There is a real possibility that the Democratic Party of the United States, has surrendered any hope of attaining the centre-ground for at least generation.
Throughout most of the 20th century, both major US parties attempted to appeal to different interpretations of the centre.
The Republicans were broadly centre right but shunned the far-rightism of organisations like the John Birch Society.
Likewise, the Democrats were centre-left whilst rejecting organisations of the far left; groups like Students for a Democratic Society.
This has been gradually changing since the 1980s but the velocity of the change has become intensified under the Clinton and Obama control of the Democratic Party. Whilst today’s Democrats are more hawkish than their predecessors and are economically so far to the neo-liberal right that FDR would barely recognise the party, in terms of cultural appeal, the Democrats have embraced the sectarianism of the cultural-Marxist left.
The choice between Democratic and Republican as recently as the 1990s used to be big oil and big pharma (Reps) versus big finance/big litigation (Dems). Now though, because the Democrats have embraced every sectarian cause, no matter how obscure, many Americans including many who supported Kennedy, Carter and who voted Democrat throughout the Reagan years are voting Republican.
It’s not that the Republicans have come out with a unified vision as a party. The scale of Republican infighting over Donald Trump’s nomination was so severe that I was surprised the Democrats didn’t trample all over them at a Congressional level. The fact that they didn’t is all down to the fact that an uninspired and infighting Republican party still struck ordinary voters as more ‘all-American’ than a Democratic party which embraced and promoted causes that most Americans had never even heard of.
What’s more pathetic is that when in the Vietnam era important anti-war figures like Robert Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern found a home in the Democratic Party, today this seems not to be the case, certainly amongst the party big wigs. Bernie Sanders has had a tepid relationship with the party for this reason amongst others.
But if I were a self-mutilating, part man, part woman, who was born to a rich white family in let’s say Connecticut, but somehow felt racially oppressed, I would be invited to make a speech at a Democratic fundraising dinner. This is why the Democrats, with or without Trump as an opponent, would have been in trouble. Most American’s want the following from their political parties: patriotism, security, prosperity, improved living standards and occasionally inspiration. The arguments over how this is best achieved is what used to win or lose elections.
The vast majority of Americans, don’t think one’s identity should be a source of pride or consternation. These are people who believe in unity under a single constitution rather than a ‘make it up as you go along’ different rules for everyone approach to law and public order. These are the people who are sick to death of gross sexuality in the public sphere. These people are going to vote Republican for many years to come, even though in the past such people might well have voted Democrat.
If the DNC strategists think that there are more people in America who care about sexual identity than they do about jobs, wages and the threat of terrorism, then they really don’t know much about the country they seek to govern. They grossly misjudged the public appetite for anti-Russian policies. They still seem not to grasp what issues matter to the majority of voters.
In losing the centre-ground, the Democrats have made themselves less and less relevant to the American people. Now that Donald Trump has bested even old-school Democrats on anti-war and pro-employment issues, what have they got to offer the public? At the moment, the answer is, very little.