As the Presidential debates have unfolded over the last few weeks, something has become increasingly apparent to me: the Democratic Party is currently living Fantasy World.
You’d be forgiven if you didn’t think this was the case. After all, the media are filled with stories about how crazy the Republicans are. They’re actually going to nominate Donald Trump or Ben Carson! Never mind that the Democrats have been consistently losing at the Congressional, Senate, gubernatorial and state legislature levels. It’s a new Democratic era! Just look at the demographics!
But I want you to consider where the Democratic Presidential candidates are on the issues:
- In the Democratic Party, there is no longer a debate over whether the federal government should guarantee “free” college to everyone. The debate is over whether this free college should be made available to the children of rich people or not.
- Free daycare and mandated maternity leave are no longer up for debate. The question among the Democrats is how much of these things we are going to get.
- Expanding the broken Social Security system is now the mainstream view in the Democratic Party.
- There is no longer any debate about whether there should be more gun control. It’s about whether we should consider Australia-style gun confiscation. Bernie Sanders was pilloried for having the temerity to suggest that liberal gun control wouldn’t fly in the entire country.
- All of this, of course, will be paid for with “taxes on the rich”. Of course, even if you raised taxes on the rich, even if you confiscated all of their income, it wouldn’t pay for all of this. Bernie Sanders’ agenda would cost a cool $18 trillion over the next decade. I’m old enough to remember when the Democrat were worried about the deficit.
The thing is, these view are out of step with clear majorities of the American public. For example, most Americans oppose more gun control and, even for those who want more, this is a low-priority issue. And by a huge majority, they blame mass shootings on mental health issues, not a lack of gun control.
You may remember that, a few years ago, the media buzzword was “epistemic closure”. This was the idea that the Republicans had encased themselves in a bubble of Fox News media so that they never heard any dissenting views. And while there is some legitimacy to this, it’s peanuts compared to what’s been happening with Democrats. Between NPR, MSNBC, Vox, HuffPo and other media, they have created an echo chamber that brooks little dissent and assumes that certain issues, like gun control, have basically been agreed upon by all “reasonable” people. The result is a party where Jim Webb’s left of center views have no place anymore. The results is a party where Bernie Sanders’ candidacy is doomed not because of his extreme socialism but because of his minimal moderation on gun control.
Doubtless once the primary is done, Clinton will try to tack right and proclaim herself to be a moderate. And doubtless the press will go along with this. There’s a problem though: Clinton has 25 years of her views on the record. She’s part of an Administration that has eight years on record. She’s made actual policy proposals that represent more big government and more spending.
President Clinton the Second is not inevitable.