Tuesday, September 22, 2020


A couple of stories from recent days show us why the Democratic Party is so often on the defensive while the Republican Party stays on offense. First, here's our presidential nominee, the leader of the left-centrist wing of the party:
Joe Biden personally appealed to the handful of Republican senators who control the fate of Donald Trump’s upcoming Supreme Court nominee....

In his first extended remarks following the death Friday of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Biden accused Republicans who would "jam this nomination through" of hypocrisy, while seeking to reason with other GOP senators to heed her final wishes — "not as a personal service to her, but as a service to the country at a crossroads."

“Please follow your conscience,” Biden said from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. “Don't vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created. Don't go there. Uphold your constitutional duty, your conscience, let the people speak. Cool the flames that have been engulfing our country. We can't ignore the cherished system of checks and balances.”
And now here's a recent story about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the leaders of the party's progressive wing:
“After we work to command victory in November, I need folks to realize that there’s no going back to brunch,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an Instagram video marking the death of liberal US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday....

“We have a whole new world to build. We cannot accept going back to the way things were, and that includes the Dem Party," AOC said.

“Voting for Joe Biden, it’s not about whether you like him or not, it’s a vote to let democracy live another day” ...
So you have one wing of the party begging Republicans to be decent -- an exercise in futility, as always -- and you have the other wing of the party asserting that the presidential nominee doesn't have much appeal, while arguing that the party as it exists today isn't doing a good job of preserving democracy. (Ocasio-Cortez also said, "Yes, our democracy is at a faint heartbeat - it was broken even before this administration began," meaning when Barack Obama was president.)

These are the two wings of the Democratic Party. One doesn't attack the GOP as a whole because it believes that some decent Republicans will see reason -- some Republican voters will cross over to vote Democratic in elections and some Republican elected officials will cross over in legislative fights. The other wing of the Democratic Party criticizes Democrats almost as much as it criticizes Republicans (when it's not criticizing Democrats more).

There are no prominent Democrats whose message is: Republicans are bad. The principles of the Republican Party are bad. Republicans vote the wrong way on every issue. What Republicans have done to this country is bad. What Republicans want to do to this country is even worse.

That's the Republican message about Democrats -- every Republican says this every day. But Democrats don't talk this way - which is why they'll have to persuade voters that Amy Coney Barrett or Barbara Lagoa is dangerous. Committed, engaged Democratic voters won't need to be persuaded, but much of the electorate has never considered the possibility that the Republican Party is simply bad by definition, and therefore any Supreme Court nominee from the Republicans will be bad. It could be an uphill struggle to make the case that the nice lady will vote to eviscerate voting rights, labor rights, reproductive rights, healthcare protection, and environmental safeguards, because Democrats don't routinely say that Republicans are much worse than Democrats on all these issues all the time.

That has to be the Democrats' message from now on if we want to defeat Republicans in multiple elections, which is what it will take to reduce the GOP's power on a permanent basis. But no Democrat says this.

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