Liberal vs. liberal: The death throes begin
Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted as having said, "When the enemy is making false movement, we must take good care not to interrupt him." Wise words on the battlefield in 1805, and worthy advice for Republicans and all conservatives circa 2017.
Given the Democrats' stunning and abject failure to seat their notorious anointed nominee last November, followed by a series of congressional election losses, despite spending staggering sums of election campaign cash, the fact is, the Democrats are disassembling, in total and utter disarray. While liberals in this country disassemble into numerous competing factions, feckless party Democrats are now wandering, leaderless, in the wilderness. The heart of the Democratic Party is at stake.
In a recently published essay entitled "The Liberal Crackup," Mark Lilla surmises, "It's time to admit that American Liberalism is in deep crisis; a crisis of imagination and ambition on our side, a crisis of attachment and trust on the side of the wider public. The question is, why?" Indeed, the ideological crackup must be a bitter pill for some – especially those of the 1960s era, whose efforts brought the liberal consciousness to the fore of American politics.
Unfortunately, a new generation of younger liberals has failed to adopt the concepts of solidarity, equal opportunity, and public duty, rather rallying behind divisive single-issue vapidity. Mr. Lilla laments that "we got tangled up in the divisive, zero-sum world of identity politics."
Summing up Mr. Lilla's essay, long gone is the ambition of new vision of a better way, woven together by a common, unifying thread. Identity politics has segmented, divided, and torn asunder the liberal innovation of coming together for the common good.
Liberal political identity factions are at war not only with American society as a whole, but also with each other. Vying for supremacy, numerous identity factions are far removed and sequestered from the once-"big tent" Democratic Party platform. This was the case with candidate Bernie Sanders: young liberal idealists attached themselves to the Sanders socialist wagon in the hope of making Sanders the Democrat presidential nominee. What they failed to realize (or were too naïve to understand): the fix was in for Hillary Clinton, long before Mr. Sanders announced his candidacy. Unable to cope with the brutal reality of Mrs. Clinton's all but certain coronation, many of Sanders's supporters either stayed home last November or simply refused to mark their ballots for Clinton. Jill Stein's ill fated election recount turned up thousands of ballots in which no presidential candidate name was marked.
In his essay, Mr. Lilla, a humanities professor at Columbia University, claims he is struck by the angry tenor and tone of radicalized liberal-thinking students. His concern is based on his own personal observation that college and university faculty have turned impressionable young minds into dangerous ideologues – incapable of civil debate and obsessed with personal identity politics. In plain speak, they are unable and unwilling to see the bigger political picture.
According to Mr. Lilla, "Black Lives Matter is a textbook example of how not to build solidarity." The Black Lives Matter movement is steeped in violence against law enforcement as well as vandalism and property destruction and the overarching demand for white sin penance – which, according to Mr. Lilla, plays into the hands of the Republican right.
The recent events at Charlottesville, and the growing presence of extreme liberal splinter groups such as Antifa festering amongst the liberal ranks, confirms that the Democrats will face a monumental task of uniting warring factions into a cohesive voting bloc in 2018 and 2020. With no real leader at the helm to corral, much less convince liberal adversaries that identity politics will not win elections, conservatives are well advised not to interrupt the enemy.