of the United States,” Pelosi said, according to two sources. Pelosi also said vulnerable Democrats who had the “courage” to vote against the Republican motions to recommit would become a higher priority for the party leadership and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the superstar New York freshman lawmaker, suggested she would alert progressive activists when Democrats are voting with the GOP on these motions, said the sources. In the end, Pelosi and other top Democrats didn’t agree to any rules change and will continue to study the issue. The motion to recommit offers the House minority one last shot at changing legislation before it receives a final floor vote. Typically, the motion is used to try to squeeze the majority party, but it rarely succeeds. Democratic leaders have vowed to do a better job preparing for the Republican motions, but the controversy has divided Pelosi and her longtime lieutenants, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. Pelosi argues that Democrats must stick together on procedural votes, which is the traditional view of party leaders on both sides of the aisle. Hoyer and Clyburn, however, have suggested that moderate members can vote with Republicans if they think it will improve their political standing. Republicans have already won two motions to recommit this Congress, including a Wednesday vote that angered Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives. In contrast, Republicans stuck together and never lost a single such motion when they controlled the House from 2011 to 2019. The latest defeat came on Wednesday, as the House debated legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales — a position overwhelmingly favored by Democrats. When Republicans moved to amend the bill to require Immigration and Customs Enforcement be told of any undocumented immigrant who tries to buy a gun, 26 Democrats voted with the GOP. The language was added to the gun bill, spoiling an important Democratic legislative achievement. An earlier GOP motion condemning anti-Semitism was successfully attached to a House resolution barring U.S. involvement in the Yemeni civil war. That maneuver, which was backed by every Democrat, later caused parliamentary problems in the Senate and upended Democratic attempts to challenge President Donald Trump's foreign policy. During the closed-door meeting on Thursday, Pelosi said Democrats who vote for the Republicans’ motions are putting pressure on other vulnerable colleagues who would prefer to stick with the party. “We are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision,” she said. Pelosi told reporters afterward that she thinks Democrats should simply vote against the GOP motions, saying to do so otherwise gives Republicans “leverage.” But Pelosi didn’t endorse the idea, which some lawmakers support, of changing House rules and nixing the procedural vote altogether some lawmakers support. “I’m a big believer in respecting the whole House and the rights of the minority to have their say,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference. “I think we should just vote against all motions to recommit. It’s a procedural vote, it’s a ‘gotcha’ on the part of the opposition.” Inside the meeting, Ocasio-Cortez said she has “a text chain with 200 activists in her district” that she’s in constant contact with on issues facing Democrats. Ocasio-Cortez said she even considered voting against the background checks bill because of the Republican language on ICE, perhaps the most-hated federal agency on the left. Ocasio-Cortez went up to the gallery after the vote to tell activists she “had to choose between immigrants and gun violence. Not because of Republicans, but because of Democrats,” said a source in the room. “I think it is an extension of Trump’s tactics into the House, and we cannot legitimatize it and we cannot allow for it and we cannot support it,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters after the meeting. But other members stood up in the meeting and challenged this view, without specifically calling out Pelosi or Ocasio-Cortez. Freshman Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), who voted for the GOP motion on Wednesday, grew visibly emotional when speaking and pointedly said courage looks different to different people, according to two sources in the room. Some lawmakers and aides exited the meeting frustrated with Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks, with one member saying the freshman’s comments sounded like a passive-aggressive threat to Democrats who vote for the GOP motions. A senior Democratic aide aligned with the caucus’ moderate wing said it was completely hypocritical for progressives to complain about the tough vote they had to take Wednesday. “Moderates are in tough positions all the time, and they don’t shy away from that,” the aide said. “They have to vote their districts or they will be defeated, plain and simple. The rest of the caucus should [understand] that.” Democrats aren’t sure how to handle the issue going forward. Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) is part of a growing contingent who want to get rid of the motion to recommit completely, telling a reporter, “I think this motion to recommit is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.” Vargas spoke in favor of nixing the procedural tool during Thursday’s meeting. “I’ve had my mole for 57 years, it’s right there on my arm,” Vargas told POLITICO after, pointing to his elbow. “And it does no good, either. It just sits there, one day maybe becoming cancerous. … It’s the same thing with the MTR. There’s no good reason for it.” But other members disagreed, with Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) telling his colleagues it would “show weakness” to get rid of the motion to recommit entirely, though he’s not opposed to making changes. McGovern later told reporters that party leaders would continue to review the issue in the coming weeks. “I think that the Republicans — like the Democrats when we were in the minority — used the motion to recommit as a ‘gotcha’ tactic. And I personally, think we shouldn’t fall for it,” McGovern said. “People need to be aware that coming down the road will be ‘gotcha’ amendments that actually gut the bill.” The heated meeting — which several lawmakers and aides described as “confrontational” and “emotional” — is just the latest in a behind-the-scenes debate that has been simmering for weeks. The dispute has divided Democratic leaders and led to sniping among lawmakers and aides about who is to blame. One senior Democratic aide said the fault lies with Hoyer and Clyburn, who need to do a better job of communicating to members, particularly the freshmen, about how they should vote. Another senior aide countered that Democrats wouldn’t have lost so many seats in 2010, when Republicans took back the majority, if “Pelosi hadn’t been so cavalier about members’ votes.” “That should be a lesson for us now,” the second aide added. There was one victory for Democratic leaders amid all the drama Thursday — they easily defeated a Republican effort to amend legislation that extends the deadline for federal background checks for gun purchases. “I oppose this motion with every bit of my heart and soul and urge my colleagues to do the same,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said, urging her colleagues to oppose the GOP motion in a passionate speech that left her shaking at the end of her comments. In the end, only two Democrats — Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — voted with Republicans, and the GOP motion failed.
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Cohen: The Democrats’ leftward march

Postby smix » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:45 am

Cohen: The Democrats’ leftward march
The Ledger

URL: https://www.theledger.com/opinion/20190 ... ward-march
Category: Politics
Published: February 25, 2019

Description: President Donald Trump should send liberals a big fat thank-you note. For each day Americans see how truly radical the Democratic Party has become is a win for the president, who, by contrast, looks like a full-blown moderate.

far-left-democrats.jpg

Take Democrats’ extreme swing to the left on women’s reproductive issues. What used to be a party that said abortion should be safe, legal and rare is now pushing hard in Virginia, Rhode Island and beyond for legalized late-term abortion on demand -- meaning a woman could get an abortion at any time during a pregnancy, up until the baby’s birth. Never mind the fact that science has proved that at 20 weeks, a fetus can feel pain and that many babies can live outside the womb after gestating for just six months. That’s irrelevant to such abortion radicals as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who just inked legislation -- proposed by Democrats -- allowing such a barbaric practice to take place. Make no mistake: late-term abortion and partial-birth abortion are not mainstream practices outside the U.S. by any means. In fact, only six other countries allow the grisly practice -- North Korea is one -- as billions of compassionate humans worldwide consider the termination of a 9-month-old baby in utero or born alive to be infanticide. Call it what you will, but a growing number of prominent Democrats, in lockstep with Planned Parenthood, support it. Then there’s presidential hopeful Kamala Harris. At a televised town hall meeting recently, the Democratic senator from California called for “Medicare for all,” which means that if she were to be elected president, 177 million Americans on private health insurance would lose their plans. If that were not radical enough -- wiping out an entire healthcare industry and abolishing consumer choice -- “Medicare for all” would cost taxpayers an estimated $32.6 trillion over 10 years. But that’s not the only cost far-left liberals want to raise. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, another Democratic presidential hopeful, is calling for an incremental wealth tax on the rich -- catapulting America toward socialism -- despite the fact that a recent Forbes analysis found that her proposal would cost billionaires an estimated $85 billion per year. That’s money that many billionaires currently use for seeding startup enterprises, for supporting higher education with significant private grants and for other worthwhile charitable and philanthropic endeavors benefiting humanity -- all of which would contract, if not collapse, if the taxman came knocking. Then there’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, who also wants to fleece the rich. She wants a 70 percent marginal tax rate for the highest income tax bracket, a policy undoubtedly embraced by Venezuela’s illegitimate dictator, Nicolas Maduro, who’s led his high-tax nation to economic collapse, causing millions of poverty-stricken citizens to flee the country. But that’s not all. Scores of liberal lawmakers are calling for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE’s members protect America by apprehending sex traffickers, violent criminals and drug dealers and prohibiting them from entering the country. Far-left liberals, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, continue to support open borders and refuse to build the barrier wall Trump is asking for to secure the porous southern border. As the race for 2020 heats up, voters are beginning to see the sharp contrast between America’s two major political parties. Who knew Democrats could make Donald Trump, an unconventional president, appear mainstream? Congrats, Democrats. You’ve already succeeded.
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AOC Warns of 'List' for Dems Who Break Ranks, Side With GOP

Postby smix » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:39 pm

AOC Warns of 'List' for Dems Who Break Ranks, Side With GOP
Newsmax

URL: https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/alexa ... id/905002/
Category: Politics
Published: March 1, 2019

Description: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., warned this week that Democrats who sided with Republicans on a conservative amendment to a bill expanding federal background checks on gun purchases were “putting themselves on a list” for a primary challenge.

commissar-cortez.jpg

Democrats held a closed-door meeting Thursday after 26 moderate Democrats joined with Republicans to support amending the bill to require that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement be notified if an illegal immigrant tries to buy a gun. The move infuriated liberals in the party. During the meeting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told these Democrats that “we are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision,” The Washington Post reported. Ocasio-Cortez's spokesman Corbin Trent told the Post that the congresswoman told her colleagues that they “are putting themselves on a list,” and “she said that when activists ask her why she had to vote for a gun safety bill that also further empowers an agency that forcibly injects kids with psychotropic drugs, they’re going to want a list of names and she’s going to give it to them.” “People need to be aware that coming down the road will be ‘gotcha’ amendments that actually gut the bill, and if we want to be able to move legislation forward, we’re going to have to figure out a way to deal with it,” added House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
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Marxists And Extreme Radicals Seek To Take Over The Democratic Party

Postby smix » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:11 pm

Marxists And Extreme Radicals Seek To Take Over The Democratic Party
Daily Caller

URL: https://dailycaller.com/2018/07/05/marx ... tic-party/
Category: Politics
Published: July 5, 2018

Description: A far-left group behind rising Democratic star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is rife with Marxists and other far-left radicals. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which includes Ocasio-Cortez, is creeping its way into the mainstream of American politics. Ocasio-Cortez’ shocking primary upset of Democratic New York Rep. Joe Crowley on June 26 elevated both her profile and that of the DSA, which helped boost her to victory. DSA member rolls have skyrocketed since President Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, and Ocasio-Cortez’s victory appears to have accelerated that trend. Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez said the 28-year-old socialist “represents the future of our party” on Tuesday. What Perez didn’t mention is that the group behind “the future” of the Democratic Party is teeming with radicals openly dedicated to dismantling and overturning the economic and social foundations of the United States. “As a DSA chapter co-chair I just wanna set the record straight for a minute: communism is good,” Portland DSA co-chair Olivia Katbi Smith wrote on June 30. Other DSA chairs quickly followed her lead. The DSA’s Charlottesville chair quoted Smith’s tweet and wrote, “as a DSA chapter co-chair, I would like to cosign this pro-communist statement.” DSA chairs in Seattle and Hudson County, New Jersey added their support as well. The tweets were first pointed out by Far-Left Watch, a website that tracks left-wing extremism. The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the DSA for a statement on the chairs’ endorsement of communism, as well as for clarification of the DSA’s position on communism, but a DSA spokesperson declined the request. A deeper look into the beliefs of the DSA’s members reveals that a communist faction isn’t an outlier in the group. Members of the DSA espouse a kind of radicalism that has not been represented in mainstream American politics for generations. A review of various subgroups, or caucuses, within the DSA and statements by its members show an organization more closely aligned with extreme Marxist views rather than Nordic social democracies. The constitution of the DSA proclaims its members are “socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power.” Ocasio-Cortez is a dues-paying member of the DSA’s New York City arm, which demanded an end to national borders and private profit during a June 29 march — just three days after her victory. TheDCNF called Ocasio-Cortez campaign spokesman Corban Trent on Thursday to ask if he was willing to answer a handful of questions in relation to this report. “No, have a good day,” Trent said and immediately hung up the phone. A major movement explicitly hostile to the economic notion of private profit has been unseen since the Soviet era. Countries like Norway and Sweden are often held up as examples of socialist societies by progressive pundits and journalists. Although subject to high taxation and even occasional nationalization, businesses in both countries still freely collect profit and release dividends to investors. The World Bank also ranks both Norway and Sweden as similar to the U.S. in terms of regulatory barriers to starting and maintaining a business. Still, that hasn’t stopped the DSA from advocating policies far outside the mainstream of a ruling party in any major democracy today. Ideological caucuses like Refoundation, the “Radical Left Caucus of DSA,” refers to its members “as revolutionary Marxists active in Democratic Socialists of America” and applauds the DSA’s dedication to “the abolition of prisons and police.” Other groups, like the DSA’s Libertarian Socialist Caucus, preaches “total liberation” centered around a society constantly “recreated by its participants” and “decision making free from hierarchy.” The emphasis placed on a classless society by the DSA’s various constituents conjures images of Marx’s “end of History,” rather than any successful government or economic system that an individual can identify in the world today. “We believe this vision can only be realized through the abolition of classes, common ownership of the means of production, and its democratic management to meet the needs of all,” the Libertarian Socialist Caucus says. The DSA concluded its annual meeting last year by singing L’Internationale — a far-left anthem that for years served as the official song of the Soviet Union. In the past, the DSA has hosted a number of reading groups and “online socialist schools” aiming to educate its members on Marxist economics and past communist leaders. What is most significant for the DNC, however, is that the DSA is not interested in preserving the present Democratic Party. In documents obtained by TheDCNF, a resolution brought up for vote at last year’s DSA convention shows open antagonism toward the present party apparatus. Citing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ success during the 2016 Democratic primary, one DSA member said the current Democratic Party is “a sinking ship.” The DNC did not return TheDCNF’s request for comment. “DSA is not tied to the Democratic Party. Why tie our strategy to a sinking ship?” read a statement of action from last year’s convention affirming the DSA’s independence. “DSA has the opportunity to create a major democratic socialist party in America capable of replacing the Democratic Party. DSA should lead this movement and define the party of the future.” The DSA said it is open to running on the Democratic Party’s ticket when necessary, but the organization is clear that this is a means to further its hard left message and not an attempt to expand the Democrats’ tent. “In its electoral work, the Democratic Socialists of America will aim to work with and help unite all forces and organizations of the progressives and socialist left in this common struggle for social justice and economic democracy,” a 2017 DSA resolution reads. “That together we can overcome the old sectarianism of the far left around the common project of ending the rule by the two-party system and capitalism as a whole.”
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How the Socialists Will Steal Election 2020

Postby smix » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:54 pm

How the Socialists Will Steal Election 2020
Canada Free Press

URL: https://canadafreepress.com/article/how ... ction-2020
Category: Politics
Published: February 25, 2019

Description: The key to understanding how socialists posing as progressives are trying to take over Election 2020 is understanding exactly who Senator Bernie Sanders really is. Everyone who can read or write knows Sanders is a lifelong socialist who made it rich riding on the coat tails of Capitalist America. What some folks may not know is that he’s in the race merely to make Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden et al look good. He’s there to frighten folk into voting for a progressive rather than a socialist—never knowing that they are one and the same thing. Bottom line: Sensible folks will want to run from Sanders and run to whomever the Democrats send out against President Donald Trump . What the Dems are trying to con voters into thinking is that they will be safer voting PROGRESSIVE over SOCIALISM, without ever hinting that Harris, Booker, Obama and Biden are socialists too. As shopworn and doddering as Sanders is, this is not the first but the second time the Democrats sent him out to the voting public as a Straw Man. In the primaries leading to Election 2016, he was there to make sure that Hillary Clinton and not some other ambitious progressive got the DNC green light. No one, including Sanders ever explained how he came out of the primaries as the owner of three one million dollar mansions, allegedly for pulling off the Straw Man scam.

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Millennials are starting to show signs that they don’t like being represented by a doddering, 78-year-old leader, too akin to Democrat establishment types such as Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, all as old as the hills, so they’re settling for lots of face time for the bold as brass Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). In age, AOC’s as fresh as a baby compared to the Dinosaur Democrat Old Guard. Count on hearing the elderly Dems dissing AOC but bear in mind that it’s all part of the act. If people just listened to her voice rather than just reading about her Democrat supported Green New Deal, they’d have AOC’s number. She sounds like bratty, know-it-all,29-year-old teenager because that’s exactly what she is. The Royal Flush in the current Democrat poker game is that they’re headed to 2020 in an ongoing catfight between their moderate and radical members. It’s all for show as their end goal remains the same; Impeaching Donald Trump and replacing him with a Democrat ‘moderate’ progressive on Election Day. Nowhere does the manufactured shift in the Democrat divide show itself more clearly than in Barack Obama, self-acclaimed U.S. “Resistance” leader, running the election campaign from the shadows. After a lifetime of aiding and abetting, inviting them into the White House and otherwise promoting them, Obama is now openly slamming hip-hop and rap music stars for perpetuating stereotypes rooted in toxic masculinity by surrounding themselves with “video vixens”. ‘If you are very confident about your sexuality you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking’,” Obama said. (DailyMail, Feb. 20, 2019)
‘Let’s face it a lot of hip hop and rap music is built around me showing how I got more money than you, I can disrespect you,’ he said.” “He added that wearing gold chains and excessive twerking can sometimes point to vulnerability rather than confidence.”

Obama created the initiative My Brother’s Keeper as a youth support and violence prevention group during his time in office. As “Resistance” Leader, he’s now turning the tables on a passionate if not major group that supported his two presidential campaigns.
“Obama then touched on hip-hop’s portrayal of male sexuality and brought up the twerking joke adding, ‘I’ve got one woman who I’m very happy with. And she’s a strong woman.’ (Daily Mail)

Days before Obama told boys and men of color, who flocked from across the nation to attend the conference, hailing from Los Angeles, New York and Nashville that they should be more like his wife, Michelle. That’s because he’s pushing his wife for a third term in office but apparently thinks the boys and men who come out to hear him are too stupid to realize. Are they now unknowing and even unwitting members of a sizeable Michelle Obama voting bloc? Look more closely at what the Obama Socialist Progressives are doing to America, last standing bastion of the free. While the masses are distracted by the likes of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and hoaxer, Jussie Smollett, their largely underground groups such as ‘Justice Democrats’ are filling in the ranks. “Some of Justice Democrats’ potency stems from the viral might of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her close ties to the group. (NYT, Feb. 23, 2019 ) We have it from the New York Times that the Justice Democrats, who helped make OAC, are already eyeing their next targets. NYT describes Justice Democrats as “a small grass-roots organization that burst onto the political scene last year after coordinating Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning primary defeat of Joseph Crowley of New York, the No. 4 Democrat in the House at the time.”
“…But more are coming, and the organization’s ambitions to replace more centrist Democrats with liberal candidates have inspired other clusters of insurgency — and pushed progressive policies to the forefront of the liberal agenda. The conflicts — both generational and ideological — burst into the open again on Friday when children with the Sunrise Movement, a youth climate-change advocacy group, pressed Senator Dianne Feinstein, a moderate California Democrat, to embrace the so-called Green New Deal in an extended confrontation that instantly went viral.”

To the mainstream and social media Feinstein is a “moderate” Democrat.
“Justice Democrats, built in part by former staff members for Senator Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, has made some lawmakers uneasy — and invited comparisons to conservative groups that have bedeviled Republican leaders and pulled that party to the right. (NYT) “In 2018, Justice Democrats endorsed 78 candidates and recruited 12 to run for office, serving as a grass-roots political consulting firm and jump-starting campaigns. Out of those 12, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was the only one who won her general election. Six other endorsed candidates — three incumbents and three freshmen — also made it to Congress. All seven are in the House. “Candidates are required to pledge not to take any corporate political action committee or lobbying money, and are expected to be aligned with Justice Democrats’ platform, which includes abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, advocating free public colleges and trade schools, and ending the death penalty. “Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ms. Ilhan Omar, all Justice Democrats candidates, have already pushed strong climate change measures, higher taxes on the wealthy and support for a Palestinian state into the mainstream debate surrounding Democratic ideals.

The headline in the NYT print version tells where all this is going: ‘Liberal Group Is Seeking Its Next Ocasio-Cortez. (Or Two. Or Five or Ten’). The socialism of Bernie Sanders has metastasized in the New Green Deal imposed on America by Ocasio-Cortez and is spreading gangrene like throughout the land. The only thing capable of stopping it is a freight train with voters as cagey and cunning as the gangrenous socialists are.
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It's already Speaker Ocasio-Cortez

Postby smix » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:38 pm

It's already Speaker Ocasio-Cortez
Washington Examiner

URL: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opin ... sio-cortez
Category: Politics
Published: March 4, 2019

Description: Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., floated the idea of dramatically changing the way the House works. Having lost two recent votes known as "motions to recommit" — minor votes, but stinging for any House leader — she basically wants to prevent the House minority from its traditional right to force votes to change legislation before it passes. This is a terrible, cynical idea which, had it been in place for the last 25 years, would have silenced House Democrats almost the entire time. But more importantly, it's an idea that Pelosi is only considering because it's easier than actually asserting control of her own party in Congress — which, if you haven't noticed, she has nearly lost to a politically artless but media-savvy House freshman after less than two months. The rules of the U.S. House, unlike those of the Senate, give the minority party few rights. It cannot stop or even meaningfully delay legislation on which the majority party is intent. But one thing the minority has always been able to do is force a couple of protest votes at the end of the process that put the majority on the spot. On the rare occasions where these motions to recommit succeed, they send bills back to committee for specific changes. After losing two such votes on gun rights because dozens of Democrats defected, Pelosi is considering abolishing one of the very few rights that the House minority has. That she would even consider this is rather surprising, given her historical respect for the speakership and the House as an institution. But it is less surprising given the weakened position in which she now finds herself. To be sure, Democrats' numerical majority in Congress is solid. Yet from Southern California to Maine, from Iowa to Texas, and from downstate Virginia to upstate New York, the party's 2018 House takeover depended on wins in competitive, Republican-leaning districts in rural and suburban areas all over the country. A whole class of vulnerable freshman Democrats entered Congress this year with the understanding that they needed to project a moderate image back home and maintain voter support. Yet to their horror, the party's most visible and apparently most powerful figure turns out to be not the speaker they elected, but rather, a member of the party's socialist cuckoo-bird wing.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is now setting the Democratic agenda in both houses of Congress. You don't believe us? Witness how, with the aid of a friendly media that seems to enjoy her ignorant tongue-lashings as much as it bristles at President Trump's, Ocasio-Cortez lured six Democratic senators running for president into a trap that could well cost the party their White House. They committed to her insane, embarrassingly half-baked Green New Deal proposal and will soon be forced to vote for a resolution supporting it. In the House, things are just as bad. On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez was giving orders to House Democrats behind closed doors on how they are to vote, lest they face a primary challenge next year backed by her wealthy chief-of-staff and his super PAC. This should all convey some idea of why Ocasio-Cortez has become Republicans' favorite Democrat to talk about. She's wreaking havoc on her party's cohesion and destroying its palatability for voters. Cynical Republicans would like to make sure her voice is heard. But in fact, her radical politics is going to harm the country and has already proven ruinous for the people living in her own district. For potentially vulnerable Democrats, the unfolding radicalization of the congressional Democratic Party is scaring the hell out of voters back home. They feel forced to prove that they're independent and put their constituents' interests ahead of their party's on key issues like gun rights. That's why they feel even more compelled to vote against their party on motions to recommit. Pelosi could rein in Speaker Ocasio-Cortez, but so far she is unwilling, perhaps scared by her popularity on the Left. And so, Pelosi's only other option is to protect her vulnerable members from even having to take difficult votes, like the ones Republicans can currently force with motions to recommit. After all, you can't lose if you don't let the other side play. Speaker Pelosi, instead of wounding the House as an institution with this cynical power grab, please get control of your party. Stop coddling and empowering crazies in safe, Democratic districts at the expense of the marginal voters and members whom you know you need to remain a governing party. Make it clear to showboat freshmen that they too can face repercussions if they work to endanger their party colleagues. Otherwise, beware. You let others usurp your role at your own risk.



Bernie the Red is out for blood
Washington Examiner

URL: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opin ... -for-blood
Category: Politics
Published: March 20, 2019

Description: In case you thought Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was going to soft-pedal socialism in his presidential election or even pretend to play nice with the Democratic Party, guess again. In what can almost certainly be deemed a warning shot at the DNC and the candidate field as a whole, Sanders has hired none other than David Sirota as his senior adviser and speechwriter. Sirota, an oft-obnoxious socialist who swings between media and failed political bids, is basically a lunatic. Sirota is no ordinary Swedophile who spews hackneyed platitudes about "universal healthcare" or open borders and open hearts. No, Sirota gushes about real socialism — Venezuelan socialism. He has lauded former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for posing "a serious threat to the global system of corporate capitalism." He likened the late father of Venezuela's ruin to Martin Luther King, Jr. in a Salon piece which celebrated "Chavez's economic miracle."

salon-david-sirota.png

Sirota sounds more like Trump than any other Democrat in the field when excoriating NAFTA and open borders, which he does not base on American but on Mexican interests. He has equated believers in free trade to the "faith-based fundamentalists" of al Qaeda, and he has cozied up to Jeremy Corbyn. But the big liability for Bernie is Sirota's months of undisclosed work for his campaign, bullying and lambasting fellow Democratic contenders, all while Bernie touted a veneer of civility in primary politics. If you thought the Bernie Bros were bad enough in a one-way war against Clinton Inc., just wait until their ripened rage is directed towards Kamala the Cop, or even worse to the radicalized wing of the Democratic Party, Uncle Joe Biden. Bernie's budding war chest seems to indicate that, rather than try and align with the intersectional Left, he's doubling down on a Stalinist vision for the American economy. Sirota is no ordinary #Resister decrying President Trump's lack of love for undocumented children. He's a socialist to the core, and as much a populist as any MAGA-lyte. Democrats may balk that Sirota unethically issuing scathing diatribes against fellow contenders as if he were an impartial commentator — he notably attacked Beto O'Rourke for embracing "Obamaism," an ideology Sirota says "left us with a country that is now more oligarchy than democracy" — conservatives should take note of the ideological lines Bernie has drawn. If Bernie wins the Democratic nomination, he'll bring Corbynized domestic politics and a Marxist economic agenda a heartbeat away from the presidency. And we'll have to somehow rely on Donald Trump to stop it.
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New cracks emerge in Dem unity

Postby smix » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:27 pm

New cracks emerge in Dem unity
The Hill

URL: https://thehill.com/homenews/house/4329 ... -dem-unity
Category: Politics
Published: March 7, 2019

Description: House Democrats are showing more cracks in their united front just two months into the new Congress. Leaders are scrambling to contain high-profile rifts between liberals and centrists on everything from the Green New Deal and “Medicare for all,” to the handling of controversial remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and the impeachment of President Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has built a hard-earned reputation for coalescing her caucus around shared Democratic values and keeping her troops in line on even the most controversial legislative proposals. And in the early weeks of the 116th Congress, Democrats held together through a long, high-stakes shutdown debate, forcing Trump to abandon his demands for border wall funding. But Pelosi may be dealing with her toughest challenge yet in governing a caucus that is tilting to the left and includes many new members impatient to take action against Trump — but that also has dozens of moderate members who just won victories in Trump districts. Some members of Pelosi’s team brush off the recent flare-ups as a natural part of governing a majority — particularly the most diverse House caucus in history. “I just think that we lose too many battles up here arguing over the stuff that’s kind of silly to argue over,” Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the Democratic whip and a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said during an interview in his office in the Capitol. “Everybody talks about how diverse this Congress is. This Congress is not diverse; the Democratic Caucus is diverse,” he continued, noting that the GOP conference has only one black member. “We’ve got 53 black people in our caucus. How many Muslims do you think are in their caucus? “So, it’s going to be different for us.” Yet the internal tensions — coming after a post-midterm leadership fight over Pelosi’s future atop the party — aren’t about frivolous matters, at least for the most part. Many are about policy, and they have exposed divisions along lines that are regional, ideological, religious and generational. Worse, the rifts are shifting the spotlight from Democratic priorities. A sweeping package of government reforms and voting rights protections, for instance, is poised to pass the House on Friday. But it’s been all but ignored amid the media’s focus on the Democrats’ infighting. The latest headache for Democratic leaders surrounds Omar, one of two history-making Muslim women to arrive this year on Capitol Hill. She stirred a hornet’s nest of controversy last week with comments at a public event which detractors say suggested American supporters of Israel have an “allegiance to a foreign country.” The remarks were quickly condemned by Israel’s most vocal allies, including several senior House Democrats — Reps. Nita Lowey (N.Y.) and Eliot Engel (N.Y.), both of whom are Jewish — who lashed out at Omar publicly and quickly pressed Pelosi and other Democratic leaders to draft a legislative response condemning anti-Semitism. The critics charged that Omar was invoking the long-held anti-Semitic trope that anyone supportive of Israel is compromised by “dual loyalty.” Yet Omar’s liberal allies have since rallied around the Minnesota freshman. They say she’s been singled out unfairly because she’s a minority woman, and they’ve pressed Democratic leaders to broaden the sweep of their resolution to condemn all forms of hate speech, including when it’s directed at Muslims. “I think we need to talk about white supremacy in our country very much more directly than that resolution did in the first place,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the other Muslim woman to join Congress this year, said Wednesday. “And I think we’ve been heard.” Trump and the Republicans have been happy to stoke the Democratic fires. “It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!” Clyburn came to Omar’s defense Wednesday, lamenting that many of the media reports surrounding the recent controversy have omitted mentioning that Omar, who was born in Somalia, had to flee the country to escape violence and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to the United States. Her experience, Clyburn argued, is much more empirical — and powerful — than that of people who are generations removed from the Holocaust, Japanese internment camps during World War II and the other violent episodes that have marked history. “I’m serious about that. There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’ It’s more personal with her,” Clyburn said. “I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.” Clyburn said that long talks with former Rep. Norman Mineta (D-Calif.), a Japanese-American who was interned during WWII, gave him a special appreciation for Omar’s experiences. And he rejected the idea that the Democrats’ resolution will single her out for condemnation. “She won’t be targeted. We’re going to target those people who had her picture on the Twin Towers,” Clyburn said. “This resolution is going to be inclusive; it’s going to be expansive; and I might just try to add something to deal with that billboard that’s up in Pennsylvania this morning calling John Lewis and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus racists.” The Omar controversy is not the only episode where Democratic leaders have sought to strike a balance between the liberal and moderate wings of the party. On Medicare for All, for instance, Pelosi has promised committee hearings even as she’s fought to prioritize improvements to the Affordable Care Act instead. Approaching climate change, she’s hailed the enthusiasm of the Green New Deal supporters without endorsing the proposal. But it’s over impeachment that the clearest divisions may be emerging. Democratic leaders are taking a cautious approach, but a growing number of liberals are getting impatient.

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And Tlaib announced Wednesday that she’ll soon introduce legislation to oust the president. “When I speak to leadership, they constantly remind me that I have to represent my district,” Tlaib said. “This is an emergency for many of us.”



Obama: I worry progressives may undercut Democratic allies
The Hill

URL: https://thehill.com/homenews/news/43769 ... ring-squad
Category: Politics
Published: April 6, 2019

Description: Former President Obama expressed concern about the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, saying he feared it could end up undercutting allies. Speaking at a town hall event on Saturday for the Obama Foundation in Berlin, the former president spoke about the need for compromise in politics, citing the Affordable Care Act as something that he said signified progress even though it did not achieve all of his aspirations for U.S. health care. "One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States —maybe it’s true here as well — is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, 'Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be,' and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a 'circular firing squad,' where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues. And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens," he said. "So I think whether you are speaking as a citizen or as a political leader or as an organizer … you have to recognize that the way we structure democracy requires you to take into account people who don’t agree with you, and that by definition means you’re not going to get 100 percent of what you want," he added. Obama, who began his career in politics as a community organizer in Chicago before becoming an Illinois state senator and, later, a U.S. senator, recounted the frustration he felt when politicians told him they could not deliver as much progress on an issue as he would like. Still, Obama said his perspective has changed throughout his political career. "You should take some time to think in your own mind and continually refine and reflect, 'What are my core principles?' Because the danger is if you don’t know what your principles are, that’s when you compromise your principles away," he said. "You can’t set up a system in which you don't compromise on anything, but you also can’t operate in a system where you compromise on everything." Obama's remarks come as over a dozen Democrats vie for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. Some candidates have angled to appeal to the party's burgeoning progressive wing that has garnered a reputation for criticizing politicians who, some say, have not taken bold enough steps to enact change.
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Joe Lieberman: ‘Far Left’ Will Make Democrats a ‘Losing Party’

Postby smix » Sun Mar 24, 2019 2:32 am

Joe Lieberman: ‘Far Left’ Will Make Democrats a ‘Losing Party’
Breitbart News

URL: https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2019/03 ... ing-party/
Category: Politics
Published: March 22, 2019

Description: Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) warned that Democrats moving to the “far left” will damage their political fortunes, offering his analysis in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow. “I got into the Democratic Party as a young man when John F. Kennedy was president, and oh, it was a very different Democratic Party,” reflected Lieberman. “It was a strongly anti-communist party, committed to human rights. It was a pro-growth party.” Lieberman continued, “Kennedy was for tax cuts of various kinds, including — believe it or not — the capital gains tax cut. But that didn’t stop him from fighting for Civil Rights for African-Americans, particularly. He was the leader of that.” Lieberman assessed: “But the party now is drifting left, and [there is] an interesting distinction. There’s a difference between being a traditional liberal Democrat and being a far-left Democrat, and this is not a far-left country. Look at what’s being talked about, now. This Green New Deal, which is basically a socialist manifesto for the government to take over everything. I’m a big supporter of doing something about climate change, but this goes way beyond that, and the general talk about socialism — which to me means government ownership and control of more of our economy — it’s just not who we are.

GREEN-NEW-DEAL.jpg

The American people will never vote for that, so either the party comes back toward center-left, or it’s going to be a losing party.” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) are not representative of the broader Democrat Party, said Lieberman. “The Democrats took back control of the House … in last November’s elections, but it wasn’t because of Congresswomen Ocasio-Cortez or Omar,” stated Lieberman. “It was because a lot of center-left Democrats won swing districts, even Republican districts. They certainly weren’t going to win those districts with a socialist platform.” “If the party doesn’t learn that lesson — and runs someone far to the left for president in 2020 — I don’t think it has a chance,” concluded Lieberman.



Michael Moore Rips ‘Old Tired Privileged’ White Democrats Like Pelosi Who Won’t Give Up Power to Socialists
Breitbart News

URL: https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment ... ocialists/
Category: Politics
Published: April 15, 2019

Description: Left-wing documentary filmmaker Michael Moore on Monday blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for downplaying the growing influence of the Democrat Party’s progressive wing, referring to her as an “old,” “tired,” and “privileged” leader in denial of her diminishing power. “White people. Nobody likes giving up power. And they never see the writing on the wall. The new day arrives and no one has the heart to tell them they and their old tired privileged ways are over,” Michael Moore tweeted in response to TIME editor-at-large Anand Giridharadas, who criticized Pelosi for minimizing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) victory and her stance on impeachment. In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Pelosi dismissed concerns that progressive freshmen such as Ocasio-Cortez are causing issues for Democrat Congressional leadership. “You have these wings — AOC and her group on one side,” said host Lesley Stahl. “That’s, like, five people,” the House Speaker interrupted. Stahl rejected Pelosi’s figure, replying that the far-left posse is “more than five.” “Well, I’m progressive — I’m a progressive, yeah,” Pelosi quipped. The Congressional Progressive Caucus possesses 98 members and is the second biggest Democrat group on Capitol Hill. Moore wasn’t the only one to criticize Pelosi’s tete-a-tete with Stahl. President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday evening to blast 60 Minutes, accusing the program of producing a “puff piece” of the House Speaker. “Such a “puff piece” on Nancy Pelosi by @60minutes, yet her leadership has passed no meaningful Legislation. All they do is Investigate, as it turns out, crimes that they instigated & committed. The Mueller No Collusion decision wasn’t even discussed-and she was a disaster at W.H.,” the president said.



Home Depot Co-Founder Bernie Marcus: Socialism Ends in Dependence and ‘Lower Standards of Living for Those Under Its Thumb’
Breitbart News

URL: https://www.breitbart.com/economy/2019/ ... -congress/
Category: Politics
Published: April 23, 2019

Description: Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus championed the free market system he says created the “biggest middle-class population in the world” and warned that socialism has always ended with a “lower standard of living for those under its thumb.” Marcus begin the three-minute video by stating something “politically incorrect.” “I loveAmerica. I do. I love America because it’s the greatest country in the world I think there are two big reasons why this country is so great.” Bernie Marcus began. “The first is our Constitution, which guarantees a freedom of speech and expression. The second is our free market system.” “The free market system has been the biggest creator of wealth and prosperity the world has ever known, lifting billions of people out of poverty and far more superior than any government program could ever be,” the philanthropist explained. “The free market is the tool that allows money to reach out and grab hold of the American dream.”



“When I co-founded the Home Depot in 1979, I just been fired and I was broke,” Bernie Marcus continued. “There’s no other country in the world that has a system where someone under these circumstances could turn a simple idea and hard work into a company that employs more than 400,000 people and has created thousands of successful millionaires. While I’m no longer in the management of the Home Depot I still believe in the free market enterprise system that helped build it.” “That’s why it pains me to see people in this country glorifying socialism; young people especially have been indoctrinated into believing that free enterprise is immoral, because it enriches the greedy and depresses the poor,” Marcus said in the video. “The reality is that the free market system has created the biggest middle class population in the world. And while some may say socialism is well-intentioned the fact is it robs people of their independence their dignity and their finances leading to government dependence suppression of ideas and lower standards of living for those under its thumb.” “Free enterprise just doesn’t create an environment where individuals have the opportunity to prosper but makes charitable giving possible in the first place. It’s not a random occurrence that Americans are the most charitable people in the world. It’s a result of a hard work, entrepreneurship, and, yes, a free market system — because in order to give money you need to make money,” Marcus continued. “It’s not an evil concept. In the last 15 years I’ve donated to causes that have included in medical research autism research, advocacy for veterans causes, and even building the Georgia Aquarium. Call it whatever you like; free market, free enterprise or, even capitalism. I don’t care, as long as you understand that these free market ideas have made giving back in these big ways possible. “One of my favorite causes is the Job Creators Network, a group I founded to champion these free market ideals,” Marcus continued about the organization that has placed several billboards in Times Square calling out far-left Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her Green New Deal. “Efforts like these are more important now than ever as support behind socialism continues to swell in our urban areas, and academia, and even in the halls of Congress. I encourage you to help us in this fight go to our website and make your voices heard thank you.”



Michael Moore: ‘Bad Democrats Must Be Primaried and Replaced with Good Democrats’ Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Breitbart News

URL: https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment ... io-cortez/
Category: Politics
Published: April 27, 2019

Description: Documentary filmmaker and left-wing activist Michael Moore has declared that centrist Democratic candidates “must be primaried and replaced” with far-left alternatives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY.) Michael Moore made the claim in reference to an article from The Intercept, which reported on how young Democrats at 40 college campuses have called for a boycott of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee over “its decision to cut off vendors working for primary challengers..” “Bad Democrats must be primaried and replaced with good Dems — just the way AOC did it,” Moore wrote in response, referring to Ocasio-Cortez’s successful ousting of long-time Rep. Joe Crowley in last year’s primary challenge. “Some of you should run. The Democratic Party is trying to stop any progressive challengers.” Michael Moore’s claim is merely the latest sign of a brewing civil war within the separate wings of the Democratic Party, as it gears up for the 2020 election cycle. Many supporters on the progressive wing of the party, such as Moore, are demanding that established and more centrist candidates are challenged by far-left alternatives. The 65-year-old filmmaker has long-heaped praise on the likes of Ocasio-Cortez, recently declaring that the 29-year-old New York Congresswoman was the real “leader” of the party. “She is the leader. She’s the leader. Everyone knows it, everyone feels it, she’s the leader of this mass movement,” he said during a February appearance on MSNBC. “If you’re moderate, stop being moderate. Take a position, there’s no middle ground anymore.”
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The far left has taken over the Democratic Party

Postby smix » Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:52 pm

The far left has taken over the Democratic Party
New York Post

URL: https://nypost.com/2019/03/24/the-far-l ... tic-party/
Category: Politics
Published: March 24, 2019

Description: The extreme left’s takeover of the Democratic Party is proceeding with breathtaking speed. The party’s shift leftward has been obvious for some time. But it’s come to the point where those who’ve guided and led the party’s successes over the past 25 years are treated like outcasts. Even former President Barack Obama, once the epitome of a new generation of Democrats, is vilified by today’s left as having been overly cautious and inconsequential. No, today’s Democratic heroes are people like Bernie Sanders, who “joins” the party every four years only so he can try to become its leader. And with no loyalty to other Democrats, either: Witness his hiring last week of Twitter attack dog David Sirota, who’d been ruthlessly trolling Sanders’ opponents online without revealing that he was working unofficially for the Vermont socialist. And never mind Sirota’s record of praise for the Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela. Heck, Bernie himself still won’t criticize Chavez’s successor, even though “Bolivarian socialism” has led that country to utter disaster. It also speaks volumes that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — a lifetime extreme liberal — has emerged as the voice of political restraint. “You’re wasting your time” by pushing to impeach President Trump, she recently scolded the hard-left faction: If Republicans (to say nothing of independents) don’t see it as reasonable, it’s a political loser that divides the nation without even helping Democrats win. Smart political advice — yet the speaker is engaged in a daily struggle to control her own caucus, particularly its new members. And it’s not remotely clear that she’s winning. Case in point: Pelosi’s initial attempt to have the House stand against Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks collapsed into a toothless resolution condemning all hatred. Here in New York, it’s reached the point that Mayor de Blasio sometimes looks like the adult. The city’s Democratic Socialists scored big by selecting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (out of many they auditioned) to challenge longtime Rep. Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary. Having scored the unexpected upset, she’s become a national figure and hard-left trendsetter — and her camp has taken to threatening other Democratic incumbents with the same treatment unless they toe the newbies’ hard-left line. Meanwhile, nearly the entire 2020 presidential pack is parroting the Sanders-AOC agenda, feeding the extremism of the social media world in which the Democratic Party base now lives. Indeed, the most radical ideas have become litmus tests for all would-be national candidates: packing the Supreme Court, abolishing the Electoral College, the pie-in-the-sky and budget-busting Green New Deal, Medicare for All and a host of other unrestrained wild spending plans. Party stalwarts find themselves yielding to the left’s demands — clearly fearful of being trolled and denounced on social media if they dare stand up to the online mob. Forget the Democratic Party of Bill Clinton: The party of Barack Obama is dead, taken over by the historically discredited mantra of socialism. Unless some Democrats stand up and show some political backbone, their party will only keep hurtling not only to extremism but to political oblivion.



Obama: Democrats are having a ‘circular firing squad’ over ‘purity’
New York Post

URL: https://nypost.com/2019/04/06/obama-dem ... er-purity/
Category: Politics
Published: April 6, 2019

Description: Former President Barack Obama on Saturday chided fellow Democrats for creating a “circular firing squad” that targets party members who don’t support far-left views. “The way we structure democracy requires you to take into account people who don’t agree with you,” he said at an Obama Foundation town hall event in Berlin, Germany. “And that by definition means you’re not going to get 100 percent of what you want. “One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives,” he continued, “we start sometimes creating what’s called a ‘circular firing squad’ where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues.” Seventeen Democrats have announced they are running for the party’s presidential nomination in 2020, and more are expected to enter the race. Legislative proposals from the pack include free college tuition, government-run health care and reparations for slavery and segregation. Obama also warned the town hall audience of 300 against nationalism and the “bloodshed” that can follow. “Nationalism, particularly from the far right, has re-emerged,” he said. “And we know where that leads. Europe knows better than anyone where that leads.”

obama-merkel-privacy.jpg

Obama met privately with Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday, in what her office called a routine get-together of former international colleagues.
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The Democratic Party Is Radicalizing

Postby smix » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:47 pm

The Democratic Party Is Radicalizing
The Atlantic

URL: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... ts/586372/
Category: Politics
Published: April 3, 2019

Description: The transformation of the GOP into the party of Patrick J. Buchanan and Donald J. Trump—defined by cultural resentments, crude populism, and ethnic nationalism—is among the most important political stories of this century. But the GOP is hardly the only party that is undergoing some alarming tectonic shifts. Liberals wondering why conservatives who worry about Trump don’t join the Democrats should consider what is happening on their own side of the aisle. If you want to understand just how radicalized the Democratic Party has become in recent years, look at the ascent of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. A self-proclaimed socialist, Sanders served as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and was then elected to the House in 1990 and the Senate in 2006. It’s hard to overstate just how left-wing Sanders’s views have been, at least by the standards of American politics. Sanders has been a consistent defender of regimes led by anti-American dictators like Daniel Ortega and Fidel Castro. He took pains to separate his brand of socialism from the “totalitarianism” of the Soviet Union, but on a 1988 trip, repeatedly drew contrasts between the Soviet system and the United States that cast his own country in an unfavorable light. In the 1970s, Sanders called for the nationalization of entire industries and 100 percent taxation on those making more than $1 million. Since then, Sanders has moved away from calling for government to own the means of production, but he has hardly experienced a Damascus-road conversion. He is still a proud leftist. For most of his career, Sanders—who identified as an independent but who caucused with Democrats—was treated like a curiosity and even a bit of a crazy uncle by Democrats, who considered the label socialist to be a smear. No more. The most prominent socialist in America, Sanders has gained a following, and in 2016, he challenged Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination. He eventually lost, of course, but not before winning roughly 13 million votes and 23 primaries and caucuses against Hillary Clinton, who got 17 million votes and won 34 contests. He electrified Democratic audiences in ways she could not, drawing a crowd of nearly 30,000 in Portland. The hashtag “Feel the Bern” exploded in popularity in 2016. Sanders particularly inspired the younger generation, drawing far more votes in the primaries from those under the age of 30 than did Clinton and Trump combined. The 77-year-old Sanders is now a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic nomination, with The New York Times declaring that his leftist ideas on health care, taxes, the environment, and other matters are defining the race. “Those ideas that we talked about here in Iowa four years ago that seemed so radical at the time, remember that?” Sanders said during a return trip to the state earlier this month. “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.” “In 2016 Iowa helped begin the political revolution,” he continued. “Now as we move to 2020 our job is to complete that revolution.” He’s not kidding, and he’s not alone. Among the freshman class of House Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—now the second-most-famous democratic socialist in America—is the unquestioned star among the base. According to Dan Balz of The Washington Post, Ocasio-Cortez is “the titular leader of a progressive grass-roots movement pushing the party to the left.” (The mere mention of her name elicits spontaneous applause on programs like The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.) Another prominent member of the freshman class of House Democrats, Ilhan Omar, recently dismissed former President Barack Obama—who not that long ago defined the progressive wing of the Democratic Party—as too right-wing. “We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished,” she said, “we want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.” To more fully grasp the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party, it’s useful to run through some of the ideas that are now being seriously talked about and embraced by leading members of the party—ideas that together would be fiscally ruinous, invest massive and unwarranted trust in central planners, and weaken America’s security.
* The Green New Deal, a 10-year effort to eliminate fossil fuels “as much as is technologically feasible” that would completely transform the American economy, put the federal government in partial or complete control over large sectors, and retrofit every building in America. It would change the way we travel and eat, switch the entire electrical grid to renewable energy sources, and for good measure “guarantee” high-paying jobs, affordable housing, and universal health care. It would be astronomically costly and constitute by far the greatest centralization of power in American history.
* Medicare for all, which would greatly expand the federal role in health care. Some versions would wipe out the health-insurance industry and do away with employer-sponsored health plans that now cover roughly 175 million Americans. This would be hugely disruptive and unpopular (70 percent of Americans are happy with their coverage), and would exacerbate the worst efficiencies of an already highly inefficient program.
* Make college tuition-free and debt-free, with the no-debt promise including both tuition and living expenses—a highly expensive undertaking ($50 billion a year or so just for the federal government)—that would transfer money from less wealthy families whose children do not attend college to wealthier families whose children do. It could also have potentially devastating effects on many private, not-for-profit colleges.
* Increase the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent from its current rate of 37 percent for those making more than $10 million, unwise in the 21st-century economy and far above the average top rate for OECD nations; and impose a “wealth tax” that would levy a 2 percent annual tax on a household’s assets—including stocks, real estate, and retirement funds—above $50 million. It isn’t even clear whether a tax on wealth rather than income would be constitutional, but that almost seems beside the point.
* Abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which upholds immigration laws; protect “sanctuary cities” (local jurisdictions that don’t fully cooperate with federal efforts to find and deport unauthorized immigrants); and take down existing walls on the southern border, walls which Speaker Nancy Pelosi has referred to as “an immorality.” These policies signal that Democrats don’t really believe in border security and are mostly untroubled by illegal immigration.
* Eliminate the Senate filibuster, pack the courts, and put an end to the Electoral College. The effect of these would be to weaken protections against abuses of majority power.
* Reparations for African Americans to provide compensation for past injustices like slavery, Jim Crow laws, and redlining. (Senator Elizabeth Warren believes Native Americans should be included as well.) Reparations would pose countless practical problems and create unintended consequences, as David Frum argued in these pages.
* Opposition to any limits on even third-trimester abortions, and opposition to the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, legislation clarifying that babies who survive attempted abortions must receive medical care. Abortion is a very difficult issue that requires empathy on all sides—but for many of us, this stance of Democrats is morally incomprehensible.
* Increasing antipathy aimed at Israel, one of the most estimable nations in the world. Two freshmen Democrats, Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, have embraced the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement targeting Israel, and House Democratic leaders faced a fierce backlash in their efforts to condemn the anti-Semitic remarks by Omar, who has a record of anti-Semitic comments and who most recently accused supporters of Israel of dual loyalties. (The Democratic House, unable to pass a measure that focused solely on anti-Semitism, eventually passed a resolution condemning “hateful expressions of intolerance.”)
To be sure, these views are not embraced by all Democrats—but they are ideas that are gaining adherents, including among several presidential candidates, and are fundamentally reshaping and radicalizing the Democratic Party. On every front, the Democratic Party is moving left, and the power of the left can be seen in the fact that even Democrats who oppose some of these policies are wary of attacking them. When it comes to challenging the progressive wing, Democratic candidates act as if they are walking on eggshells. (There will be no Bill Clinton–style Sister Souljah moment in the Democratic Party in 2020.) If former Vice President Joe Biden enters the race, he will likely spend a fair amount of time apologizing for positions he embraced, like his tough-on-crime stance, his view that the Supreme Court went “too far” on abortion rights, and how he handled the Anita Hill accusations against Clarence Thomas when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Biden has already said, “I’m told I get criticized by the new left. I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the—anybody who would run. Of anybody who would run.” This embrace of radical progressivism and its colossal price tag is almost certainly going to hurt Democrats politically—most of their gains in 2018 were in suburban districts, among voters who tend to recoil at radicalism of any kind—and it could be politically disastrous. (Ocasio-Cortez enthusiastically embraced the label radical, saying, “It only has ever been radicals that have changed this country.”) But beyond the electoral ramifications of the radicalization of the Democratic Party is what conservatives like myself consider to be its destructive animating philosophy. The trend is toward growing hostility to free markets and capitalism, in many cases to the point of barely contained contempt for it and for the wealthy. (When former Governor John Hickenlooper, a successful businessman and one of the more moderate candidates in the Democratic field, was asked by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough if he would say he’s a capitalist, he repeatedly ducked the question. Beto O’Rourke, while declaring himself a capitalist, added, “Having said that, it is clearly an imperfect, unfair, unjust, and racist capitalist economy.”) Many progressives champion the centralization of government power and collectivism, extreme egalitarianism, and a secularism that can bleed into intolerance toward people and institutions who hold traditional religious views on sexual morality. The Democratic Party is embracing a form of identity politics in which gender, race, and ethnicity become definitional, and a belief in a common culture, unifying ideals, and the need for assimilation is weakened or shattered. (“I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege,” O’Rourke recently said.) The Democratic Party is more and more unable to stand up to anti-Semitism. And it seeks “the elevation of human autonomy above other humane values,” as Michael Gerson has argued. The roots of this ideology are not in the labor movement so much as in the postmodern academy. The mood of many progressive Democrats these days is uncompromising and unforgiving. Democrats want to focus their attention on the flaws and corruptions of Donald Trump, and they have a lot to work with. But you won’t become a saint through other people’s sins, Anton Chekhov said, and the Democratic Party will not become a responsible governing party because of the faults of President Trump. Progressivism is wrecking the Democratic Party even as crude populism and ethnic nationalism have (for now) wrecked the Republican Party. Both are salvageable and both are worth saving, but that will require individuals who have identified with each party to fight to reclaim them; to show wisdom, decency, and courage in an age of extremism and intemperance.
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