Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
On May 10th, Tom Steyer was shouted down at his own town hall for pointing out that President Trump hasn’t actually killed millions of people.
Steyer was in Cedar Rapids on the road with his Need to Impeach tour. The billionaire had come to Iowa to boost his political standing by going further to the extreme than the Democrat leadership. Rep. Pelosi, Rep. Schiff and other top Dems had been warning against impeachment messaging. Steyer embraced it.
But hating Trump, like every other leftist extreme viewpoint, has no actual stopping point.
A woman in the audience asked, “What's the difference between him and Hitler?” "Hitler ended up killing millions and millions of people," the leftist billionaire noted in his reply. "Mr. Trump has shown a disregard for our law... but he hasn’t killed millions of people."
And the audience swiftly shouted him down for stating the obvious.
The trouble with trying to outleft the left is that there’s always someone more extreme than you are. Even if you want to impeach Trump, you’ll be deemed a sellout for not calling for his assassination.
It’s not enough to compare Trump to Hitler, as Steyer did, you have to insist he’s every bit as bad as Adolf.
The scene in Cedar Rapids was the inevitable outcome of building politics around hating one man as hard as possible. The transformation of the Democrats into the anti-Trump party means that if he really wanted to get a wall built tomorrow, all he would have to do is come out against it this afternoon.
Over at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum pleaded, “Liberals Really Shouldn’t Be Defending MS-13 Just Because Donald Trump Doesn’t Like Them.” But tell that to Nancy Pelosi. If Trump hates MS-13, the left will learn to love it, even if it never heard of it before, and draw on all the old rationalizations of terrorism (there’s a moderate MS-13 wing, innocent immigrants get caught up in the hunt for MS-13, dehumanizing people is dangerous) to rationalize its reflexive antipathy. If Jared and Ivanka show up in Jerusalem, the left will learn to love Hamas. The left’s response to North Korea shifts with Trump. When Trump negotiates, the left hates the Norks, when he threatens them, it’s come on down Kim Jong-un.
It’s not a cult of personality, but a cult of anti-personality. The Democrats feverishly worship whatever they imagine the antithesis of Trump to be at any given time. Even if it’s a violent murder and rape gang.
But it’s not just a case of, “Whatever Trump’s for, I’m against it.”
Bernie’s socialism was controversial in the ’16 primaries. In ’18, most of his ideas have been embraced by his prospective ’20 rivals. His people are rising within the DNC.
Hillary Clinton didn’t just kill off her crooked political dynasty. Her defeat also killed triangulation.
What’s the point of waiting around for decades, playing the long game, moving to the middle, trying to avoid taking a controversial stand or uttering an uncensored thought, only to lose twice?
No Dem wants to be the next Hillary Clinton. They want to be the next Obama or Bernie.
The Overton window isn’t just open, it’s broken. There are few ideas that can’t be put forward anymore. Especially on the left. In tribal politics, moderation isn’t a virtue, it’s a vice.
That’s the problem.
The lack of boundaries is liberating. But everyone has boundaries. Even the guy with a Need to Impeach tour. He just has no way to set them anymore. Or point out that Trump isn’t literally Hitler.
Neither does the rest of his political movement.
You’re either an extremist or a sellout. And there’s always someone crazier out there to cry sellout.
Free health care, college education and jobs have already been done. Bernie ran on free college and healthcare. Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris are already all over free jobs.
What’s next? How do you out-Bernie him in 2020? Free homes, free cars and free drugs?
Socialism works until you run out of other people’s money. But at this rate, the Dems will run out of other people’s ideas even before they even manage to run out of other people’s money.
And then the 2024 Dems will run on straight Communism.
Extremism in hating Trump is no vice, among the Dems, and no virtue is greater than loving socialism.
The first casualties of campaign finance reform were the moderates. The power shifted from local districts to big national donors with massive organizations. Goodbye Bill and Bob in Pennsylvania, hello George Soros and the other SPECTRE board members of the Democracy Alliance. Crowdsourced platforms like ActBlue allowed San Francisco donors to pour big money into local red state races.
And the most passionate and committed Dem donors weren’t moderates, but extremists. National single issue lobbies consolidated into a coordinated campaign to push pro-life and pro-gun Dems out of the party. The progressive political machine manufactured passion candidates who were unqualified extremists. Mostly the machine lost. But it won big when a Chicago lefty took the White House.
As the Democrats head into the midterm elections, some in the leadership are trying to moderate their tone. But why bother? Extremism pays. Just look at the cash flowing to key #resistance politicians.
When Rosie O’Donnell got into trouble for illegally over-sized campaign contributions, she claimed that she donates money ActBlue to help her cope. “My anxiety is quelled by donating to those opposing trump, his agenda — especially at night — when most of these were placed.”
She’s not alone. There’s a river of blue state money pouring into local; elections. The cult of anti-personality that the Democrats have built around Trump has been a financial windfall for the left. The Democrats hold fewer elected seats, but their holders are more likely to be politically correct. It wasn’t a defeat for the left. But a successful purification of a political party by what was an extremist faction.
The descent of the Democrats into extremism allowed Republicans to achieve a nearly unprecedented electoral dominance. As the Democrats tightened their grip on urban minority blocs and suburban bedroom communities, the South and the Midwest slipped through their fingers. But instead of moderating their tone, they consolidated control over the media and unelected officials.
The eavesdropping on Trump officials and the resulting Mueller investigation are the result.
If the Democrats succeed in reversing the results of the 2016 election by engineering a coup through the DOJ and the media, elections will cease to matter. And that will eliminate any final check on the left’s political extremism. That is what the investigations tearing apart America are really about.
The social consensus is gone. Instead the left manufactured its own social consensus on values and used the entertainment industry and the educational system to indoctrinate each generation anew. The political consensus was swept out on a tide of cash. And the electrical consensus is under siege by a movement that is trying to make elections in America as irrelevant as they already are in California.
And the Democrats are going as crazy nationally, as they did in California.
The Founding Fathers rebelled against a mad king notorious for talking to trees. But old George was replaced with a tyranny of leftists who, unlike him, may not shake hands with trees, but do hug them.
Madness is the privilege of absolute power. When there is no one to challenge their right to rule, governments go mad. North Korea’s insane Marxist madhouse is a typical example. The Democrats have been set free to indulge in the extremes of madness with none of the political consequences. The media won’t hold them accountable and, if they have their way, the voters won’t be allowed to either.
The Democrat car, environmentally correct, painted bright red and full of the exact right number of minority drivers, is racing for the cliff. It has no brakes and no one in the cars wants to use them anyway.