After an election, there are two things that almost always happen. One is the winning side draws the wrong lesson from their victory. The lesson they usually draw is that that they are on the right side of history or that the gods are on their side. Same idea, different magic. One of the anomalies of the recent US Presidential election is that Trump is not prone to magical thinking and his own party hates him, so he seems fairly level headed about his win. His party is acting like they lost so no gloating there.
The losing side, on the other hand, draws any number of wrong conclusions. Republicans generally assume they lost because they were too far to the Right, so they immediately start adopting the positions of the Left. The Democrats will often conjure up some sort of conspiracy theory, thus the ridiculous recount efforts now under way. The point is the losers never learn from their mistakes and therefore just rely on the other side burning itself out or screwing up so they can be the default option in the next election.
The way the Democrats lost and their wobbly condition, suggests they may be in for a much longer winter than typical. There is a British Labour Party vibe to them these days. You see that in this piece from Time Magazine on the state of the party.
The narrowness of Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Donald Trump — especially given the fact that she actually won the popular vote by 2.5 million and rising — has led many liberals to conclude that the Democratic Party only needs a slight adjustment to win future presidential elections. A better candidate, a more competent campaign, or a more credible message on economic issues — any one of them might have kept the presidency in Democratic hands.
On one level, this is true. A large football stadium’s worth of additional votes distributed correctly across three states, and Clinton would be president-elect today. But it also obscures the fact that the Democratic Party has basically collapsed at the state level.
There are many things the party must do to rebuild. Here’s one more to add to the growing list: The Democrats need a better breed of operative.
The article then goes onto to describe a few top operatives as soulless, corrupt incompetents. What’s interesting here is you very rarely see anyone on the Left question anything about the Cult, including its political arm. Self-awareness is not their thing. That and doubt on the Left is always assumed to be a gateway drug for apostasy, so it is fanatically discouraged. Losing and losing badly may be forcing some soul searching. The party is now a regional party, for all practical purposes.
What I think we may be seeing is the the end of the normal life cycle for an ideological party. The Democrats, like British Labour, were always a coalition party that adopted an ideology as a theme song, more than a political philosophy. Political parties are practical things. They organize to win elections so the party can us the power of the government to reward friends and punish enemies. In order to win they must make compromises and they often have to get ideological opposites to temporarily agree.
Ideological parties, on the other hand, are impractical, which is why they tend not to last long. They cannot compromise and instead go through purifying rituals in which the doubters and questioners are boiled off. Eventually they become so narrow they no longer have any practical benefit, if they were ever able to have any at all. The Libertarian Party is a good example. It is useless as a party because it spends all of its time wrangling over theory and doctrine. That and figuring out how to keep fat naked guys from showing up.
Like Labour, Democrats went through a period where they jettisoned many of the people who were willing to challenge the Cult over political strategy. In the 1990’s, moderate Democrats were voted out in favor of moderate Republicans. The elected officials that remained after the ’94 election were a bunch of pols from the New Left, who took up leadership positions. They went about turning the party into an ideological movement, that had some early success, but has been burning itself out over the last decade.
Take a look at the Democrat Party and it looks a lot like the CP-USA after World War II. The people in charge like being in charge and use ideology to maintain their grip. The foot soldiers with any talent are heading to other things, leaving an increasingly incompetent core. The Democrats have become the party of “Kill the Honky” because Progressives have become a suicide cult that thinks salvation can only come after the last white guy is hunted down. Outside of Zimbabwe, that is not a winning formula for electoral success.
The Democrats are not going away and Labour is not going away in the UK. Something will replace them. In the UK, it appears the new political alignment will be SNP versus the Tories, with the foreign traitors in London often siding with the Scots. In the US, we will probably see the neo-cons waddle back over to the Democrat side to form a more centrist coalition. There will be the identity political Left and the hyper violent, lose wars of choice, Right in one party. The Republicans will be the honkies from flyover country.
Regardless, progressivism cannot be the core of a majority coalition, at least not in anything resembling a liberal democracy. At best, it can be an influential part of a coalition, but never the dominant part. In the fullness of time, it may be understood that the worst thing to happen to American Progressives was their final victory over one of the parties. They may have discredited themselves to the point where their thing is never the same again. Robespierre lost his head learning this lesson so Nancy Pelosi should count her blessings.
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