Feehery: Why Democrats are now historically unpopular
By: John Feehery (TheHill)
The so-called conservative politics of the Obama era, led by neoliberals and libertarians, has become passé. The promises are empty, the polemics are pointless, and the political message has become blindly delusional. Neoliberalism and libertarianism are both on their death bed in the Republican Party. Live with it or die with it. That's the choice Republicans face. Republicans either reclaim their pragmatic progressive heritage - or - Republicans become Democrats.
The Democratic Party has steadfastly refused to change course from the neoliberal technocratic politics of Bill Clinton. The Democratic Party has grown old and has become dysfunctional in protecting Clinton's third way politics. The Democratic Party is suffering from neoliberal senility more than anything else.
The Democratic Party has abandoned the notions of equality and fairness. Today's Democratic Party are champions of equity and justice. Equity and justice allows preferential application of neoliberal theories for targeted special interests. And the success of that technocratic governance is unencumbered by any consequences or harm caused to the country. The proclaimed purpose is to address specific inequalities, not national problems, and success is determined by the favored special interest. Multilateral diversity requires unequal treatment.
Democrats have become historically unpopular because the politics of equity and preferential treatment has divided the country into many more special interests. Democrats haven't just created hyphenated Americans. We are now divided into hyphenated hyphenated hyphenated Americans. Suburban-blue collar-female Blacks are a special interest distinct from urban-college educated-professional-female Blacks. And each distinct special interest demands its own equity and justice.
Democrats have created their own neoliberal Gordian knot that they can't untangle. The Democratic Party is collapsing under the weight of its own neoliberal multilateral diversity. Republicans can try to revive their own divisive neoliberal and libertarian faux conservatism but then Republicans become nothing more than Democrats in an elephant suit.
Believe it or not, 'progressive conservative' is not an oxymoron. So-called neoliberal and libertarian conservatives will lie to us, divide us, and claim we are separate special interests, each needing preferential treatment. That just ain't so. We're really unhyphenated Americans. And we're going to need progressive conservatives to defend and preserve the ideas of equality and fairness. Equality and fairness is the foundation of our American style of democracy.
Republicans have a choice. Republicans can reclaim their progressive heritage - or - Republicans can become Democrats. Live with it or die with it, that's the choice.
Both Joe Biden and Democrats are unpopular by historic margins. Progressive activists and pundits wonder why, considering the low unemployment rate, brisk economic growth and some legislative success.
Here are six reasons:
1) Democrats are anachronistic: Biden is old and frail. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) is 81. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is relatively spry at 71, but he seems like he has been around forever. Beyond their advanced ages, these Democrats have old ideas and are fighting old battles that no longer reflect our current realities as a nation. Biden wants to hearken back to the good old days of the Senate, when he, Chris Dodd and Ted Kennedy used to pal around. But those days are gone forever, and they aren't coming back. These Democrats seem to believe that if they just pass one more huge government program, they will somehow become more popular with the voters. But most Americans don't want more handouts from the government. They want to get on with their lives and take care of their families.
2) Democrats keep the pandemic panic going but the American people don't buy it anymore: On the House floor and at every Democratic press event, masks are mandatory. But outside the Beltway, in suburban Virginia and suburban Maryland, almost nobody wears a mask. The overreaction from the Biden administration to the new South African variant is another example. The president immediately stopped flights from eight African countries, despite little evidence that such a travel ban will have any impact on slowing down a variant that most experts don't believe will be particularly problematic. Democrats don't want this to end because it gives them more power over the people. But voters have had enough and want to move on.
3) Democrats divide us to unite us: According to one analysis, voters think that the Democrats are too focused on equality and fairness and not enough on people like them. This is obviously true. If you aren't the right person of color who identifies with the right gender or sexual preference, you probably are not going to be part of the new Democratic coalition. Asian voters, who used to think they qualified as people of color, now are classified as white-adjacent and are thus disqualified from preferential treatment. There are two problems with the new approach taken by the progressive Democrats. First, it is un-American and likely unconstitutional. Second, it alienates a whole bunch of voters who make up the vast bulk of the American people.
4) Democrat policies are meant to make things more difficult for the average American: Skyrocketing energy prices are a feature, not a bug, in Biden world. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg himself said that high gas prices will make more Americans buy more electric vehicles. Jen Psaki hinted that higher prices on all products will make American consumers consume less. Biden's chief of staff retweeted affirmatively an assertion that inflation was a high-class problem. Democrats used to look out for working-class voters. Now, they despise them. That contempt has not gone unnoticed.
5) Democrats don't care about fighting crime: Murders are up in almost every major city. Looting is common-place in both high-end boutiques and low-brow Home Depots. Shoplifting is no longer a criminal offense in many big cities. The Democrats, stuck between the defund-the-police crowd and the American people, have largely ignored the issue. When they talk about it at all, most on the left blame the 2nd Amendment for the uptick in homicides and talk about white privilege as the underlying cause of the uptick in petty crime. Some leading lights of the left even cheer on crime as striking a blow against the white patriarchy.
6) Democrats have become the party of the self-dealing elite: Not to begrudge Hunter Biden and his successful art career but come on, man. This is just a further example of how the corrupt elite take care of their own. It happens on both sides, obviously, but these days, it happens more spectacularly on the left, such as San Francisco Mayor London Breed's maskless partying. The collusion of high and mighty social media barons and the Democratic political class only breeds more contempt by the rest of us.
Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas), and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).