Capitalizing on the Left's identity crisis
The Democrat party — and the left writ large — is dealing with a serious bout of ideological dysphoria. As of late, the leftist identitarians, who see everything through the lens of race, ethnicity, and sex, have dominated the Democrats' messaging. They have demanded that we "reimagine" policing (i.e., defund and dismantle local police departments), inject pernicious Critical Race Theory into the public school curriculum, destroy the economy in the name of "climate change," and fuel the flames of racial divisiveness. These issues, though, seem to exist only in a vacuum of abstraction. It's hard to believe that the likes of Chris Murphy, Sheldon Whitehouse, Chris Coons, Jon Tester, and Joe Manchin actually subscribe to this borderline-science-fiction ideology.
With the midterms just around the corner, some Democrat candidates are attempting to distance themselves from the AOC/Jayapal left and are campaigning more like Republicans. Tim Ryan in Ohio and Abigail Spanberger in Virginia are primary examples of this sort of disingenuous about-face. The question remains: will the American electorate conveniently forget that it was in fact the Democrat party that embraced the "defund the police platform" and promoted the lies about gender and biology? My guess: unlikely.
Intellects on the left, however, have cautioned Democrats to abandon these niche and peripheral issues. The venerable David Shor has smartly suggested that Democrats would be wise to embrace, what he calls "popularism," the idea that bread-and-butter issues like the economy and immigration, rather than woke pet projects, are more conducive to winning elections. Still, it is unclear whether the post-modernist left will prioritize pragmatism and common good over ideology.
Conservatives must seize this moment. While it's also true that the right has its own internal fissures, pointing out inconsistencies on the left should be a unifying effort. We cannot let the left get away with blatantly obvious doublespeak on the campaign trail. J.D. Vance, much to his credit, has repeatedly made a point of emphasizing Tim Ryan's politically expedient flip-flopping. The left, in more ways than one, is dysphoric. For conservatives not to campaign on this would be negligent and dumb.
Image: Gerry Lauzon.