Nancy Pelosi is going about her business during this post-election period, apparently oblivious to the storm that’s raging among her caucus members.
In truth, it isn’t so much that there is much disagreement between radical Democrats and the “moderates.” The problem, as the moderates see it, is “messaging.” The radicals make Democratic proposals sound, well, radical. Centrist Democrats want a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. They prefer to soft-pedal some of the more extreme rhetoric coming from the radicals while embracing the ideas. They don’t want to call it “government-run health care.” They want their health care plan to be “inclusive” and “affordable” and “fair.” Thus is their real intent hidden from the voter.
It worked in a lot of districts and failed in others. But one centrist Democrat had the audacity (or stupidity) to actually praise Donald Trump and says she won’t vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House. Rep.Elissa Slotkin of Michigan thinks it’s time to rein in the radicals and bring the party down to earth. Politico posted a long, revealing interview with the congresswoman.
“You know, the one thing I will say about Donald Trump,” Slotkin began, “he doesn’t talk down to anybody. He is who he is, but he doesn’t talk down to anyone. And I think that there is a certain voter out there because of that who identifies with him and appreciates him.”
Slotkin flipped a GOP seat in 2018 and was comfortably ahead in the polls on Election Day. But she ended up winning by half the margin she was projected to. She and other centrist Democrats believe there are lessons to be learned from Trump.
“It’s not just that he eats cheeseburgers at a big celebratory dinner. It’s not just that he does things that the common man can kind of appreciate. And it’s not even because he uses kind of simplistic language—he doesn’t use complicated, wonky language, the way a lot of Democrats do,” Slotkin said. “We sometimes make people feel like they aren’t conscientious enough. They aren’t thoughtful enough. They aren’t ‘woke’ enough. They aren’t smart enough or educated enough to just understand what’s good for them… It’s talking down to people. It’s alienating them. And there’s just certain voters who feel so distant from the political process—it’s not their life, it’s not their world. They hate it. They don’t like all that politics stuff. Trump speaks to them, because he includes them.”
All of that is true and helps explain some of Trump’s appeal that coastal elites and pollsters have yet to discover. And for all the talk about Democratic “inclusiveness,” she believes that there are barriers set up by the party for many of those who supported Trump.
It has long been perceived that Democrats, in the post-9/11 era, are the party of inclusion and big-tent politics. But Slotkin has begun to question that notion. She fears that Democrats have created a barrier to entry, largely along cultural lines, that makes the party fundamentally unwelcoming to anyone with supposedly retrograde views of the world around them. This is not merely about race and racism. The schisms go far deeper, to matters of faith and conscience, economic freedom and individual liberty. Indeed, for the heavy losses Trump sustained among affluent college-educated whites, he nearly won a second term because of his gains with Black and brown voters. That these Americans were willing to support Trump, often in spite of his rhetoric, reveals an uncomfortable truth for the left. There are millions of voters—working-class whites and working-class minorities—whose stances on social controversies put them out of touch with the Democratic Party. It’s a truth they might be willing to overlook, if only the party could do the same.
What Slotkin is saying is that there are now two Americas. And people in Donald Trump’s America aren’t welcome in today’s Democratic Party. Whether it’s because they are anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage or even just can’t stand political correctness and its many variations that liberals believe makes them “racists,” the bottom line is that people of conscience and faith, and those who realize the value of economic and personal freedom, have no place in Joe Biden’s Democratic Party.