Robert Patillo Asks: Why Did Democrats Abandon Their Base?

The Democratic party’s “Coalition” for the last 50 years has been built on a big tent of ideas. A broad coalition of Black Christians particularly in the South; Latinos, Catholics and Immigrants; Jewish voters, Women’s Issues voters, the LGBTQ community, Labor Unions, the Poor and Young People. This coalition was formed in the wake of the tumultuous 1960s where American politics clearly split between the Conservative Right and the Progressive Left.

The Conservative wing of American Politics coalesced around a concept of preserving the “Traditional” American power structure. This included patriarchy, white supremacy, militarism, corporatism and nationalism. This focus on the traditional rich white male power structure reinforced by Christian Conservatives and National Defense lead the Republican party to victories in 8 of the past 13 Presidential Elections since 1968. A consistent message of lower taxes, higher military spending and traditional values exist in stark contrast to the “Liberal Agenda”.

Taken further, since 2008 Democrats have lost 10.2% of the U.S. Senate, 19.3% of the U.S. House, 20.3% of State Legislatures and 35.7% of Governorships. All of this while the population of the Democratic base has only increased. In 2016 Black, Hispanic and Asian Voters made up 26% of the electorate. Additionally, 4.1% of the general population now identifies as LGBTQ while Women now make up 50.4% of the population. According to the numbers Democrats should now be dominating U.S. politics but rather they find themselves on the brink of eradication.

The reason for this became clear with the recent comments of new DNC chair Tom Perez. In a statement regarding Pro-life Democrat Heath Mello of Nebraska, Perez stated “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health.” “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.” “At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”

This statement in and of itself is controversial, however the reason that this statement was issued cast lighter onto what is killing the Democratic party. Prior to the statement of Perez, the President of NARAL a powerful abortions rights lobbying organization issued a statement condemning any Democrat that supported pro-life candidates. Within hours of this statement both Perez and Senator Dick Durbin were out reaffirming a pro-abortion litmus test for all Democrats. This influence by Leftist groups has shifted and perverted the Democratic message away from that of their true voting base.

As the Leftist agenda has encroached into the mainstream of the party have been driven to the fringes. Whereas the Black church has served as a key organizing tool for the Democratic party and focal point for voter engagement, today, if you are a devote pro-life Christian you are ostracized by the vary party they have believed in their entire lives. During the 2012 election cycle the Obama campaign sent surrogates to Black churches around the country advising them to not preach against “Gay Marriage” as they feared their opposition to the new campaign position could depress voter turnout. This idea of asking religious voters to choose party platform over their God is not the same thing as being “inclusive.” Rather, this is the party making value judgements as to what beliefs individuals must hold to be within the Democratic “Big Tent”.

Taken further, the Democratic party has allied themselves with the outrage based, Social Justice Warrior movement. This movement seeks to create “Safe Spaces” everywhere so that no one will ever have to experience hurt feelings anywhere at any time. Under the banners of inclusion and multi-culturalism they have created a culture of silence and repression. Because the party now punishes free speech and open expression every statement reads like a Human Resources manual. The party believes that by simply mentioning each single sub-group of individuals and ensuring that no one says anything to offend anyone then that will satisfy all people. But what has happened is that the desire to not offend anyone has created a culture of victimhood. There is no vision of how to fix America, there is only the constant wining about what is wrong with America. By dividing Americans into various sub-groups, they have robbed the party of any unifying identity.

Today’s Democratic party sees America as a collection of coastally based special interest groups with no connection to the principles and values that made it a powerful party in the middle part of the last century. Instead of discussing the Flint water crisis in Michigan, Democrats were sending the Justice Department after Transgender bathrooms in North Carolina. Instead of addressing Black Lives Matter in North Carolina, Democrats focused on Planned Parenthood. Instead of articulating a vision for the future of America, Democrats keyed in on calling Trump a racist, sexist, misogynist, xenophobe and a bunch of other words folks in middle America can’t pronounce or care about.

The coastal centers of gravity for the party have gone super nova and collapsed into black holes sucking in all the party’s money, energy and ideas. Because of this county organizer and local party chair no longer control the party’s message or agenda. The Democratic platform and policies come from the top down instead of up from the grassroots. If the Democrats want to revive a dying party they should start by listening to their constituents instead of special interests. But if the party is beholden to the coastal monied elites they will continue to abandon their own base.

More from Attorney Robert Patillo
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