- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

After Tuesday’s stunning primary results is now safe to say that the Democratic Party is the party of Bernie Sanders. In fact, Democrat voters and the Democratic Party’s leadership has gone so far from the vision and ideals of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the founders of the Democratic Republicans which became today’s Democratic Party, that they really should now change their name to the Democratic Socialist Party

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former campaign organizer for Sanders’ presidential campaign, shocked the party by pounding well-funded establishment figure Rep. Joe Crowley in New York. But the shock of that race has overshadowed the equally stunning victory of former NAACP President Ben Jealous for the Democrat’s nomination for governor in Maryland. 

Jealous, a political novice, was an early supporter of Sanders in 2016 and ran against establishment figure Rushern Baker, the County Executive in Prince George’s County, a DC suburb. Jealous ran using Sanders‘ class warfare, socialist template defied the political class by outpacing all polling that showed Baker, a long-time elected official who had gained endorsements from most of the party’s establishment figures, with a solid lead throughout the primary campaign. 

During the 2016 presidential primaries, then-Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was stumped when MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked her the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist: 



Matthews: What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist? I used to think there is a big difference. What do you think it is? A Democrat like Hillary and a socialist like Bernie Sanders.

Wasserman-Schultz: The more important question is what is the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican. 

MatthewsWhat’s the big difference between a Democrat and a socialist? You’re chairman of the Democratic Party. Tell me the difference between you and a socialist.

Wasserman-Schultz: The relevant debate that we’ll be having this campaign is what’s the difference between a Democrat and a Republican.

Months later, Matthews asked eventual Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton the same question. Clinton, trying to curry favor with Sanders voters was unable or unwilling to explain any real distinction: 

Matthews: OK, last question, we’re running out of time. I want to try to help you for this audience tonight, our audience, locate yourself politically in this country. Now we have Trump out there, and we have Bernie out here. Now Bernie calls himself a Socialist. Nobody uses a derogatory term any more. It’s his — he loves to have that label. He’s never run as a Democrat, he runs against Democrats up there in Vermont. You’re a Democrat. I’d say you’re a pretty typical Democrat, in the tradition of the Democratic Party. And Humphrey and the rest of them. (Scoop) — not even (Scoop), I’d say Mondale. You’re somewhere in there. What’s the difference between a Socialist and a Democrat?

 Clinton: Well…

Matthews: Is that a question you want to answer, or would you rather not?

Clinton: Well, you know, I — you’d have to ask…

Matthews: Well, see, I’m asking you. You’re a Democrat, he’s a Socialist. You — would you like someone to call you a Socialist? I wouldn’t like someone calling me a Socialist.

Clinton: But I’m not one.

Matthews: OK.

Clinton: I’m not one.

Matthews: What’s the difference between a Socialist and a Democrat.

Clinton: Well, I can tell you what I am. I am a progressive Democrat. 

Matthews: How’s that different than a Socialist?

Clinton: I’m a progressive Democrat who likes to get things done and who believes…

Matthews: OK.

Clinton: …that we are better off in this country when we’re trying to solve problems together. 

Matthews: Right.

Clinton: Getting people to work together. There will always be strong feelings, and I respect that, from, you know, the far right, the far left, Libertarians. But whoever it might be, we need to get people working together. We got to get the economy fixed

Matthews: OK.

Clinton: …we got to get all of our problems, you know, really

Matthews: I know.

Clinton: …tackled. And that’s what I want to do.

The answer to Matthews‘ question is now quite irrelevant. Whatever the distinction between Democrats and Socialists may have been, the Democratic Party has now been commandeered by Sanders and his socialist agenda and ideology. His ideas have won. 

The delicious irony is that the Democratic Party establishment let it happen. They loved the idea of Bernie going out there and getting all those young voters riled up and motivated around his unrealistic, rainbow and unicorn socialist plans, but they rigged the 2016 primaries so Hillary was sure to win and then they expected Bernie and his legions to fall in line and put their gal in the White House. 

But they played it way wrong. If they had looked at history they would have known. Socialists are ideologues. They play the long game. They would rather destroy and take over what’s left of a party, a union or a country rather than actually work together and try to build something. Their ideas are to pure to compromise. So they let Hillary and the party they never really belonged to stumble and fail, so they could sweep in and take over. 

And they have. 

Sanders knows it, too. He had high praise for the candidates that won yesterday by flying his red flag. 

The energy, the ideas and the momentum is now with the Sanders socialists and the party is now theirs. And since the former standard bearer and the former Chairwoman of the Democrats couldn’t really find a distinction between socialists and democrats it’s now clear that there really isn’t one. 

They are the Democratic Socialist Party, It’s what their policies suggest and it’s what their voters respond to. It’s who they are and they might as well own it. 

Now we have clarity. Now we have a clear understanding and choice in America. Do we go the way of our founders and of Reagan and embrace the free market and freedoms and liberty and individualism, or do we go the way of Western European ideals and embrace government control, wealth redistribution and collectivism? 

It’s a national discussion that’s long overdue and we should welcome the debate. Now that we know exactly who we are and where we stand. 

Let the games begin. 

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