Why is the Democratic Party So Disciplined?
For years I've been marveling at the extraordinary discipline of the Democratic Party. For me it started with the Clinton impeachment in 1998. Right through the 2000s it was amazing to experience the Democrats uniformly reciting their talking points and catchphrases from what seemed to be the same email. Then there was ObamaCare and Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed to have absolute control of the Democratic members. Dozens of moderates like Bart Stupak walked the plank for the good of the party.
How do they do it, I wondered? How do they tell their rebels to stuff it? Who tells them “you'll never work in this town again?” Well, now Peggy Noonan has told us why and how. She talked to a Republican opposition researcher about Democratic Party discipline. Said he:
“As an upstairs-downstairs party, the upstairs is a fairly concentrated place. The Democrats as the ‘in’ party -- the party of Silicon Valley and academia -- has interlocking pools of money, brains and talent.” When they turn on you, it is like facing “the Death Star.” And “on top of that, you have the Clintonian tropism toward score settling and vengeance. What you have in the end is discipline.”
On top of that is the basic difference between the two parties. The Republican Party is a party of ideas; the Democratic Party is a party of interests. John C. Goodman has the goods:
The Republican Party has four factions, Matthew Dowd announced on This Week with George Stephanopoulos a few weeks ago. They are: the libertarians, the evangelicals, the Tea Party and the establishment. Notice that all four factions are defined by ideas. They are defined by how they think the world should be organized.
But the Democratic Party is different. It “is a party of special interests and groups who respond to identity politics.” That's why
When Clinton announced her candidacy, she carefully went down the list of groups she intended to target: women, minorities (read blacks), Hispanics, immigrants, the LGBT community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender), etc.
“Etc.” is short for “working women, minimum wage workers, teachers and members of just about every labor union in the country.” Every group has its issue that is “vote-determining.”
Somebody has to keep the different groups marching together, otherwise the coalition will fall apart, and we know who that somebody is. It is the white upper class of gentry liberals. But now, in California, according to Troy Senik at the National Review, it is starting to fall apart.
Hispanics in California, writes Senik, are pretty unhappy that Kamala Harris has been anointed as the Democratic candidate to inherit Barbara Boxer's seat in the U.S. Senate. They don't think they should be sent to the back of the bus, not now that they are the biggest demographic group in California.
Yes, but Kamala Harris is black and south Asian! So she is, the daughter of a breast cancer specialist and a Stanford University economics professor, a gentry liberal, born and bred. Challenger Loretta Sanchez is the daughter of a union machinist and a secretary. Like I say, the only privilege in America is liberal privilege.
The political logic of the liberal plantation is that helpless minorities seek shelter from the big bad employers, or white majority, or male sexists by becoming the political clients of compassionate white liberals. Necessarily, the liberal gentry up at the Big House must employ a few drill instructors to maintain discipline in the ranks -- soldiers fighting impossible odds against those white racists must have each others' backs. But what happens, as in California, when the minority becomes the majority? Who needs all the patronizing and protection from a bunch of ageing white gentry liberals then? What you get is the Hispanics in California getting a bit restless about gentry liberal Kamala Harris getting the nod for the Senate.
Or, in the case of Hispanics where liberals have failed to keep them segregated off in urban ghettos as they have done so admirably with African Americans, the minorities might just start to live and go to school and work among the white Anglos and even start intermarrying with white Americans and bolt for the Republican Party.
The Prussian discipline that has come to characterize the Democratic Party may not be a proactive strategy to build a glorious Democratic majority. It may instead be the reactive tactic of a party desperately trying to keep itself together and keep its subordinate minorities down on the farm and well away from gay Paree.
And now, from Instapundit, Speaker Boehner seems to be learning from the Democrats and punishing GOP representatives who step out of line. I wonder if the disciplinary regime will work as well for establishment Republicans as it has for Democrats.