The Democrats were tremendously disappointed with the election results. Donald Trump is losing by almost exactly the same 51-to-47-percent margin that Mitt Romney lost to Obama in 2012. The Senate is poised to stay in GOP hands, and the Republicans look to slice the House majority to about 10.
Instead of licking wounds, some are touting that somehow, the Democrats are still the stronger party with all the historical momentum. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne wrote for the Sunday paper that “Democrats are a big-tent party, while Republicans are a closed circle.”
Dionne claimed that since the 1970s, “Republicans have purged dissenters and turned themselves into a rigid, radical, unified bloc — ideologically, racially, religiously. As the Republicans cast off free-thinkers, Democrats took them in. This makes Democrats the larger party with better long-term prospects.”
This is an interesting theory, considering that Trump made gains among Latinos and black men. Republicans can easily accuse Democrats of being more rigid, more radical, and less religious. The last pro-life Democrat in Congress, Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, became a “purged dissenter” in a March primary. In addition to their hostility to traditional religion, especially on abortion and LGBTQ issues, Democrats are now losing working-class voters with “defund the police” messaging and the lurch to “end fossil fuels.”
Bizarrely, Dionne claims the Republicans are so far gone there’s no debating them: “many debates that once took place between the parties — about, say, the appropriate size of the welfare state, the proper role of economic regulation or the right way to protect the environment — are being held almost entirely within the Democratic Party.”
That argument simply isn’t going to work in reality, not with this current makeup of Congress. If the Democrats held two-thirds of the seats, it might, but the margin is thin. You can’t have a one-party policy debate.
Intra-party debate rarely occurs on the liberal "news" channels, where Democrat squabbles are often buried or obscured. Journalists will celebrate Biden as some sort of “moderate,” and also glorify the socialists, from Bernie Sanders to “The Squad.” This might be the media’s dream, that Biden and the socialists could be classified as the two ideological poles of America.
Liberal journalist Adam Ragusea informed me on Twitter that “No one describes Biden as the Democratic center. He's well on the right side of the Democratic Party, and has been his whole career.” This seems to ignore that politicians that Dionne & Co. often classify as the “moderates” or “conservatives” have an American Conservative Union score of less than 10 percent.
Journalists will try to downplay the unpopularity of socialism, of ending fossil fuels and defunding police, of endless “white privilege” scolding and making taxpayers pay for abortions. They will hate that conservatives were elected to block and will work to block every radical nightmare Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to impose. Amazingly, the Republicans are being granted the broad ground to be the party of people who like the police and the National Anthem, who like going to church and driving gas-powered cars, and who think it’s simply wrong-headed to categorize every pale-faced American as irredeemably, systemically racist.
That doesn’t sound like a recipe for a Republican decline and fall. Instead, anyone claiming to be a keen political observer might suggest the parties mirror each other, that we Americans are intensely and quite evenly divided. We are polarized, and the bases of both parties won’t rush to compromise. But liberal journalists like E.J. Dionne often forgo keen observations to engage in wishful thinking.