Democratic Party RIP

The Democratic Party of Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, JFK and William J. Clinton is dead, finished, over, kaput.

Historians may note the demise of the nation’s oldest political party on March 25, 2017, the date when progressives gained control of the Democratic National Committee. 

It could also be argued the party died a silent death in 2009, when Barrack Obama was elected president and became the leader of the Democratic Party. At the time, Obama was closemouthed about his socialist progressive politics, fearing a backlash if his real agenda were known by the electorate. Not until February 2016 did he reveal his true colors and publicly announce, “I am a progressive Democrat. I am proud of that. I make no bones about it.” 

The Democratic Party’s shift to the far left was evident in the 2016 presidential election. Bernie Sanders openly ran as a socialist progressive and might very well have won the party’s nomination had the DNC not underhandedly supported Hillary Clinton, who also ran as a progressive. In the first Democratic primary debate, she proclaimed, “I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.”

If further evidence is needed of the progressive takeover of the Democratic Party, look no further than the candidates in the 2020 election. Every top contender is a progressive in name and agenda. As such, the Democratic Party should more appropriately be renamed the Progressive Party, Socialist Progressive Party, or maybe the Socialist Democratic Party.

It’s been a long-time objective for socialist progressives to build a viable national party. Their first attempt was in 1901, when they launched the Socialist Party of America.  It enjoyed marginal success, gaining 3-6 percent of the votes in national elections over the following two decades. The party’s highwater mark was in 1924, when socialist Robert LeFollett, a senator from Wisconsin, garnered 4.8 million votes (16.6%) in the presidential election.

Thereafter, the socialist party lost its wind.  Its last gasp was in 1956, when presidential candidate Samuel Friedman, a socialist union activist, received a mere 2,044 votes. Afterward, the party shuttered it doors and socialists, for the most part, withdrew from national electoral politics.

Socialist progressives in America, down but not out, refused to retreat into the shadows. They regrouped and plotted a new strategy. They believed it was unlikely they would ever be competitive nationally as a third party in head-to-head elections with Democrats and Republicans.  Taking a cue from progressive political tactician Saul Alinsky, they set out on a new course to change America, this time from the inside. They would “cut their hair and put on suits,” and then burrow into the nation’s institutions, rise through the ranks and, once in power, move America politically leftward.

One of their earliest targets was the Democratic Party. Socialist progressives infiltrated the organization and then operated as a party-within-a-party. They initially gained footholds in local Democratic groups, and then expanded their influence outward, taking control of city-wide chapters and later state-wide organizations. To move the party leftward, they created grassroots community organizations that promoted progressive issues and candidates, while tempering their financial and/or campaign support for establishment Democrats.

The progressives’ first big win was in 1983, when they organized a coalition of minority groups in support of Harold Washington, a progressive running for mayor of Chicago.  The coalition, together with labor unions, proved instrumental in Washington’s victory and, as described by In These Times, a progressive magazine, ushered in a “new era of coalition politics.”

The winning campaign strategy developed in Chicago was replicated by progressives in other cities across America with much success.  One after another, municipal governments long dominated by Republicans flipped into the Democratic column.

Obama, a progressive activist/political organizer in south side Chicago from 1985-1988, discussed the campaign strategy in 2003, when eying a run for the U.S. Senate. He said, “As you combine a strong African-American base with progressive white and Latino voters, I think it is a recipe for success in the primary and general election.”

Obama employed the coalition politics strategy to win election to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and then four years later to the White House.  It’s this grassroots strategy, in combination with takeover the Democratic Party, that has propelled the progressive movement into a mainstream party and, in doing so, radically altered the political landscape in America.

In year’s past, traditional Democrats and Republicans shared more in common than not, and worked together more often than not to better America’s future. 

These days are over.  America is now saddled with two main parties that are fundamentally at odds on core issues that define the nation. The right supports religious freedom, meritocracy, limited government, colorblind society, individual responsibility, freedom of speech, Second Amendment, and more.  Among the core issues that define the left are identity politics, multiculturalism, political correctness, social justice, equality, big government, high taxes, open borders, single-payer healthcare system, universal income, and more.

The opposing political philosophies of the two parties has led to a deadlock in national politics.  In Congress, members on opposite sides of the aisle can find broad agreement only on a limited number of non-partisan issues.  Compromise has become an increasingly rare occurrence. Campaigning never ends, with both sides locking horns on a daily basis.

As a result, the 2020 presidential election promises to be a doozy. First and foremost, the election will measure the political strength of the socialist progressive party now that it’s come out of the closet. At issue are traditional Democrats.  Will they embrace the progressive agenda, become disaffected voters, or migrate to the Republican Party?  How they respond in the voting booth will largely determine if America steers to the hard left or remains a country that cherishes liberty and freedom.