Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Democratic Party Alliance

Last week, we discussed the composition of the Republican Party. Today it’s the Democrats. Whereas the Republicans are unbalanced, the Democrats are dysfunctional. The Democratic Party really is not a party at all, it’s an alliance of angry tribes or gangs. Indeed, they have no guiding philosophy, instead, they have an agreement to support each other’s grievances. This lets them remain competitive in elections, but makes it impossible to govern. Read on. . .

The Democrats like to claim that they are the party of Jefferson, of FDR and of JFK. Technically, this is true, but Jefferson, FDR and JFK would all be horrified at what the Democratic Party has become. Remember Reagan’s famous quote, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, it left me.” He’s right.

At one point, the Democratic Party represented middle class America and its values. It stood for limited government, state’s rights, free trade, and patriotism, and eventually a public safety net. But that changed.

Beginning with Lyndon Johnson, the Democratic Party began to break apart. Instead of a unified party representing working Americans, the party membership began to break into a balkanized collection of grudgeholders. In place of middle class, working Americans, you suddenly had militant unionist, violent peaceniks, privilege seeking civil rights activists and gender-obsessed feminists. The 1968 Democratic Convention riots were merely a hint of things to come.

By the 1980s, the Democratic Party had changed forever. No longer would it defend traditional American values from a liberal perspective. Instead, the Democratic Party became an alliance of hateful tribes, each seeking to have their grievances ensconced into law. If there was a unifying theory to the party, it was the desire to use government power to take from those who have.

In 1992, Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council tried to pull the party back from the brink. They tried to pull the party away from its worst extremes, to get it to recognize the benefits of capitalism and a social policy based on something other than identity politics and spite. But those who hate are blind, and Clinton’s efforts failed.

Today there is no party left and there is no Democratic philosophy, there is only the alliance and the demands of its groups. Under their Faustian bargain, each group within the alliance agrees to vote for the pet projects of the other members in exchange for getting their own pet projects approved. But there is no agreement on a general party philosophy. And if you want proof, ask yourself when was the last time you heard a debate about “what the Democratic Party should stand for”?

As it stands right now, the following four groups dominate the party leadership:

Unions. The most powerful gang within the Democratic Party are the unions. Even though they account for only 7% of private sector workers (12% if you include government workers), more than 25% of Democratic delegates are union members. Moreover, unions provide the manpower needed for get-out-the-vote campaigns. Of all the unions, the most powerful are the teachers. Hence, you will never see genuine education reform from the Democratic Party. Unions are concerned with overturning right to work laws, bailing out unionized companies, opposition to free trade, and transferring health care obligations to the taxpayer.

Blacks. The second most powerful group within the Democratic Party is the black lobby, though their influence is fading. When they originally rose to prominence within the party, they did so on the basis of the moral authority of the civil rights movement and on their ability to deliver 90% of the black vote. However, having obtained affirmative action in most matters and having guaranteed the continued flow of public assistance dollars, there is little left that this group seeks to achieve except remaining in power and enriching themselves. They remain powerful because of their ability to deliver large numbers of voters and their ability to agitate their voters by fanning the flames of racism and victimhood. Though their lack of goals, the realization that black voters will vote Democratic even without guidance, and the fact that the percentage of blacks in the population is shrinking are all diminishing their influence.

Professional Women. This is the third most powerful group within the Democratic Party. This is the group that evolved from the feminist movement. While they claim to speak for “women” they in fact speak for upper class, white, single, professional women. The issues that concern this group now are almost exclusively keeping abortion easily available, ensuring that women gain access to private mens clubs, board room representation, and competing with blacks for set asides.

Big Business. Fancy meeting you here? The biggest givers to the Democratic Party year after year are bankers, lawyers, technology companies and defense contractors. And even though the Democratic Party repeatedly attacks “the rich,” “Wall Street” and “Big Business,” Big Business’s money is well spent on people like Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank and Joe “the Senator from MBNA” Biden. If you ever want to see an interesting correlation, look at the stocks Nancy Pelosi owns and the legislation she introduces (as compared to the things she says). Big Business actually fits more easily within the Democratic Party, e.g. fewer conflicts, than it does within the Republican Party.
These groups control the leadership, yet they have little power to set the agenda. Indeed, because the Democratic Alliance isn’t large enough to create a consistent majority, the alliance as a whole is subject to being held up by even the smallest member -- in many ways it is like a parliamentary government that can be held hostage by the smallest coalition member. This gives an incentive for each member to hold out in hopes of getting more of their agenda put in place. This, naturally, results in infighting and stagnation. It also means that there is little will to create an agenda beyond the individual grievances because the effort will only result in more hold up attempts. Thus, each group sticks to its most important issues.

This is the reason the Democrats have such a hard time governing. Unlike the Republicans, who have a general intellectual founding and fight at the edges, the Democratic Alliance has agreed to work together to achieve the edges, i.e. each of their pet issues, but they cannot agree on general intellectual principles.

Here are the other groups that form the alliance:
Jews. A few years ago, Jews would have been listed above. Not only do 87% of Jews vote Democratic, but 13% of the Senate and 9% of the House is Jewish, despite being only 1.7% of the general population. Moreover, they represent some of the wealthiest districts (i.e. donors) in the country. However, a rising anti-Semitism on the left, particularly aimed at Israel, is causing their influence to wane. This group’s primary concerns are ensuring that the United States supports Israel and opposing the mixing of Christianity and government.

Gays. Although representing only 1-3% of the population, gay advocates have gained significant influence within the party because of their financial strength and their over-representation in government and the media. Gay groups are concerned with gay rights legislation, redefining marriage to include homosexuals, age of consent laws, incorporating gay “tolerance” into education, and obtaining partnership benefits. Their biggest opponents within the party are blacks who are uneasy with homosexuality and who object to the application of the civil rights analogy to gay issues.

“Environmentalists”/Socialists/Internationalist. In the 1970s and 1980s, environmental groups like the Sierra Club gained significant influence within the Democratic Party. That influence has grown significantly. However, that influence has been hijacked by a new group of faux-environmentalists who are not interested in specific environmental goals, so much as they are interested in pushing socialistic policies and the surrender of United States sovereignty to international organizations.

America Haters. This group likes to describe themselves as “pacifists,” but they aren’t. Pacifism has a long and principled place in American history. But these people aren’t part of that. Rather than supporting non-violence, this group instead cheers for American failure. They revel in the deaths of American soldiers, knowingly offer aid and comfort to America’s enemies, and clamor for things like war crimes tribunals against American leaders and soldiers. Yet, when the war is against a rightist regime, or is fought by Democratic leaders, this group becomes mysteriously silent. Jimmy Carter and Frank Murtha fall firmly into this group (as do many journalists). The goals of this group appear to be simply to interfere with American foreign policy when being implemented by Republicans, with the aim of eliminating America’s status as a superpower.

Anti-Christians. This group should not be confused with atheists, as it includes individuals of many faiths as well as some (though by no means all) atheists. This group is obsessed with eliminating all traces of Christianity from the public sphere. And while they claim to be protecting the separation of church and state generally, they rarely complain about state sponsorship of non-Christian religions.

Public Assistance Recipients. Public Assistance Recipients wield significant influence over the party even though they have no leaders. Their influence derives from three facts (1) they are the largest voting bloc within the party, (2) they have a single, easy to recognize demand -- getting the benefits “to which they are entitled” and ensuring that others don’t get more, and (3) they are loyal supporters of anyone who ensures that those benefits keep flowing but will turn on anyone who threatens to cut them off. Thus, while this group makes no attempts to participate in party leadership, they are extremely successful at getting the party to guarantee their demands.
There are others, but they haven't really gotten any power yet. In any event, this alliance is ungainly and unworkable. With each group having the power and incentive to hold the others up, it becomes virtually impossible for the Democratic Party to act.

Earlier in the year, many wondered why the left remained so angry even after the election of Obama and the clean sweep in the Congress. This is the answer. They were angry because the fighting had only just begun -- they had won the election but now they had to fight with each other to get what they wanted. It also explains why Team Obama doesn’t seem to have a coherent strategy and why his initiatives have faced such resistance even though the party has enough votes to ram through anything it wants.

Consider health care reform. Big business, the unions and the socialists want the government to take over health care, and want the tax payer to pay for it. So they demand a public option. But women, Jews, and gays, whose members are generally much wealthier than the general public and who already have health insurance, are concerned that they will lose the plans they have and will be forced to pay increased taxes to cover others. Thus, they oppose the public option. The Public Assistance Recipients didn’t care until word came out that their benefits (Medicare/Medicaid) would be cut, suddenly they became angry and concerned. Since any one of these groups has the power to paralyze the party, this created a stand off which the Democrats have yet to be able to resolve.

So what does this mean for us? For one thing, it tells us how insidious the Democratic “Party” has become. It also instructs us how to fight them. If you can peel off the right group or two, the entire structure collapses into in-fighting.

And you thought the Republicans had problems!


StanH said...

Some talking head years ago said, running the Democrat party is like “herding cats.” This simple analogy reinforces what you say in your essay.

Unions, and most of the other groups you listed are stubbornly Democrat a the leadership level. The rank-n-file often votes conservative “Reagan Democrats.” Get the right candidate and it will happen again. Blacks are probably the exception, and the surest Democrat vote. though I understand, this is foolish on their part, they lose leverage against the Democrat/Borg collective.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I've heard the cats thing and it seems to be true. The Democrats can win elections (more likely the Republicans lose elections) but they have never been able to govern. This is why.

The unions do have the problem that their rank and file is not as liberal as their leadership. But they still have tremendous power because of their ability to deliver people and money. Their biggest problem lately has been a steadily falling membership.

That's (1) why they need the bailouts (to keep their lazy companies going and prevent further collapse of membership), (2) why they want card check, to undermine right to work, and (3) why they are trying to allign service unions with immigration because it gives them a steady flow of "untraditional Americans", i.e. people they think will be pro-union.

Tennessee Jed said...

I have always felt that in general, at least historically, the Republican Party was considered the party of business ("the business of America is business") while the Democratic Party styled itself as the party of the little guy standing up against the rich, powerful, and greedy."

As your article correctly points out, it has so far evolved from that. Still, Democrats tend to see big government as a solution while Republicans (at least conservatives) see it as the problem. Both big government and big business are powerful and can screw the individual, but in my view, politicians are generally even more crooked than businessmen.

Writer X said...

Very interesting, Andrew! Remember the "soccer moms" during the Clinton administration? I wonder if that's still a category or if they've gotten older and become more conservative.

The Democrat Party always seems to appeal to a person's weaknesses (and exploits them) regardless of the category.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, Thanks, glad you found it interesting.

Groups like soccer moms are more marketing creations, they're targets for campaigns (undecided groups that both sides think they can win over in a particular election). The groups I've discussed above are the core groups that seek to control the agenda of the Democratic Party.

And you're right about appealing to weakness, because each of these groups appeals to the worst instincts of their members to keep them within the tribes.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think you're right that for many years the Republicans were the party of business and the Democrats the party of the worker. But that's changed because the Democrats abandoned the worker. The Republicans now is the home of the "working man" and small business, though it doesn't always act accodingly. The Democrats consist of the collection above.

Big Business has become very insidious because it has merged with Big Government and now uses government regulation to benefit itself. It's not irrational on their part, but it's not good for the country or for us (e.g. their desire for open borders, government subsidies, and normalizing our regulations with international regulations). The real blame, though, as you point out, lies with the politicians who sign off on all of this.

LawHawkSF said...

I think that Bill Clinton lost an awful lot of his credibility as a centrist Democrat when he tried to pass Hillarycare. Major mis-step.

I happen to be among those who think that lawyers exert an inordinate influence on the Democrats. Particularly the "Trial Lawyers Associations." They control the American Bar Association, and most of the State Bar Associations, and play an important part in picking future judges. They spend oodles of money every election, the vast majority of it on Democrats. And the terminal infection of "social justice" has pervaded every major law school, resulting in an army of ultraliberals, socialists and social engineers, all of whom support the left wing of the Demoratic Party.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I group the trial lawyers with big business because their interests are entirely commercial. Basically, they are just another large company looking to use the government to their own financial benefit.

What you're talking about with social engineering is usually incidental to being a lawyer and has more to do with being a member of another gang who then became a lawyer to further their group goals.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Agreed, up to a point. That's why I didn't list it as a separate group. But the social engineers are not just another group of leftists. Their numbers are large and growing, and we both know that a lawyer can do a lot more damage than the average citizen. Many of the young lawyers I have talked to over the past few years don't consider social engineering to be incidental to their practice, they consider it to be the purpose of their practice, and the very reason they went to law school in the first place.

U.C. Hastings Law (where I spent my first year of law school) used to be a very fine, strict interpretation school. Today, the
"school of social justice" building overwhelms the rest of the campus and sends out hordes of activist leftist lawyers every year. Their internship programs consist almost entirely of "advocates for the homeless," "gay rights," "social equality" and other leftist causes. Too many of these young people are not going to law school to to the traditional thing: learn to think like lawyer. They go to be successful "activist advocates for social justice." And amazingly few are concerned with making money as a goal. I see that as a core belief, not incidental to their legal training. And they think of themselves as the elite, the vanguard. They have no intention of being mere radicals. After all, they're lawyers.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I think you're in an odd place. The vast majority of law students I've run into never gave social justice a second thought. Those that did, went to law school having already been indoctrinated.

There is no doubt that lawyers are knee deep in all of the groups that make up the Democratic Party. But I see no evidence that lawyers form an independent group attempting social engineering. To the contrary, I see the legal profession as simply a tool that each of the groups uses to advance their own agenda.

In other words, if we put up signs for each group in a large room and asked them all to take seats, I doubt anyone (other than plaintiffs attorneys) would sit at the "lawyer" table -- they would be sitting with their primary groups (blacks, women, anti-religious, etc.).

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: As you said, the groups cross over when it's convenient. I've seen more than one example of the "schools of social justice," including Stanford, UCLA, Harvard, Yale and most of the other Ivy Leagues (and of course, Boalt Hall on the Berkeley campus). But I will grant you that in a fever of false humility, most leftist lawyers would identify with the other groups, since the law, when actually implemented constitutionally, is inimical to their concept of social justice. That's where it's scary--social justice (at least as they view it) is in direct confrontation with the Constitution and individual rights. So--you get the game point on that one.

MegaTroll said...

I love this blog. You guys always give me something to think about. I think you're right about this too and that gives me hope that they won't get what they want.

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