In Desperate Need of ‘New Ideas,’ What Do Dems Have Other than the Redistribution of Wealth?
Margaret Thatcher once famously said that “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Is that what’s happened to the Democratic party?
Morning Joe devoted a navel-gazing segment today to the question of where Dems go from here given their loss of the presidency, their failure to take back either house of congress, and their hemorrhaging of governorships and hundreds of state-legislature seats. There was consensus that Nancy Pelosi and her septuagenarian cohort in the Dem leadership were past their sell-by dates.
But the bigger problem that was posed was the lack of a Dem agenda, and the suggestion that the Dems need to come up with “new ideas.” One Dem panelist claimed “we do have some of those” ideas, but neither he nor anyone else could describe them in any detail. And therein lies the looming disaster for the Dems.
Back to running out of other people’s money: it could be said that is exactly what has happened to the Democrats. Their soft socialism, based on the redistribution of wealth—other people’s money—has manifestly failed. And what “new” ideas could the Dems have, other than those based on redistribution? They are reduced almost exclusively to identify politics and the social issues.
So what possible solution is there to save the Dem party? Clearly, its strategy has been to import millions of new voters, and to legalize millions more already here, in the hope that at least for a generation or so they will fall for the Dems’ pitch. But if Trump succeeds with the fundamental thrust of his campaign—controlling immigration—that last Dem lifeline would be cut off.
HAROLD FORD, JR.: Age is not as much of an issue as the fact that there seems to be a dearth of an agenda. We lost this race. And there are some people that say we lost seats in the House and we didn’t win Senate races and we lost the presidential race because of a tactics game, that somehow or another we didn’t get enough people out to vote, and we clearly didn’t.
But the core of any get out the vote effort is an inspiring message. Is an inspiring agenda. And we lack that now . . . Tim [Ryan, Pelosi challenger] and others in the congress are going to have to not only rally around themselves but they have to rally around a message and an agenda and I hope that Democrats understand that we’re not going to defeat Donald Trump or we’re not going to beat back Republican proposals by just saying no and by yelling and screaming. If we don’t offer substantive, real proposals and answers and counters that speak to the aspirations and dreams of everyday, hard-working middle-class Americans, which is why this Carrier deal as symbolic as it is, is important, then we’re going to find ourselves in a worse situation.
. . .
MARK HALPERIN: But name an idea, a reform idea, prominently associated with Nancy Pelosi at this point, or over the last ten years. That’s the problem for the whole party right now. Where is the brand of the Democratic party going to be defined? If it’s defined by Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, as you said, the same leaders for two decades, that’s a problem. But what Democrats aren’t addressing, go back to what Harold said: why do they hold so few seats in the House, in the Senate, in the state legislators [sic]? Until they define a brand that can win those seats back, they’re going to have trouble going up against an administration that’s going to be moving at 150 MPH.
. . .
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Is the Democratic party where GM was in 2008?
DONNY DEUTSCH: Yeah.
JOE: No new ideas.
. . .
STEVE RATTNER: I think the issue is one, what Harold said about the need for ideas and policies. But really, we have some of those. What’s really important is we don’t have the people at the moment.
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