A few years ago, it was a populist movement on the right, led by the amorphous Tea Party, that showed just how angry constituents were with their Republican representatives. That anger is still seething and shows up in the divide between Trump supporters and traditional Republicans of all stripes.
Today, we are seeing that same populist anger on the left, as all the identity-grievance groups the Democrats have mobilized for years have begun eating their own. It’s not surprising that, in an age when shouting beats quiet protests, students and teachers unions would try to impede speeches and school visits by conservative Betsy DeVos. What’s more surprising is to see Nancy Pelosi and even Barack Obama the subject of pushback.
We could see that shift in the Democratic Party in 2016 when Hillary Clinton had to disavow countless moderate successes in her husband’s administration, primarily on welfare reform and criminal justice. We saw it on the floor of the Democratic Convention when a mild pro-Israel resolution was boo’d. We saw it when it took a full-scale effort by all the party leaders to prevent Keith Ellison from becoming head of the Democratic National Committee. We saw it recently in San Francisco when Sen. Diane Feinstein had to retreat quickly after expressing a vague hope that Pres. Trump would do well in office.
We are continuing to see it as nurses in California protest any Democrats who won’t vote for a statewide single-payer system, at leftist demonstrations against Democratic leaders, and at speeches by people like former FBI leader James Comey, trying to explain his work on civil-rights and criminal-justice issues. The common theme: these people didn’t do enough to advance our progressive agenda.
They want single-payer health care, sanctuaries for illegal immigrants, free college tuition, and Trump out of office.
Expect more. People are angry, despite economic growth and very low unemployment, at least in the general population (though not among people with low skills). The Democratic Party has moved hard left, mobilized these supporters, and the intra-party competition for leadership gives politicians incentives to appease these angry voices, not quiet them.
In a stunning community meeting on Chicago’s South Side, protesting the lack of community benefits from the Obama Presidential Library, residents attacked Obama for “not doing enough for black people” and for “not being black enough.” His supporters’ defense for the last charge? He married a black woman and she will keep our racial interests in the forefront. That’s an amazing turn of events. (Link here)
And this from James Comey’s attempt to speech at historically-black Howard University in Washington. (The CNN reporter, by the way, is Valerie Jarret’s daughter.)