In late March 2022, Chuck Todd was widely reported in conservative circles for saying, with great chagrin, that the Democrats are in “shellacking territory” regarding the 2022 midterm elections. All indications as of this writing are that this is overwhelmingly true. Democratic strategists are scrambling; each memo released has a new finger-in-the-dike approach to holding on to whatever they can. MSNBC political analyst John Heilemann states, “[The Democrats] can’t motivate [their base] on the basis of hope or their pocketbooks or any of these accomplishments. They have to scare the crap out of them.”
His theory? Democrats will continue to use the specter of January 6th, 2021 to paint the Republicans in the light of Donald Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and their ilk. It’s all they have left. But why does the largest political party in the United States only have this strategy remaining? Shouldn’t they be able to pull together much, much more in the way of inspirational content for their political strategy? Why rely on demonizing other Americans when this is widely unpopular? The problem isn’t simple, but one key ingredient in the DNC’s muck soup is a severe mismatch between the traditional Democratic ideology and their current policies.
The Democratic party was built on several major tenets: the right to free expression, the right to choose what happens with your own body, and the fight against income and racial inequality. There are many more ideological threads within the Party, but these main three attract the majority of voters. Where do Democrats stand now on these main issues? Let’s address each one.
Free Speech. This issue is perhaps the most obvious mismatch. Free the People’s Leaving the Left for Liberty focuses in several cases on the disillusionment of former left-wing ideologues when they took the time to evaluate the policies and rhetoric of the Democratic party relating to freedom of expression. The Biden Administration has even openly called for censorship from “private” companies. Fact Checkers destroy oppositional thinking. A sitting President was removed from Twitter (perhaps for good reason), while demagogues and activists calling openly for murder, injustice, and rape were left with their mics still on. Vladimir Putin ordered the unwarranted invasion of Ukraine and has killed hundreds of civilians within Ukraine with his forces, yet he still has a voice on Twitter via the President of Russia handle. Most telling of all: Democrats have aligned themselves against parents’ right to express their interests in education. It was the deciding issue in the Virginia gubernatorial contest and widely seen as the most damning statement made by Terry McAuliffe during his campaign. The examples go on and on, but one thing is quite clear—the Democrats now value narrative propaganda over free speech. This mismatch has placed a bitter taste in the mouths of avant-garde Democrats and driven them away from the Party.
Bodily Autonomy. One of the starkest issues relating to Bodily Autonomy is COVID mandates. Public safety was a convenient excuse to fear-monger Americans into doing things that violated every possible ideological constraint of “my body, my choice.” Regardless of how you vote when it comes to Roe v. Wade, it should be clear by now that the Democrats in power overplayed their hand. They demanded that Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 without so much as a nod to personal choice or deference to personal doctors. They simply told people who had reservations about it they were idiots, or worse, murderers. Mask mandates without quality requirements were and are totally pointless. Cloth masks were the result of a “noble lie” told to preserve N-95 masks for frontline workers, according to Congressman Thomas Massie, and yet, two full years after lockdowns began we’re still forced to wear them on buses and planes. The Biden Administration is set to extend the mask mandate on public transit despite its overwhelming unpopularity and steadily falling COVID death rate. Republicans have also played this stupid game; this is worth noting even though we’re focusing on Democrats here. Even more telling is that the left-wing politicians and their media institutions restricted open and honest communication about the risks, benefits, and side effects of COVID vaccines and treatments. How were Americans supposed to make informed decisions about their health without any information? The main mismatch here is that Democrats forgot that people are intelligent and discerning. They forgot that people dislike being talked down to, and generally dislike being coerced. Had they strictly adhered to their tenet of Bodily Autonomy, they might have saved themselves some impending embarrassment during the upcoming 2022 midterms.
Inequality. From the moment President Biden said, “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” the Democrats showcased a major flaw. They put out on display their lack of appreciable advancement for those whom they have historically called disadvantaged. While minority voters flee from the Democratic Party in droves, the DNC has aligned itself with a new disadvantaged group called the LGBTQ+ community. While it’s clear that our Constitution and its amendments clearly protect all ways of life, it’s a hard thing for a government to mandate respect. Through great journalism as well as errant bravado from some in the LGBTQ+ community, people have been exposed to very disturbing imagery that is not representative of that community. From a gay men’s choir singing “we’re coming for your children” to a slew of major disagreements over whether biology trumps preference regarding women’s sports, the American people are watching as Democrats and Republicans align themselves staunchly across the battlefield from one another regarding things that have historically been a matter of simple biology. This is a losing position for Democrats, who’ve championed children’s and women’s rights for decades. They’re placing themselves between a rock and a hard place as sub-ideologies like feminism tear themselves apart over whether women or transgendered persons are more important, and education monopolization by teachers’ unions threatens to come apart at the seams over proposed parental involvement in curriculum. Aligning themselves to either side of these battles only serves to further disintegrate the Party and drive away voters.
Overall, Democrats have created a serious problem for themselves.
They’ve told their voters that they can save them from everything, when in fact they cannot. As the voters begin to realize the lie, they’re walking away. The mismatch between Democrats’ ideology and the outcome of their policies is strangling them. The only thing that could save the DNC is to move toward a massive culture shift which at this point they are only moving further from. While the GOP is not a better party, they tend to align their policies—at least their public ones—with their ideology, which creates a loose sense of cohesion between even the fringes of the party. The DNC needs to shake its image as the Island of Misfit Toys and come together under a cohesive plan of societal progress that is grounded in the values that have driven the party for decades or they will disappear from the future of American politics. Then again, they could just keep sending their voters to the Libertarian Party, and we’ll keep welcoming them with open arms.