Polarization: A fitting and fortunate response to leftist overreach

News & Politics

Although I was delighted to see all the responses to my recent column on polarization, it was also unsettling to discover how many readers misunderstood my meaning. For the record, I do not deplore the polarization I discussed. I view it as a fortunate response to the intolerant cultural left, a runaway administrative state, and the anti-discrimination regime under which we’re living. I’d be far more concerned if, like in Canada or Germany, the populist response to the left’s power-grabs had little or no effect.

The polarization in question is not between the Republican and Democratic Parties as they existed 50 years ago. Since then, a major realignment has occurred throughout most of the Western world in which the predominantly white working class has become the vanguard of a transformed political right.

Trump, to his credit, has upset the entrenched left and its media handmaidens, while unifying normal Americans.

Meanwhile, much of the professional class, corporate capitalist executives, educators, and government administrators have united with the underclass and, more recently, illegal aliens to form a new leftist bloc.

Although this now-prevalent left embraces cultural radicals and supporters of increased administrative and judicial power, its power brokers are not socialists in any historical sense. But they do promote green energy policies that benefit Democratic Party donors. Crony capitalists who finance the Democrats are making a fortune through “alternative energy,” “alternative autos,” and “alternative heating.” Unfortunately, these costly, usually ineffective innovations are causing hardship for working-class Americans and small businesspeople while they further enrich the already rich.

While the Democratic Party operates as the mouthpiece of this woke alliance, the Republican Party is still working to redefine itself. Although Trump has become the most prominent advocate of a rising populist cause, his brash, impromptu speaking style does not express the populist position in a coherent manner.

Trump, to his credit, has upset the entrenched left and its media handmaidens, while unifying normal Americans. Even those who deplore Trump’s venting and verbal looseness can appreciate his contribution to a populist movement that calls for a renewed national identity and restraints on our runaway administrative regime.

Given what the Democratic Party has already done to destroy the life and confiscate the possessions of the Republican presidential candidate, and given its ready use of violence and riots to advance its power, I’ve no idea what returning to bipartisanship means, other than delaying a necessary struggle.

The idea that one can go back to the era of Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.), who ground out congressional deals while exchanging Irish jokes, is pure fantasy. Some congressional Democrats may be willing to hammer out an agreement with a Republican colleague on some commercial issue or about aid to Israel or Ukraine. But this hardly brings us back to the the bipartisanship of an earlier age. By now the left is working to remove even the possibility of effective opposition.

No, I don’t oppose running “moderate” Republicans in swing districts, assuming the price for allowing them to be competitive is to have them sound minimally different from their Democratic opponents. Although it would please me if all Republican candidates came out with guns blazing, I certainly know that’s not possible everywhere. Moreover, unless the Republicans can elect more of their candidates to high office, they’re not likely to wield much power for any end.

One might nonetheless hope that Republicans who get elected in swing districts behave like “moderate” Democratic officeholders. There are no moderate Democrats once elected, even if John Fetterman, my senator, has turned out to be less wacky than I expected. Robert Casey Jr., our other U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, ran as a centrist Democrat, but his voting record in Congress is hard to distinguish from that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). I wish our moderate Republicans became more conservative in office, just as Casey lunged to the left after his election!

Finally, I didn’t mean to suggest that the populist right has no path to political victory. But that path consists of extracting as many votes as possible from sympathetic electorates. Salena Zito in a recent commentary laid out this useful strategy for winning back Pennsylvania from the Democrats. According to Zito, Republicans should try to win overwhelmingly small red counties rather than exhausting their energy in pursuit of making inroads in strongly Democratic urban electorates.

If Republicans wish to attract any more black voters, then they must sound reasonable. Pace Fox News, there is no evidence that black voters are rushing in droves to change their party affiliations. Moreover, there is no reason to call Biden and his party “racists” for supporting the 1994 crime bill or for opposing busing supposedly to achieve more racially diverse schools. Both parties took those positions and were entirely justified in doing so. Black voters likewise overwhelmingly backed the crime legislation that Congress passed in 1994. Further, congressmen from both parties negotiated bills with Southern Democrats who voted against civil rights legislation in the 1960s. What was the alternative at the time? Attacking as racist what were once sensible bipartisan positions won’t entice anyone to flip parties.

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