Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Never has the Democrat presidential field been more diverse in race, gender, religion and orientation, and less diverse intellectually. The 2020 primary field stumbled out into the streets of Iowa throwing clumsy identity politics punches at each other’s diverse faces. Soon the media was full of stories about how Bernie Sanders was a sexist pig, Kamala Harris spent all her time throwing the book at black men, and Tulsi Gabbard is a homophobe. And that’s just the warm up act. Give it a week and every candidate will be accusing his, her and its opponents of being bigger bigots than the biggest bigot in Biggotsville.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s entry into the 2020 race shone a light on the dismal conformity of the field, but not because she’s Hindu or part Samoan. Senator Kamala Harris was raised by her Tamil Indian mother in Canada and attended a Hindu temple as a child. But Harris has tried to mold her campaign into the generic cookie cutter African-American politician, dubiously laying claim to generations of history and struggle that her family was never heir to by announcing her run on MLK Day in Oakland.
And then rushing off to Iowa, which is about as far away as you can get from Oakland, because she wasn’t really trying to convince black people of her authenticity, but white progressives in Iowa City.
Cultural diversity is commonplace in the 2020 field. But all that diversity just makes for a poignant opening speech before politicians like Harris conform their brands to the lowest common Dem denominator. Harris falsely claimed to have attended a desegregated school and is using the civil rights struggle as the background for her presidential campaign because in a tribal party, white guilt and black bloc votes are safer bets than her actual background with her Tamil mother and Jamaican father.
The second most popular argument for diversity is that it introduces new viewpoints, but the 2020 field thoroughly disproves it. Never has there been a field this diverse in its stultifying sameness.
All that diverse tribalism also serves as cover for the absence of policy diversity in the field. Whether you vote for the black or white, the male or female, the straight or gay candidates, you get the same platform. Everyone has or will have some sort of massive cash giveaway at taxpayer expense. Everyone has or will have a plan for even more socialized medicine, free college, environmental taxes, protecting illegal aliens, and decriminalizing crimes while boosting Democrat voter rolls.
Senator Harris wants a $500 a month giveaway. Senator Booker wants taxpayers to give every child $2,000 a year and guarantee everybody government jobs. Booker’s guaranteed jobs bill is being cosponsored by two other fellow 2020 candidates: Senator Warren and Senator Gillibrand. Senator Sanders has his own guaranteed jobs proposal that would be even more impossible to implement.
Estimated price tags per year hover in the $500 billion to the several trillion range. Small change.
A diverse slate of candidates all proposing the same thing isn’t diversity. But the candidates don’t craft their own policy platforms, they’re crafted for them by lefty think tanks like the Center for American Progress, and a combination of activist and media pressure to have free everything in their platforms.
ObamaCare wasn’t born out of malice, but incompetence. Obama knew that he needed a socialized medicine program if he had any hope of running to the left of Hillary who had made that her brand. ObamaCare as an idea was as sloppily conceived and thrown together as a student hurrying to write his term paper on Greek Philosophy three hours before he has to hand it in to his alcoholic professor.
That’s why it’s falling apart so quickly.
The 2020 Democrat platforms show every sign of being equally sloppy, incompetent and inept. And we’re not just talking about Bernie Sanders whose policy proposals all appear to have been put together by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez after three sleepless nights and forty cups of caffeine.
Revolutions within the movement always play out to the left, never to the right. Bernie got the Democrats to adopt much of his economic and foreign policy agenda by adopting their agenda on gun control and immigration. The battle was ultimately refereed and settled by activists and the media who made certain that it ended with enforcing a conformity in which both sides moved further to the left.
The bitter battles between Hillary and Obama, and then Hillary and Bernie, may be the last hurrah for policy differences in Democrat presidential primaries. Both times, Hillary made fitful efforts to run as a moderate, before being outmaneuvered on her left flank. Obama actually beat her by running to the left. Hillary beat Bernie by using every dirty trick in the book, including adopting his agenda.
Hillary Clinton had hoped to campaign against Trump as the moderate candidate, but by the time she made it past the finish line, she was wobbling under the weight of the entire Bernie agenda. The 2018 midterms rubber stamped the inevitable transformation of the Democrats into the Socialist Party.
And socialist policy differences are only interesting to socialists. That leaves the hollow theater of identity politics, of glass ceilings and guilt, of the rush to be the first president representing one identity or another with the same 2020 platform of distilled Bernienomics and Center for American Politics backwash as all the others. Identity politics has become more important than ever in a party defined by its rigid political conformity as it’s the only way to tell the otherwise identical candidates apart.
But in every Dem primary, there’s a candidate who reminds audiences of how identical the rest of the field is. In 2016, that was Jim Webb, who actually raised adult concerns about Libya while the other candidates on the Dem stage were bickering over which of them going to do a better job of using tax hikes to change the weather. In 2020, that role is being filled by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Economically, Gabbard is a generic Bernie lefty with plans for high taxes, free everything and economic malaise. But she’s also capable of saying things that none of the other Dems frantically playing to the Netroots and ActBlue vote would dare to utter. The Hawaii congresswoman criticized the Democrats for not trying to resolve the shutdown and for their attacks on Catholics. These are middle of the road views that most people agree with, but that are completely out of place in an otherwise Stepford field.
The Democrat leftward drift means more than just socialized everything. Extremism and fanaticism go hand in hand. As the party turns left, minor differences become major ones. Small dissensions are treated as treasonous, evil and criminal. Even tactical disagreements are met with vituperation. Conformity is the only practical response to political extremism in China, the USSR or the DNC.
The less room there is for intellectual individualism, the more cultural identities are shown off, but only on the understanding that each identity, race, gender and creed conform to one point of view.
Loose cannons like Gabbard or Webb only highlight how all the other candidates are reading from the same script. Saying things that no one else will say is also a political strategy. But it’s a strategy that Republicans reward and Democrats punish. The 2020 race, with Trump on one side, and diverse store mannequins reading from a Center for American Progress teleprompter on the other is the outcome.
Gabbard, like Webb, is doomed. She’s already being accused of homophobia. But, like Webb, Gabbard is also being met with the confused disbelief with which lefties respond to the existence of conservative viewpoints. That’s not because Gabbard is conservative, but because any deviation from the hive mind is disconcerting to a movement that has grown so monolithic that it’s incapable of processing dissent.
Democrats denounce FOX News as a “right-wing echo chamber”. Anyone who has watched Shepard Smith bombard viewers with the mainstream media position night after night knows that’s nonsense. But there’s no counterpart to Shepard Smith in the mainstream media. Conservatives in the media exist only as punching bags for outraged tantrums in the endless Two Minutes Hate of the evening news.
The vitriolic smear of a Catholic teen attending the March for Life that recently consumed the media is a typical example of its core function of spreading viral outrage tantrums through social media about Trump, some Republican legislator, any conservative caught in their sights, or just some random person.
These Two Minutes Hate moments serve the larger purpose of consolidating lefty group identity by pitting it against the ‘Other” as embodied by Trump or a kid in a red hat. Only this constant hate can glue together millions of people into a mindless hydra with the same viewpoints about everything.
The 2020 slate is the end result of this banal mind control. Its boring conformity is the staid mirror image of its ravening hatred for everything that its marchers, donors, activists and slacktivists have been taught represents the enemies of what good people like them believe in. The difference between Der Sturmer and Occupy Democrats is better web design. Both exist to rile up their respective bases into a permanent state of seething fury until they are ready to mindlessly support anything or destroy anyone.
Political anger isn’t a new phenomenon. But the 2020 Democrat slate represents the consolidation of American politics into one point of view of conformity and rage administered by the media and overseen by non-profits funded by a handful of billionaire donors.
And that is a fundamental threat to a free country.