A Former Democrat Asks: “What Happened to My Party?”

For virtually all of my adult life, I have been a registered Democrat. But as the party has abandoned critical commitments to color-blind racial equality, upward mobility and economic growth, I have moved on to become a registered independent. This makes me part of the fastest-growing “party” in America – the politically homeless.

The OC Register’s Joel Kotkin has written a stunning piece for his hometown paper asking the question that a large portion of older Democrats must be wondering, “What happened to my party?”

Kotkin has been a Democrat his entire life and only recently decided to dump his affiliation after he’d come to realize that the Democrat Party no longer valued a few very important positions that the Party once held dear.

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On economic policy, the Democrats had dumped a pro-growth position and embraced cronyism and socialism. The Democrat Party has wholeheartedly adopted the use of class-warfare as a tactic to winning political battles. On Race and Identity the Democrats had abandoned the idea that we were all created equal, no matter our skin color and taken to demanding that white America bend their knee at the altar of racial reconciliation.

The entire article is well worth reading, and quite important. Here are some of the highlights:

On Economic Policy:

Democrats from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton generally embraced growth as a means to improve the conditions of most Americans, including the working- and middle-class families with whom the party identified itself.

Today, this is changing. Liberals now constitute roughly three in five Democrats, a share twice as large as in 1992, when we elected the first Clinton. Increasingly, liberals, or progressives, are at best ambivalent about economic growth, particularly in such blue-collar fields as fossil fuel energy, manufacturing, agribusiness and suburban homebuilding. Bill Galston, a former close advisor to Bill Clinton, notes that party platform “is truly remarkable – for example, its near-silence on economic growth.”


On Socialism vs. Economic Growth:

Suspicious of broad-based economic growth’s impact on the environment, they logically favor redistribution of wealth over seriously growing the pie – in effect, contradicting nearly a half-century of mainstream Democratic thinking. The Bernie Bros and Gals think that higher taxes and more generous welfare benefits can turn America into a kind of mega-Scandinavia. They ignore the fact that, as author Nima Sanandaji has pointed out, the Nordic welfare state drew from generations of rapid growth built on small government, free markets and cultural factors, and that, in more recent years, countries such as Sweden have embraced a stronger free-market stance in order to pay for their generous welfare systems.


On Race Relations:

The Democratic Party’s embrace of racial equality in the 1960s represented an enormous step forward for both the country and the party, whose past was mired in slavery and segregation. Yet the Democrats leading the civil rights charge, like Hubert Humphrey, did not endorse the institutionalization of racial quotas. Old-line liberals preferred the notion, advanced by Martin Luther King, that discrimination on the basis of race is always wrong, and that people should instead be judged primarily on “the content of their character.”

Yet as the party has alienated its old white working- and middle-class base, racial and gender identity politics have become more important to Democrats.


Read the entire piece at the OC Register


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