In Tuesday night’s Pennsylvania primary most attention was focused on Republicans running for Senate and Governor, but something very important also happened on the Democrat side.
Progressive John Fetterman (D-PA) easily defeated his more moderate opponent Conor Lamb (D-PA), and in the PA 12 House race, Summer Lee (D-PA), a Squad-style progressive won the nomination for the open seat. These were two more clicks of a ratchet tightening the grip of the far left over the Party of Jefferson and Jackson.
It is hard to imagine that a party which just voted almost en masse for abortion until birth and which treats the Southern Border like the lightning lane at a Disney ride could go much farther left—but here is why it likely will.
It’s not just a matter of primary victories in strong blue districts. It is also the fact that if anything like a red wave happens in November, the losing Democrats in swing districts will almost by definition be moderates. This will bestow enormous power to the progressives in the Democratic caucus.
This power grab by the far left will be about more than just pure numbers of elected officials. Because along with that comes power and resources, committee assignments, the ability to spend the party’s money to elect even more progressive candidates, and a stronger bully pulpit. This is how parties shift ideologically. We saw it with Trump-supporting-Republicans exiling the “Never Trump” elements of the party, and we are seeing it again, this time in blue.
Congressman Ritchie Torres of New York (D-NY) recently provided an extremely telling example of exactly how leftists are taking over the Democrat Party. A self-styled “practical progressive,” which I guess is what passes for moderate these days, Torres bemoaned the Empire State’s bail reform at a Manhattan Institute event. But when asked if he would support a primary challenge to state officials who refuse to address bail reform, his answer was no. This despite the fact that minutes earlier he had blamed the laws for getting people in the Bronx, his district, killed.
This is flat out asymmetrical warfare. AOC, the Squad, and the Justice democrats would primary a picture frame if they thought it skewed right. And “right” to them is anything short of supporting free abortions, student debt cancellation, and never driving cars again. Ritchie Torres, along with Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden, all declare that of course they oppose defunding the police. Maybe they do, but what they don’t do is oppose the Democrats who are striving to implement it.
What is happening right now is that the far left is doing on a national scale what they have done to Democrat machines in most of our major cities over the past decade or two. It starts with low hanging fruit, a few city council seats, then a district attorney, eventually a mayor, and suddenly you have Seattle and San Francisco.
The big Democrat machines used to run our cities, and yes, they were corrupt, but they didn’t let communists on the city council. And now most of these cities have no centrist Democrat machine to fight back.
Few, if any, of our local urban Democrat parties have been able to steer back to the center once the progressive takeover happens. There is so much patronage, so many party appointments that a castle is built around to keep the far left power. New York City tried this with newly elected mayor Eric Adams, by most accounts the results have been dim at best. And no, Adams also won’t support primary challenges for Democrats who are anti-police and seemingly pro-criminal.
It may already be too late to stop the oncoming cavalcade. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) can only do so much, James Carville’s folksy wisdom only goes so far. The only clear opportunity to veer back will be the 2024 presidential election. But a centrist challenge to Joe Biden, should he run, seems very unlikely.
For five years, we have all marveled at the transformation of the Republican Party from that of Romney to that of Trump—and yes, it was a massive and sudden shift. But it’s not the only one.
When you take your eyes off of Trump, and cast them leftwards, it becomes clear that the Democrats are not who they were when Barack Obama left office, either. On every issue they have become more extreme. On every debate less tolerant.
How far left could this new Democrat Party go? How far left, ya got?