June 28, 2019 - Friday
Left in a Lurch at Dem Shock-fest
When Democrats were putting together their first two debates, it probably didn't occur to anyone that they could bomb both. But in a span of 24 hours, the party desperate to take down Donald Trump just proved that Democrats can put 20 options on the stage -- and there still isn't a sane one in the bunch.
The analysis from Round Two ranged from "space cadets" to "freak show" -- and that was from the mainstream press! The night was so surreal that the consensus winner, if you asked most talking heads, is a woman who believes prostitution is a worthwhile career, the Boston Bomber should be allowed to vote, and killing newborn children is "a personal choice." Those were tame positions compared to some of the field, Dan Gainor points out, in his column of "what the heck?" moments.
After Wednesday, when the Democrats' highlights included lobbying for taxpayer-funded abortions for men and abolishing private health care, the other 10 candidates had nowhere to go but up. Instead, the conversation was so outlandish that the party is actually losing more voters than it's gained. One Washington Post reporter tweeted that when the Democrats all raised their hand to support free health care for illegal immigrants, a woman next to her said, "I don't think I'm a Democrat anymore."
And she can't be the only one. With the party light years to the Left of any reasonable American, more people are starting to wonder, is 2020 even a contest? "Just twelve years ago, Democratic candidates for president competed with each other on how tough and realistic they could be on illegal immigration. The leading candidates for president advertised not just their opposition to same-sex marriage but also their opposition to drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants. Dennis Kucinich quoted from the Bible," NRO's Michael Dougherty marveled. "Over the last two nights, we saw a completely different Democratic party."
Even Joe Biden, who was supposed to be the grown-up in the room, still hasn't recovered from his 40-plus year reversal on the Hyde Amendment, his sprint to the Left on climate change, and his inability to stand by his "decent guy" assessment of Mike Pence. His night was a disaster, and he seemed to know it -- even imposing his own time limit when he stopped thinking coherently. In one of the funnier moments of the night (not for his campaign manager, I'm sure), the former vice president was asked what "first issue" he would tackle in office. "The first thing I would do is make sure that we defeat Donald Trump, period." "One would presume if he took office," Gainor jabbed, "he would have beaten Trump. But that concept was a fantasy by the end of the debate and I'm betting even Biden knew it. Watching him was like watching the Titanic after it hit the iceberg."
When the candidates weren't lobbying to turn our borders into welcome mats, people like Mayor Pete Buttigieg were busy bashing the faith they claim to espouse: Christianity. "We have got to talk about one other thing because the Republican Party likes to cloak itself in the language of religion. Now our party doesn't talk about that as much largely for a very good reason which was we are committed to the separation of church... But we should call out hypocrisy when we see it in for a party that associates itself with Christianity..."
If there was a real stand out from Thursday night, it was probably the Democratic platform, which spelled out most of this radicalism in 2016. A lot of Americans make the mistake that those documents hammered out at the party conventions don't mean anything. But the platform is an anchor that helps tether the nominees to the core conservative principles of their party -- in the Democrats' case, things like taxpayer-funded abortion and animosity toward Israel.
Not too long ago, Lee Payne from Stephen Austin University combed through all of the parties' platforms from 1980 until 2004. "He identified every 'direct promise' in those platform -- pledges he thought amounted to concrete policy positions -- and then compared those promises with all of the votes taken on either the House or Senate floor... What Payne found might stun some cynics: In 25 years, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Congress voted in accordance with their platforms 82 percent of the time."
Platforms matter. That's why the FRC Action team worked so hard three years ago to ensure that the document ratified in Cleveland was just as strong -- if not more so -- than 2012's. Against all odds (and even more Establishment money), a coalition of pro-family groups led by FRC Action beat back the attacks on our values and emerged with a document clearer and more compelling than any in party history on life, marriage, and religious liberty. Because in the end, that's what shapes the legacy. The differences between the two parties' documents couldn't be starker -- just like the choice in 2020 is turning out to be.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.