- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 14, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Infantile leftism is dominating the Democratic Party.

This week, Hillary Clinton gave a racially charged speech in front of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Convention saying white people, “need to recognize our privilege and practice humility.”

On Saturday, the communist forces behind Occupy Wall Street, which fractured and faded after their 2011 demonstrations, are getting back together for an Occupy-inspired march in New York City, supporting and canvassing for self-described democratic socialist Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders.

Gone are the days of former President Bill Clinton’s Sister Souljah moment, where Mr. Clinton stood up and repudiated the bold extremes of his Party. You remember it — when Mr. Clinton, during a 1992 campaign speech before Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition criticized the black rap-artist known for her divisive racial lyrics and activism.

The move positioned Mr. Clinton as a centrist before the general election — someone white, middle-class and blue-dog Democrats could turn out for, and Republicans could work with. Mr. Clinton demonstrated he couldn’t be held captive to his party’s most radical constituencies. He stood for something.



That’s certainly not the case today. In 2016, Mr. Clinton couldn’t get elected — indeed he was practically booed off the stage at his wife’s campaign event this month after he defended his crime bill to Black Lives Matter activists. He was later made to issue an apology.

The Democratic Party is moving left — swiftly, and resoundingly so. It’s also abandoning any sense of truthfulness or rationality. The transition was hastened by Barack Obama’s presidency, when he sacrificed tough talk and responsible solutions to pander for votes. As a result, the Democratic voting base has become more liberal, requesting more from the government and less of themselves.

In 1994, when Eric Holder was a U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia under Mr. Clinton’s administration, Mr. Holder condemned the black community for its “lack of values,” and “aversion to work.”

Although crime “is born of poverty,” Mr. Holder said in a speech at a Martin Luther King Jr. event at the time, “we must also realize that crime is generated by a lack of values that has largely gone unaddressed in our nation as a whole and in the black community in particular. Soaring unwed birthrates, absentee fathers, an aversion to work, an unwillingness to embrace societal standards and time-honored discipline — all these factors have contributed to the problems we must now confront.”

However, instead of confronting these problems, more than two decades later, the Democratic Party has run away from them.

Mr. Holder, as attorney general in the Obama administration, dropped his lines about black’s “soaring unwed birthrates” and “absentee fathers” and instead started speaking about “systemic racism,” and “cycles of poverty, crime and incarceration that trap individuals, destroy communities and decimate minority neighborhoods.”

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders‘ have adopted this rhetoric, abdicating the African American community from any individual responsibility from whatever their social or economic plights may be. Instead, it’s ours as a nation.

College kids have also become more emboldened. It’s unfair to ask them to get an extra job to help pay for schooling or sacrifice a few years at a community college to lessen the cost — college should be free. It’s their right, not their responsibility.

For those that cross the border illegally, much the same. Unless they’ve committed a horrendous crime, their hardships in coming to America should be rewarded — no deportations for children, mothers, families or noncriminals. Meanwhile, please grant them drivers licenses and perhaps create a government agency to encourage them to apply for citizenship.

And so it goes, the Democratic base becomes more leftist.

An American Enterprise Institute report found that the percentage of Democrats who self-identify as liberal has skyrocketed from 29 percent in 2000 to 45 percent in 2015, whereas Republicans who identified as conservative only increased from 62 percent to 68 percent.

And this election cycle, AEI’s Michael Barone found large increases in the share of liberals voting in the first three Democratic primary states compared with 2008, even though the number of Democrats voting decreased substantially.

In comparative polling done in 1990 and 2015, The Wall Street Journal found the Democratic Party has “grown more liberal, younger, more urban and demographically diverse with a bigger overlay of upscale activists from the two coasts.”

The moderate-to-conservative Democrats in the Southern states, who helped elect Mr. Clinton, are either staying home or are diminishing in numbers, while the share of blue-collar workers who identify as Republicans has risen to 44 percent from 35 percent, the Journal found.

As a result, the market-enamored, free-trade, tough on crime, balanced budget policies that held sway during Mr. Clinton’s presidency, are being soundly rejected by his wife and Mr. Sanders. Gone are tough stances and pragmatic solutions.

In their place come free university schooling, apologies for “white privilege,” higher taxes, the abolishment of free-trade, and fewer deportations (if any at all).

Oh, how the Democratic Party has changed. Mr. Clinton once said “the era of big government is over.” It’s not. It’s just beginning.

Kelly Riddell is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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