It hasn’t been a good few months for the Democratic Party, and if its activists’ reaction to the Congressional Black Caucus meeting with President Donald Trump is any indication, it’s not going to get better.
Under former President Barack Obama’s stewardship, Democrats lost the 2016 presidential election, House, Senate, governorships and state legislatures across the country. Now they’re dealing with an identity crisis with no clear solution — one that is primed to cause more intraparty conflict than the tea party caused the Republican Party.
Despite all this failure, they succeeded at one thing: throwing away the old and creating a new base stitched together with all the left’s most volatile constituencies. Each limb of this mishmash of rage — Black Lives Matter, “modern” feminism, social justice warriors and environmentalists — is a carefully cultivated, and yet ultimately uncontrollable, demographic Democrats hoped would be their ticket to political domination.
Instead, it’s threatening to swallow the party whole.
The left unleashed a social and political monster beholden to no party or unifying principle. Each limb is angry, sometimes for similar reasons, but oftentimes not. The limbs stretched and pulled the Democratic Party in opposite directions, demanding equal and unending attention and vigor for whatever “right” is most imperiled.
It’s impossible to go two directions at once, let alone four, resulting in a party unable to satisfy any part of its base adequately.
And now, those limbs are turning their ferocity back on the body.
CREDO Action, a leftist activist group, went after Democratic leadership in the wake of the election for supposedly being “welcoming” to Trump. In reality, then-Sen. Harry Reid called Trump a “sexual predator who … fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate.” Sen. Chuck Schumer said he’s “incompetent,” and Rep. Nancy Pelosi said he’s assaulting America.
Progressive group Democracy for America didn’t care for Schumer’s bravado, saying, “leaders from Chuck Schumer down need to stop playing footsie with Trump.”
Thousands of activists took a break from Trump to protest outside Schumer’s Brooklyn apartment. They sported colorful signs calling the Senator minority leader a “chicken” and asking him to “grow a spine.”
Liberal group #WeWillReplaceYou attacked the Congressional Black Caucus for having the audacity to meet with Trump March 22. #WeWillReplaceYou’s stated goal is to weed out Democrats that aren’t radical enough, and threaten them with primary challengers. “We won’t accept anything less than full opposition,” its site reads. “Any Democrats who would give legitimacy or support to Trump do not represent us and must be replaced.”
If you think Trump is legitimately our 45th president, you’re in trouble.
Democrats can do no right in the eyes of their new base. Compromise is failure, speeches are political theater, anything other than “no” votes across the board is unacceptable. Politicians can’t do their jobs, because if they do, that means they worked with the administration.
Nothing but a complete, indefinite congressional walk-out by Democrats could possibly assuage all limbs at once. Even then, it wouldn’t be for long.
Thankfully, Republicans are lending a helping hand. They showed they don’t need Democrats to do much of anything for their agenda to fail. Trump and GOP leadership’s Obamacare repeal and replace bill, the American Health Care Act, imploded in the House Friday after it was withdrawn from a vote for the second time. It was pulled after Republican factions refused to cooperate, not because of anything Democrats did.
The right doesn’t have to contend with a Frankenstein monster of a base, but it’s not without its problems.
All Democrats can hope for is that their anti-Trump drumbeat is enough, and that Republicans continue to sink their own ship. And forget trying to win back any of the old base the left abandoned, their priorities are far too moderate to be welcomed.
The Democratic Party can’t do anything, not because Republicans control the government, but because they created a base that won’t let them.