How will Dems cope with Trump success?
President Trump would take us toward a new American revolution, one aimed at the retrenchment, if not restoration of those American values which have become unfashionable over the past eight years. Among them: clawing back state and individual liberties taken by Washington and its judiciary, smaller government, nationalism over globalism, minimizing national debt, military superiority, border defense and capitalism. In other words, he wants a revolution based on over-turning current “political correctness.”
Indicative of the fight against political correctness is the just introduced “Free Speech Fairness Act” which would allow churches (and charities) to engage in political activity without fear of losing their tax-exempt status. So far, polling suggests that most Americans oppose such ecclesiastical freedom because it violates politically correct imperatives regarding church-state separation. But what of the principles of liberty and free expression? And just imagine the result for Democrats if Trump can unleash the organized religious might of the millions of church-goers who voted for him?
Similarly, there’s the current brouhaha over immigration. Widely held political correctness is rooted in promoting open borders, rooted in Emma Lazarus’ sonnet “The New Colossus” from the 1880’s– “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses… .” Trump has countered this with politically incorrect, traditional restrictions on immigration. These are not only aimed at eliminating security and economic threats to society but, as of this writing, aimed at religious intolerance as well. Presumably, and with a brow raised at some Muslim applicants, the White House asks why we should admit those who do not believe in religious freedom. As opposed to taking on new problems from abroad, the president posits “America first” and, according to fresh headlines, has just canceled 100,000 visas!
If Trump’s revolution succeeds, and to paraphrase Francis Fukuyama, would that mean the end of American political history? Specifically, the end of Democratic Party history? If the Democratic Party still measures success in terms of winning elections, it may have to face a big dilemma.
I’m writing on Feb. 3, the wind-up of Trump’s second week in office; job creation has just attained impressive heights while the Dow has again surged over 20,000. The latest approval polls have Trump, once shunned by both Democrats and Republicans, breaking above 50 per cent. Should this trend continue (but anything can happen, Lord knows) and liberal political correctness revert to traditional American values, how will the Democrats cope?
In my view, the party’s most serious problem is keeping its leftist tendencies under control. Although radicalism can mobilize a party base (a la Bernie Sanders), with Trump succeeding in the White House that base will shrink. If present leadership continues its relentless march leftward – the only direction it seems to know – odds will be against Democrats winning many elections in the near future, just as they could not win them this past November.
And that is the Democrats’ dilemma: if the party cares to win elections, it must not only develop strategies to improve upon Trump’s performance, but tailor those strategies to the re-emerging, traditional, and “politically incorrect” bounds which many party members abhor.
Richard Hoover, a retired Foreign Service officer, resides in southern Warren County.