The energy among Democrats is fueled by anti-Trump Resistance and the embrace of Socialism.

The anti-Trump energy will get Democrats only so far — there already is evidence it will not be enough. Democrats feel the need to be FOR something, not just AGAINST Trump.

Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are the poster children for Democratic Socialism, which as Ocasio-Cortez has amply demonstrated recently in interviews, is really just Socialism.

Socialism as a party platform has Democrat politicians and insiders worried, because they fear it will undermine attempts to retake the House and Senate in 2018, and defeat Trump in 2020. NBC News reports, Sanders’ wing of the party terrifies moderate Dems. Here’s how they plan to stop it:

If Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading a leftist political revolt, then a summit here of moderate Democrats might be the start of a counterrevolution.

While the energy and momentum is with progressives these days — the victory of rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, buzz about Democratic Socialism and the spread of the “Abolish ICE!” movement are a few recent examples — moderates are warning that ignoring them will lead the party to disaster in the midterm elections and the 2020 presidential contest.

That anxiety has largely been kept to a whisper among the party’s moderates and big donors, with some of the major fundraisers pressing operatives on what can be done to stop Sanders, I-Vt., if he runs for the White House again.

But the first-ever “Opportunity 2020” convention, organized here last week by Third Way, a moderate Democratic think tank, gave middle-of-the-road party members a safe space to come together and voice their concerns.

“The only narrative that has been articulated in the Democratic Party over the past two years is the one from the left,” former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell told NBC News.

The Miami Herald reports that this counter-revolution within the Democrat Party has even the counter-revolutionaries doubting the socialists can be held back:

“Once again, the time has come to mend, but not end, capitalism for a new era,” said Jonathan Cowan, Third Way’s president, in a sweeping speech outlining his group’s study.

The group’s recommendations will be met with skepticism — if not outright derision — by many Democrats and liberals, who argue the party has been ill-served by a more modest, incrementalist approach. (Third Way officials counter that although their platform is different than a Sanders-style agenda, ideas like a proposed employer-funded pension system would be radical changes in their own right.)

And indeed, even many of those on hand in Columbus — a few hundred congressmen, Democratic officials, and local politicians — needed convincing that the rest of their party was interested in this approach.

Even James Comey (yes, THAT James Comey) is getting in on the act, warning the Democrats not to embrace the new Socialist movement within the party:

Democrats, please, please don’t lose your minds and rush to the socialist left. This president and his Republican Party are counting on you to do exactly that. America’s great middle wants sensible, balanced, ethical leadership.

The turn to Socialism as a party should not be viewed as primarily ideological, but practical. Democrats may have no other choice to achieve their agenda, as the election of Trump threatens to strip Democrats of the two key institutions they have relied upon: The federal courts (particularly the Supreme Court) and the regulatory state.

An article in The Wall Street Journal, talking about how the conservative legal group the Federalist Society created a conservative legal infrastructure, made a point I think is applicable to where the Democrat Party is going. The article by Jason Willick focuses on the work of political scientist Steven Teles. Faced with the loss of the Supreme Court and the scaling back of the administrative state, Democrats logically may go straight to socialism, How Conservatives Won the Law: (emphasis added):

Mr. Teles believes that one of the most salient projects for the newly conservative Roberts Court will be to roll back administrative-state prerogatives. That could revitalize Congress and restore the constitutional structure, vindicating two longtime goals of the conservative legal movement. But he thinks this could also end up serving certain policy ends of progressives.

For the past several decades, Mr. Teles says, many progressive victories in the economic realm have been achieved through “administrative jujitsu”—difficult-to-understand maneuvers involving taxes, fees, mandates, regulations, and administrative directives. If courts start to block technocratic liberal plans for social reform because they violate the separation of powers, the left may find it easier to mobilize for pure redistribution as an alternative. Think of postal banking instead of CFPB regulation, or a carbon tax instead of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, or a reduction in the Medicare eligibility age instead of ObamaCare subsidies and exchanges.

That might be good for democratic discourse, Mr. Teles suggests. “In some ways liberalism has been deformed” by relying on administrative agencies, “as opposed to making big arguments for big, encompassing social programs.” In the short term, though, conservative courts will probably prove “radicalizing for the left.” Democrats may fully jettison Clintonism and say: “We’re going straight for socialism.” Steeply redistributive programs enacted by legislatures would be “easier to defend in court,” even a conservative court, than unaccountable bureaucratic diktats.

This certainly makes sense as to why in this moment in time the Democrats’ embrace of Socialism provides the energy within the party. Conservatives are likely, before the end of Trump’s first term (and certainly if there is a second term), to remake the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. If that happens, the regulatory state will shrink and no longer be a source of liberal power.

Stripped of these institutional power bases, Democrats’ preference for creeping Socialism will no longer be an option. Impatient, they will demand the real thing. And in so doing, may guarantee they don’t get what they want.


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