Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
The Democrat Party now stands for one thing: accusing President Trump of being a Russian agent.
This bold new agenda has proven so enormously popular that the Democrats have wasted $40 million to lose four special elections. The Democrats are leaderless. Their base has become a roving mob of angry embittered sloganeers showing up at town hall meetings and random political events to scream hate. They threaten to kill the wives, children and dogs of Republican members of Congress.
Some, like James Hodgkinson, the Bernie Sanders supporter who opened fire at a Republican charity baseball practice, do more than threaten. They actually unleash all that simmering anger.
The Democrats are going into the midterm elections on a conspiracy theory. The theory is backed by their fake news media outlets at the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN. It just lacks any actual evidence beyond the sort of web of connections usually advanced by conspiracy theorists.
This is the second time that Democrats have embraced a conspiracy theory to escape reality. And behind that conspiracy theory lay the same unpleasant and inconvenient fact of left-wing extremism.
The Democrats couldn’t cope with the fact that a left-wing extremist murdered JFK. So they built a vast array of conspiracy theories that blamed the CIA, the Cubans and the “climate of right-wing hate” in Dallas. The Communist who killed JFK was just a “patsy” for one of those vast right-wing conspiracies.
But it was left-wing extremism that killed Camelot. It’s left-wing extremism that is killing the Democrats.
This time the assassin isn’t on the outside. The assassins of the Democrats are on the inside. They pushed the party so far to the left that its base now consists of the deranged left. It’s unviable outside its bicoastal and urban enclaves. So obviously the Democrats lost Wisconsin because of the Russians. Not because they had become entirely dependent for their political survival on the mass turnout of minority bloc voters who usually have low turnout rates. It was Podesta’s leaked emails that lost Pennsylvania.
But you can’t blame Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Keith Ellison for turning the Democrats into the party of Portland, Austin and Berkeley… but not America. You certainly can’t admit that waging war on nuns, police officers and small businessmen might have alienated a few voters.
It’s easier to invent a conspiracy theory so that you never have to address the real problem. And the real problem is the inability of the Democrats to shake the left-wing monkey maliciously riding on their backs.
Left-wing extremism has consequences. Presidents are shot and presidential elections are lost.
The Soviet Union spent generations blaming its economic failures on everything except its left-wing ideology. It drowned its lands in blood, filled gulags with slave labor and killed its own faithful to evade the simple fact that its left-wing ideology was the problem. The Democrats are desperately scrambling to blame everyone and everything except their left-wing ideology for their political destruction.
Conspiracy theories are the first refuge of failed political movements. When a movement can’t deal with the rottenness in its own ranks, it invents conspiracy theories to explain the ideologically impossible.
If Communism worked, the Soviet Union should have prospered. If Socialism worked, the Obama years should have led to an economic golden age. If the left’s theory of a New Majority displacing old white voters worked, President Hillary Clinton should be on her thousandth executive order by next Tuesday.
The left responds to failure in two ways. Either it blames it on an insufficiently hardline approach. The USSR wasn’t Communist enough. Obama compromised too much. Bernie Sanders should have been the candidate. If Bernie had lost, then a more uncompromising candidate like Jill Stein or Lenin’s pickled carcass would have won. And then to avoid a purity spiral and circular firing squad, it blames some outside force. The Dems blamed Hillary and she blamed them. They both agreed to blame a conspiracy.
The Trump-Russia conspiracy theory diverts attention from what really went wrong. It saves the Democrats from having to admit that they have a problem. And that problem is the left.
The Kennedy killing should have been a warning about the threat of the left. Instead the Democrats drifted further from JFK’s anti-Communist positions until they came full circle and blamed the anti-Communists for the murder of an anti-Communist by a Communist.
The 2016 election should have been a warning to the Democrats about the dangers of extremism. Their embrace of radical politics had marginalized them politically. But instead they found refuge in conspiracy theories. But the Trump-Russia conspiracy fails to answer why the Democrats have been losing election after election around the country, in state races and national ones, long before Trump.
Obama’s reelection was that rare triumph for the Dems in a string of national political disasters. These disasters had nothing to do with Trump or the Russians. The Democrats had become a radical party that was no longer capable of relating to the concerns and values of most of the communities of this country.
The premise that Hillary Clinton, a candidate whom most Americans rated as untrustworthy, could not have lost the election except through a conspiracy is a belief so delusional that it beggars belief. But it’s either that or admit that her embrace of every crazy left-wing idea that had become trendy in the party had killed any hope of a platform that would appeal outside Berkeley leaving her with nothing to run on except her charm and charisma. And that charm and charisma can’t be found with an electron microscope.
Now the Democrats are repeating the same disaster all over again. Instead of connecting with the voters on economic issues, they are pandering to their left-wing base with a Trump-Russia conspiracy theory. Most Americans won’t be voting based on conspiracy theories. And those who will are already a solid left-wing base. But the Dems would rather lose by going to the left than win by moving to the center.
The best evidence of the radicalization of the Dems is that they would rather protect their ideology from accountability than resurrect their political fortunes. Conspiracy theories are how radical movements find a way to have their ideological cake and eat it too. And that’s what the Dems are doing.
JFK conspiracy theories were born out of a refusal to come to terms with the threat of Communism, not just in Europe or Asia, but right here at home. 9⁄11 denial was born out of the same response to Islam. The conspiracy that ate the left’s brain now is election denial. The moon landing was faked. Bush did 9⁄11. And Trump didn’t really win the election.
Election denial is what happens when you not only deny that you lost the election, but why you lost. And as Gorbachev would be happy to explain to Tom Perez, that’s the surest way to lose for good.