The Democrats Praise Their 'Big Tent'

By Tim Graham

December 2, 2020 5 min read

The Democrats were tremendously disappointed with the election results. President Donald Trump is losing by almost exactly the 51% to 47% margin that Mitt Romney lost to then-President Barack Obama in 2012. The Senate is poised to stay in GOP hands, and the Republicans look to slice the Democratic House majority to about 10 seats.

Instead of licking wounds, some are asserting that somehow, Democrats are still the stronger party with all the historical momentum. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. wrote, "Democrats are a big-tent party, while Republicans are a closed circle."

Dionne claimed, "For more than a half-century, Republicans have purged dissenters and turned themselves into a rigid, radical, unified bloc — ideologically, racially, religiously. As the Republicans cast off free-thinkers, Democrats took them in. This makes Democrats the larger party with better long-term prospects."

This is an interesting theory, considering that Trump made gains among Latinos and black men. Republicans can easily accuse Democrats of being more rigid, more radical and less religious. The last pro-life Democrat in Congress, Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, became a purged dissenter in the March primary. In addition to their hostility toward traditional religion, especially on abortion and LGBTQ issues, Democrats are now losing working-class voters with "defund the police" messaging and the lurch to "end fossil fuels."

Bizarrely, Dionne claims the Republicans are so far gone there's no debating them: "many debates that once took place between the parties — about, say, the appropriate size of the welfare state, the proper role of economic regulation or the right way to protect the environment — are being held almost entirely within the Democratic Party."

That argument simply isn't going to work in reality, not with the current makeup of Congress. It might if the Democrats held two-thirds of the seats, but the margin is thin. You can't have a one-party policy debate.

Intra-party debate rarely occurs on the liberal "news" channels, where Democratic squabbles are often buried or obscured. Journalists will celebrate Biden as some sort of "moderate" and glorify the socialists, from Sen. Bernie Sanders to "The Squad." That Biden and the socialists could be classified as the two ideological poles of America might be the media's dream.

Liberal YouTuber Adam Ragusea informed me on Twitter that "No one describes Biden as the Democratic center. He's well on the right side of the Democratic party, and has been his whole career." This seems to ignore the fact that politicians Dionne & Co. often classify as the "moderates" or "conservatives" have an American Conservative Union score of less than 10%.

Journalists will try to downplay the unpopularity of socialism, of ending fossil fuels and defunding police, of endless scolding of "white privilege" and making taxpayers pay for abortions. They will hate that conservatives were elected to block and will work to block every radical nightmare Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to impose.

Amazingly, the Republicans are being granted the broad ground to be the party of people who like the police and the national anthem, who like going to church and driving gas-powered cars, and who think it's simply wrong-headed to categorize every pale-faced American as irredeemably, systemically racist.

That doesn't sound like a recipe for a Republican decline and fall. Instead, anyone claiming to be a keen political observer might suggest the parties mirror each other, that we Americans are intensely and quite evenly divided. We are polarized, and the bases of both parties won't rush to compromise. But liberal journalists such as E.J. Dionne Jr. often forgo keen observations for wishful thinking.

Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra

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