On Politics: Are Democrats self destructing? (opinion)
Being a Republican I have no inside track on who within the leadership of the Democratic Party is calling the shots on their public policy statements. We hear a lot from Minority Leader Pelosi, Minority Leader Schumer and new DNC Chair Tom Perez, but whoever sculptures the party’s public image might want to consider a do over.
According to Gallup, the latest national party identification figures are: Democrat 29 percent, Republican 27 percent, independent 43 percent, so a large number of U.S. voters are not a “lock” for either party.
After Donald Trump’s unexpected election to the White House Democratic leaders talked of “resistance” to Trump and the GOP agenda. The visible result was (and continues to be) a plethora of demonstrations more effective at blocking traffic than Republican lawmakers.
Citing historic midterm election results the media buzzed about a “blue wave” of Democratic House and Senate victories next November. Indeed Democrat candidates scored several victories in special elections and, all in all, things were looking up for them.
Somehow all that got eclipsed by a series of extremist occurrences including calls for Democrats in Congress to impeach Trump (remember, 2/3 of the Senate must vote to remove a president; if you don’t have those votes why bother to impeach?); widely publicized incitement by Congresswoman Maxine Waters; incredibly rude onslaughts against Trump cabinet members trying to quietly enjoy restaurant meals; over-hyped criticism of activities at the Mexican border; calls for eradication of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE); and, most recently, condemnation of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before his identity was even known.
June’s primary election produced Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, 28, a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and a onetime staffer for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who handily defeated congressional power broker and incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary election in New York’s 14th Congressional District.
National Public Radio reported that she is calling for a “political revolution” that includes free Medicare and higher education for all, gun control measures, an end to private prisons and the abolishment of ICE. DNC Chair Tom Perez welcomed Ocasio-Cortez, saying she “represents the future of our party.”
There may yet be a “blue wave” in November but these latest instances of extreme conduct, rudeness and lurching to the left do not seem to be sitting well with voters, including the majority who are independent.
A Rasmussen poll completed June 21 showed that 54 percent of likely voters believed the separation of illegal immigrant children from their parents was the parents’ fault; the same agency’s poll completed June 30 showed that 55 percent of likely voters were opposed to disestablishing ICE. Even among Democratic voters 44 percent opposed disestablishment and 36 percent were in favor.
A June 24-25 Harvard-Harris poll of registered voters showed 73 percent want immigration reform, 76 percent want secure borders and 70 percent want stricter enforcement of immigration laws. The same poll showed that Hispanic support for Trump increased by 10 percent to 38 percent in June.
A Culturintel poll showed that the economy is the No. 1 issue for Hispanics while immigration is No. 5 as the economy hums and unemployment is at a historic low of 3.8 percent.
Admittedly some conservatives are shunning Trump, including hawkish neoconservatives and intellectuals such as George Will and most recently Max Boot. But Democrats’ obstructionism and leftward leap may backfire.
Pew Research Center reports that in 2016 African American turnout declined for the first time in 20 years; Kanye West and Candace Owens underscore Trump’s African American voter challenge: “Vote for me; what do you have to lose?”
Finally the “#Walk Away” movement spawned by gay hairdresser and former Hillary supporter Brandon Stratka has attracted lifelong New York Democratic legislator Dov Hikind who now supports Republicans.
I can’t wait for the next shoe to drop.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada State GOP Central committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.