Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink (6 page)

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
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Even when the old guard occasionally distances itself from the upstarts, we often find them forced to backtrack and fall in line. For example, Pelosi initially opposed impeachment. Earlier in 2019 she announced that Trump is unfit for office “ethically,” “intellectually,” and “curiosity-wise,” but insisted impeachment would be too divisive. “I'm not for impeachment,” said Pelosi, claiming it's “so divisive to the country that unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path, because
it divides the country. And he's just not worth it.”
24
Though not one House Republican supported impeaching Trump for the Zelensky call, she caved to the leftists' demands, morphing from reluctant veteran to enthusiastic general of the rabid neophytes.

“WELL TO THE LEFT OF WHERE THE PARTY WAS A FEW YEARS AGO”

So it's hard to deny that the newcomers are driving the agenda.
25
And they are working hand in hand with their base to purge any actual moderates from their ranks—even some who identify as progressive. “You don't just get to say that you're progressive,” warned Congressman Pramila Jayapal, cochair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
26
Politico
reporter David Siders explained during the primaries, “So many Democratic presidential prospects are now claiming the progressive mantle in advance of the 2020 primaries that liberal leaders are trying to institute a measure of ideological quality control, designed to ensure the party ends up with a nominee who meets their exacting standards.”
27
Progressive donors, said Siders, are also conspiring to ensure they fund candidates who are committed to pet leftist causes, such as “Medicare for all, debt-free college education, and non-militaristic foreign policy.”
28
Bernie Sanders helped the purge by responding, after being asked whether there's such a thing as a pro-life Democrat, “I think being pro-choice is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat.”
29
The Democratic Party used to have a significant pro-life contingent, but now the party has no use for them.

The radicalism on display by the Democratic candidates this past year worried James Carville, a spin doctor and attack dog for President Bill Clinton. “We have candidates on the debate stage talking about open borders and decriminalizing illegal immigration,” he complained. “They're talking about doing away with nuclear energy and fracking. You've got Bernie Sanders talking about letting criminals and
terrorists vote from jail cells. It doesn't matter what you think about any of that, or if there are good arguments—talking about that is not how you win a national election.”
30
Note that Carville didn't actually condemn these extremist proposals—in fact, he said there may be “good arguments” for them. He just thought it was politically damaging that Democrats were advocating them publicly.

It's not just the Democrats' policy positions that are extreme. They have embraced an extreme form of political correctness. Obama, who as I mentioned has more political savvy than his would-be successors, has warned his party against their tendency to shut down debate. “This idea of purity, and you're never compromised, and you're always politically woke, and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly,” Obama warned in October 2019. “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”
31

Given his track record, it's doubtful that Obama has had an awakening on policy, but he clearly understands, like James Carville, that the more Democrats display their extremism and the more they try to shut down debate, the worse their electoral prospects. But the party won't listen. It's amazing how quickly the Democrats have dropped the mask—just a few short years ago, in Obama's second term, Democrats were advocating immigration policies that President Trump was pushing in his first term, such as constructing new barriers on the southern border,
32
yet they now decry Trump's policies as a fascist attack on the inalienable right of the entire world's population to cross our borders.

Even a couple of self-described
New York Times
“fact-checkers” admitted that the policy positions of many in the Democratic presidential field were “well to the left of where the party was just a few years ago.”
33
They acknowledged that every one of the candidates supported health-care plans that “would generally require substantially more government spending, higher taxes, an increased public-sector role in private markets and a reversal of the deregulatory push championed by Trump.” Yet they unconvincingly disputed Trump's claim that these would-be Democratic Party presidential nominees are
socialists—mainly because only Senator Bernie Sanders self-identified as one. “Even Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is the most ideologically aligned with Mr. Sanders among the 2020 contenders, says she is not a socialist,” insisted the fact-checkers. “When she is asked about the difference between her and Mr. Sanders, her stock answer has been that she is ‘a capitalist to my bones.' ”
34

Seriously? They expected us to take Warren's word for it? She wanted a complete government takeover of health insurance, a Green New Deal to exponentially expand the government's power over much of the rest of the economy, and a new wealth tax, and we're expected to believe she is a die-hard capitalist? Also, have these diligent fact-checkers forgotten about “democratic socialists” AOC and Rashida Tlaib—as if so-called “democratic socialists” are less socialistic than “socialists.” And what reasonable observer could deny that former candidates Kamala Harris, Beto O'Rourke, and the others leaned far left?

Some Democrats try to deflect the socialist label, but the party's policies speak for themselves. “The progressive wing of the new House Democratic majority has lost no time in pushing radical proposals that are far out the mainstream of American politics, but which accurately reflect their hard-left worldview,” writes columnist James S. Robbins, a former Department of Defense official. “It is refreshing to see them being so open about promoting socialism in America. The days of President Bill Clinton's ‘New Democrats,' ” he notes, “are long gone.”
35

Even certain reliably progressive media commentators voiced concern over the Democrats' leftward drift. The
New York Times
' Thomas Edsall feared that the Democratic presidential contenders were embracing “bold progressive policy initiatives” that would appeal to liberal primary voters but not to the general electorate. He offered one possible explanation, first proposed by University of Mississippi political scientist Julie Wronski: Democrats are more diverse than the mostly “homogenous white, Christian conservative” Republican Party. To appeal to African Americans, Latinos, environmentalists, and others, “[T]heir candidates need to start embracing boutique policies for
these groups that may not align with a general election ‘median voter' model of espousing moderate policies.”
36

However, there's a simpler explanation: the Democratic base, which especially reigns in the primaries, is in fact extreme, and primary candidates had to cater to that extremism. Additionally, Democratic strategists were surely aware of Pew polling data showing that “consistently liberal” Democrats have a 70 percent turnout rate in elections compared to 47 percent of “mostly liberal” and 41 percent of those with “mixed views.”
37
In short, if a Democrat wanted to win the primary, catering to the left was virtually the only option.

“ONE'S RIGHT TO HEALTH CARE DOESN'T DEPEND ON ONE'S ZIP CODE”

Democrats today are also decidedly left on social issues and are indignant toward any who disagree with their superior values, treating them as moral reprobates simply for embracing ideas that supermajorities of Americans have held for centuries. At CNN's LGBTQ Equality Town Hall in Los Angeles in October 2019, Elizabeth Warren was asked how she'd reply to an old-fashioned supporter whose faith teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman. “I'm going to assume it is a guy who said that,” she remarked. “And I'm going to say, ‘Well, then just marry one woman. I'm cool with that.' ” After a pause she added, “Assuming you can find one.”
38

Keep in mind that leftists like Warren claim conservatives are the bullies. We are the mean and intolerant ones, not progressives. And yet, here's Warren ridiculing religious believers for clinging to those “old-fashioned biblical” values—you know, the ones Jesus taught. In her follow-up from moderator Chris Cuomo, Warren cast “people of faith” who disagree with her on this issue as hateful, insisting
she
is the one who follows the true teachings of the church. “I mean, to me, it's about what I learned in the church I grew up in,” said Warren.
“First song I ever remember singing is, ‘They are yellow, black, and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves all the children of the world.'… And the hatefulness, frankly, always shocked me, especially for people of faith, because I think the whole foundation is the worth of every single human being.”
39
Former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke went even further, vowing to strip colleges, churches, and other charities of their tax-exempt status if they refuse to support same-sex marriage.
40

Even Joe Biden, the falsely billed “moderate,” shows the difficulty in trying to buck the leftists controlling his party. As a senator he had supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape or incest, but under an onslaught of leftist criticism he shamelessly reversed himself in June 2019. “Women's rights and women's health are under assault like we haven't seen in the last 50 years,” said Biden. “If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone else's zip code.”

Interestingly, the month before, Biden had announced his reversal on this issue to an ACLU volunteer, but his campaign preposterously claimed he'd misheard the question. “He has not at this point changed his position on the Hyde Amendment,” his campaign clarified.
41
But he just couldn't go the distance. Maybe just a month earlier Biden didn't quite view “health care as a right,” or maybe he had a different feeling about certain zip codes. Who knows? But this is the type of left-wing ideological purity we've come to expect from a party being consumed by its own radicalism.

THE THIRD LEFT

The Democrats may be courting electoral suicide with their radicalism, but their extremist proposals often resonate with the younger generation, which has a growing affinity for socialism. This is
alarming but not surprising, seeing as today's young people have been thoroughly indoctrinated in leftist ideals in both popular culture and in the education system.

In 2014, the Pew Research Center found that 43 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds positively respond to the word “socialism.” Older generations are less favorably disposed, with 33 percent of 30 to 49-year-olds, 23 percent of 50 to 64-year-olds, and 14 percent of those 65 and older reacting positively.
42
More recent polling is even worse. A 2018 Gallup poll showed that young Americans not only view socialism positively but dislike capitalism. Only 45 percent view capitalism favorably, while 51 percent view socialism positively.
43
Incredibly, since 2010, Gallup polling has shown that a majority of Democrats view socialism positively. Its 2018 poll put that number at 57 percent.
44

A 2019 Gallup poll showed that 43 percent of Americans overall say socialism would be a good thing for the country, while just 51 percent say it would be a bad thing.
45
That's shocking—and we can't let this stand. Taken together, all these polls show that capitalism is being systematically discredited in America.

We can take some comfort from recent polls revealing that the majority of socialism supporters don't even understand what socialism means. But that won't help unless conservatives do a better job of reaching them and disabusing them of their warped ideas.
46
We old folks have our work cut out for us. We must ensure Americans can define socialism and understand its devastating impact historically. Socialist policies have failed everywhere they've been tried. I flesh this out in Chapter Four.

Patriots can never rest easy with so many Americans warming up to socialism, even while a slim majority still reject it. History shows that leftists don't need majority support to bring about radical economic and social change. In a December 2018 analysis, progressive writer Peter Beinart applied this lesson to the Trump era. He argued that left-wing candidates don't necessarily even have to win elections to exert their influence. “Who wins an election is often less
important than who sets the agenda,” writes Beinart. “And, ideologically, the Democratic Party has veered so sharply left that ‘establishment' or ‘centrist' Democrats now frequently support larger expansions of government, and more vehemently scorn Big Business and Big Finance, than most liberal Democrats did a few years ago…. For the first time in more than 40 years, the left is shaping the Democratic Party's identity.”
47

For Beinart, what distinguishes a leftist from a liberal or progressive—though all three terms are often used interchangeably—is that leftists are committed to “radical equality,” believing that “economic inequality renders America's constitutional liberties hollow.”
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Only twice in American history has the left had enough power to force Democrats to adopt its ideas—in the 1930s and 1960s. Both times the left derived its power “through mass movements that threatened the public order.” Both movements began outside the Democratic Party. To keep order and prevent further extremism, Beinart says, “Democrats passed laws that made America markedly more equal”
49
—in other words, America was blackmailed by the radicals.

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