The main problem in American politics is not the obvious polarization but the underlying reasons for it. Partisanship, angst and divisiveness are all preferable to surrendering the culture and fundamentally transforming the republic.
The Democratic Party has deceived much of the public into believing that its positions aren't extreme, but the truth is coming out now for all to see. Such veritable crackpots as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are not merely fringe fruitcakes; they are just bringing the party out of the closet.
It's as if half this decadeslong leftist conspiracy to turn America into a socialist hellhole has finally been exposed by the unwitting soldiers of the revolution, who have understood everything about it but were told to keep their mouths shut about their ultimate goals.
The party's ostensible centrists are panicking, realizing that unless they can successfully cast AOC et al. as outliers, the party faces an electoral bloodbath in 2020. But there are few remaining Democratic centrists.
How many national Democratic officeholders are pro-life? How many really believe in enforcing the country's borders? How many reject the rampant practice of identity politics and the racialization of virtually every issue? How many object to the coarsening of the culture? How many defend religious liberty for Christians? How many champion the free market? How many oppose lawless judicial activism? How many support equal opportunity rather than equal outcomes?
There will be an interesting tug of war in the Democratic Party over the next few years as its pragmatic elements attempt to muzzle AOC before the reality of the party's extremism is irreversibly planted in the minds of American voters.
Can you imagine the hysteria in the smokeless-filled rooms of the Democratic National Committee, with half the party's bosses desperately conspiring to shut AOC up and the other half warning against anything too overt, knowing that the party's rabid base is every bit as radical as AOC and company?
I am cautiously encouraged by the left's premature self-exposure, because President Trump will handily win re-election if Democrats continue this pattern of defiance. No matter how much they demonize Trump, they'll fail in direct proportion to their openness about their radical agenda.
But my optimism is tempered by the Democrats' survival instinct and warrior spirit. They still have time to stanch the bleeding and stage a transfusion by quickly calling an audible, awkwardly persuading AOC to get back in the closet, pretending to moderate themselves and somehow, in the midst of all this contradictory confusion, mollifying their base and principal benefactors.
The most gratifying development to date is that for once, Republicans are positioned to capitalize on the Democrats' potentially fatal confessional. Indeed, President Trump jumped right on this in his State of the Union speech in starkly contrasting the parties' respective visions for America.
By presenting the Republican Party as bullish on America — the party of optimism, growth, life, opportunity, the rule of law, robust liberty, national sovereignty and peace through strength — and showcasing the Democratic Party as the party of death, malaise, identity politics, lawlessness and open borders, Trump has thrown down the gauntlet and set the stage for the 2020 campaign, which is now fully underway. Contrary to the prevailing narrative, Trump is anything but a policy extremist.
Trump is ideally suited to lead the GOP (and the nation) at this pivotal moment because he is nothing if not a warrior, and we stand to lose this country for generations — and possibly for good — if we don't take this fight to our opposition and engage in it with intensity that is equal to or greater than that of the indefatigable Democrats.
Let the usual leftist suspects and their media comrades lecture us about partisanship and divisiveness, but they are the ones assaulting the principles, traditions and constitutional framework that have made this nation great, and it would be an immoral abandonment of the nation and everything we believe in to surrender just to stave off this bogus criticism and win the accolades of the left.
Some people don't have a taste for the fight and believe that lukewarm overtures across the aisle could result in glorious harmony — as if pretending to get along were better than saving the nation for our children. How many times will we have to be short-sheeted by Democrats before we realize there is no compromising with them? Don't the recent border negotiations show which party demands concessions, gives none and paints the other as the partisan wretch? The vaunted history of bipartisan compromise has consistently resulted in the Democrats marching the football further down the field toward the socialist goal post. Our failure to fight back has resulted in the urgency that now confronts us.
Sure, we must fight fairly, but that includes exposing the left's real agenda and its disastrous consequences for America and every day highlighting the dramatic differences in the parties' visions and emphasizing, in no uncertain terms, that only one of those visions is compatible with the survival of the republic as founded.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "Jesus Is Risen: Paul and the Early Church." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.