Why Don't We All Become Democrats?
By Bruce Walker
March 31, 2008
Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" raises an interesting question. The Left has occupied the Democrat Party, which has purchased the souls of large groups of Americans - blacks, Hispanics, feminists - and yet the word "liberal" is passionately rejected by all Democrats. The political parties have been democratized completely: no one can keep anyone from participating fully in the Republican or Democrat parties.
This raises an interesting theoretical question: Why don't we all simply become Democrats? The Left has smeared the Republican Party with racism so much that any Republican candidate automatically starts with ten percent of the popular vote against him. Add to the black vote a significant share of the Hispanic and Asian vote, which also has been indoctrinated into believing that Republicans are evil, and the natural electoral advantage of just have "Democrat" in front of your name is worth anywhere from fifteen percent to twenty percent of the national vote. It is amazing that Republicans ever win.
If all Republicans became Democrats, then the stigma of being a "Republican" would go away. That would mean that the electoral battles would become primary battles - and not just in the presidential race. Senators, governors, congressmen and state legislators are chosen by primaries. If the whole American electorate were within a single political party, then primaries would be extremely competitive.
The problem for current Democrats in this situation is that Americans overwhelmingly consider themselves to be conservatives, not liberals. This is why no Democrat, even Obama, calls himself a "liberal." That would mean that conservatives, as Democrats, could advocate conservative policies without fear. No Democrat is going to say "I am a liberal Democrat and my primary opponent is a conservative Democrat" - at least not in the vast majority of the states.
Conservative Democrats who were also religious could have an enormous edge in winning the black and Hispanic vote in Democrat primaries as well. So, two constituencies which have traditionally been alienated from Republicans and conservatives could find common cause with both if the Republicans became, magically, Democrats and if the social conservative principles of these two strongly religious minorities were joined with the conservative "Democrat" candidate.
Moreover, there conservative "Democrats" could run well against snooty white elites like Clinton, Kerry, Kennedy and Dean, who have nothing in common with ordinary Americans except the fact that they are Democrats, and so are presumed to be the friend of the working man or woman. Imagine, for example, how a charismatic conservative like Michael Steele or J.C. Watts could do if running as Democrats against elitist Leftists like Clinton or Kerry.
These sorts of Democrats have proven enormously popular. Zell Miller, for example, is probably the most popular politician in Georgia. Joe Lieberman, although not exactly a conservative, was nevertheless able to win re-election as an "independent Democrat" even after he lost the Democrat primary.
The whole nature of Congress would change as well. If the Democrat caucuses had conservative majorities, then all the leadership positions would be held by conservatives as well. The committee chairmen, the Speakership and all the other coveted positions would be held by conservatives, albeit Democrats. The same would be true for the national party organization. The DNC would start espousing conservative principles. The battles over ideology and policies would all be fought within the Democrat Party and there would be no "Republicans" to blame at all in those battles. What would Leftists do? How could they fight a real battle on policies, when so few people agree with their policies?
Another consequence would be that the rump Republican Party would survive, and that anytime the Left took over the Democrat Party for one election cycle, the Republican Party could have a miraculous rebirth and all the conservative Democrats could switch and vote Republican.
Republicans are a scapegoat for the failures of Democrat policies; they have been for many decades. Perhaps the best way to defang this toxin in politics is for the good guys to take over the Democrat Party and leave the Democrats with the Green Party or the Liberal Party or the Communist Party as their vehicle for political expression. As Operation Chaos succeeds, it is something worth thinking about.
Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.