They’re All Socialists Now – Death of the Kennedy Democrats

THE mastermind of Bill Clinton’s rise from being just another shady bubba in a Southern governor’s mansion to the man sworn in as 42nd President of the United States says he’s “scared to death” his beloved Democratic Party might be on the verge of becoming an unelectable rabble of terrifying crackpots. If you balked at the word becoming, you get why James Carville’s intervention in the post-Iowa fight for “mainstream” status should be seen as tactical rather than ex-tempore. The Democrats jumped off the verge of normal and became terrifying crackpots a long time ago. Not since Clinton and the then relatively conventional Al Gore left office in 2001 has the party been even remotely connected to average Americans. Carville is no dilettante on the meaner streets of US politics. The “Ragin’ Cajun” not only strategised Clinton into the Oval Office; he has also overseen a number of other campaigns – both for gubernatorial candidates in the United States and for parties in Israel, Britain and Canada. He is a smart operator. By distancing the remnants of working class and centrist Democrats from Bernie Sanders and The New York Times, Carville is attempting to disguise the other leading contenders to take on Donald Trump as culturally grounded and politically orthodox.

But they’re not. All of the remaining primaries candidates – with the exception of Tulsi Gabbard – are some or all of the following things: literal socialists, cultural extremists, conspiracy theorists and nanny-stater cranks. The big-name non-contenders – abecedarians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and old donkeys like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Jerry Nadler – are even worse. This is what happens when a party is captured by special interest extortionists who deftly use like-minded activists in the media to create and re-create at will the definition of mainstream.

Where was Carville when Hillary Clinton was accusing Gabbard of being run by Moscow? Where was he when the entire Democratic establishment was pushing the Steele Dossier and the Russia collusion hoax? The Louisiana reality whisperer was missing in action. He gave the crazies their head believing Russia (then Ukraine) could pay big dividends. Three years of insanity from ‘mainstream’ Democrats did nothing but encourage the Sanders insurgents. If Donald Trump really is the criminal, racist Hitler that party elders made him out to be, why would the Bernie crowd behave any differently now? Their radicalism isn’t an outlier phenomenon. It’s long-sanctioned boilerplate. Coincidentally or not, Carville’s remarks hit the airwaves on the same weekend as the Washington Post Editorial Board published a surprisingly accurate insistence that Bernie Sanders is not the only hard-core socialist 2020 contender. “In fact, every major Democratic candidate is running on an agenda to the left of Mr. Obama’s,” it helpfully points out. What seem like competing interpretations are actuated by the same agenda: to marginalise Sanders and convince his supporters to vote for anybody else. Carville does so by appealing to registered Democrats who might be tempted to see the Vermont senator as the challenger with all the momentum, the man of the hour. The Washington Post, on the other hand, wants them to see Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and even Joe Biden as respectable radical alternatives.

Some sanity is just not coming back

It was the connection to working-class Americans that preserved traces of normality in Democratic thinking from the last days of the Kennedy-Johnson period through to the 1970s and 80s. Those men cultivated the old patriotic labour vote with reverence. It’s hard to imagine any contemporary Democrat fostering the loyalty of coal miners as much as the Kennedys did. Those tough West Virginians and East Kentuckians knew the Boston brothers were rich and their hands uncalloused but they respected them for turning up in person. By the 1990s, the relationship with the working-class was over. The original insurgent, Eugene McCarthy, endorsed Ronald Reagan in 1980. Clinton and Gore could flatter a factory audience when they had to but nobody believed they made policy with blue-collars in mind. Blue dresses maybe.


Biden: ‘We Could Run Mickey Mouse Against This President and Have a Shot.’


Carville’s famous bullet-point set the tone for the Clinton administration and was the next best thing: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Barack Obama and Joe Biden sent even that gem to the Smithsonian. They boasted about destroying the coal industry on behalf of urban climate worriers. Factory work was no good either. “Some jobs are just not coming back,” President Obama explained (his mellifluous voice unshaken by emotion). What is genuinely new about the skittish cop/calm cop routine of Carville and the Post is its frank admission that the party of the Kennedys and Tip O’Neill – even of Jimmy Carter and Gary Hart – is dead. Still dead, to be more exact (like Generalissimo Francisco Franco), and it’s never coming back. The more conventional election-year ploy is to claim the modern GOP is extreme and the Democrats are a moral constant. The Trump economy, the President’s unexpected routing of Deep State holdovers minding the fort for a friendly ‘progressive’ and Joe Biden’s primaries implosion have smoked out the truth. Donald Trump has changed everything.

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13 Responses to They’re All Socialists Now – Death of the Kennedy Democrats

  1. Tom

    It’s astonishing to me that one of America’s big political parties has no-one in the engine room warning of the approaching electoral calamity.

    The DNC evidently believes it’s enough to have the news media behaving as its subsidiary pumping out Trump hatred and Dems-stacked fake polls 24/7 and dumbing down the public — hubris on steroids.

  2. News of a Demise shouldn’t be exaggerated. Bloomberg van buy the party a lot of turn out in 9 months time. An economic downturn also.
    But yeah they don’t represent workers.

  3. Rob MW

    Starting to look like it’s coming down to Bernie, if his socialistic blood pressure doesn’t give up the ghost, or Mr/Mrs Mayor Pete if he/she can convince the evangelical heartland and the other binary faiths that it’s worth breaking a multitude of glass ceilings to put him/her in the White House.

    In the mean time the populace must be very much looking forward to the endless non-binary socialistic screeching from the Dems crazies over the next 9 months or so.

  4. C.L.

    Looks like Sanders will take New Hampshire.
    I think the media/celebrities/leftist noise machine etc will start selling Buttigieg as the ‘cultural moment’ contender by mid-year. Even some Colonel Sanders troops will desert for the cause.

  5. Professor Fred Lenin

    So the choice of the left voter In the USA is ,an unreconstructed recividist communist dinosaur,or a poofter with a”husband / wife guy ” and a history of sexual deviencd ,supervised by a corrupt multi millionare 80 year old tyranosaurus bitch , bit of variety there . Why cant we get a choice like this here ,our lot are boring ,suspevted rapists and guys who frequent Thai rub and tug shops theiving lawtradesbitches or paranoid ex public servants is the best we can do on our left. The libs did a little better with a failed barrister,banker ,republican with interests in curly light globe that spread mercury ,keeping his fortune in theCaymans .

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    Biden: ‘We Could Run Mickey Mouse Against This President and Have a Shot.’

    Yep, the current bunch of Dem candidates are cartoon characters worse than Mickey Mouse.

  7. Bruce

    @ Tom:

    “It’s astonishing to me that one of America’s big political parties has no-one in the engine room warning of the approaching electoral calamity.”

    The party of slavery had a fatally flawed hull when it was launched in the 19th Century.

    It’s been listing further to port ever since. Stalin’s plaything, FDR, opened a few sea-cocks, just to be sure. Now, it is the party of open and ruthless state-ism and brutally cynical “identity politics”.

    And those are probably their finer points.

    Then, there is Australia, where the principal (but mostly unprincipled) players are perpetually engaged in a theatrical “slug-fest”. Unfortunately, the slugs get generously remunerated out of our pockets, aside from the odd spot of “foreign investment”.

  8. I had said a couple of months ago that Trump will win about 326 electoral college votes in November. I may have underestimated by a long way.
    The Democrats can’t afford to have Bernie win, but he has all the momentum. DNC has to cheat to keep him out. But when they do, the Bernie Bros will go apeshit and riot at the convention and for weeks beyond.
    They may just need to give up trying to win the White House and concentrate their resources on keeping the house.

    It’s gunna be fun to watch. Enjoy from a distance.

  9. Pyrmonter

    CL’s misty-eyed nostalgia for the days when bosses like Daley and union thugs like Reuter channeled votes to the Dems is touching, if misguided.

    It’s a Cold War film, but Cats will recall that On the Waterfront was plotted among the lives of those who returned FDR and Kennedy out of loyalty to organised labour.

  10. C.L.

    I haven’t expressed any “misty-eyed nostalgia for the days when bosses like Daley and union thugs like Reuter (sic) channeled votes to the Dems.”

    I was talking about the last days of the Democrats paying some heed to the wishes and sensibilities of working-class Americans and the great damage the estrangement from such voters has done to their brand and their moral sanity.

  11. Squirrel

    On the other hand, the Democrats have got demography on their side – if Texas becomes a swing state, future Republican candidates will need to be smart and lucky.

  12. Iampeter

    As the conservatives become the democrats, so the democrats are becoming open socialists. It’s just a consequence of the entire political discourse moving further left.

  13. Iampeter

    It’s a Cold War film, but Cats will recall that On the Waterfront was plotted among the lives of those who returned FDR and Kennedy out of loyalty to organised labour.

    Cats may recall it but they won’t disagree with it, which is why CL’s nostalgic about it.
    The ol’ ideals of the unions is basically what today’s conservatives have signed onto.

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