Democrats 2017? Needs More Cowbell!

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The party’s leadership has got a fever and the only prescription is more mass immigration, globalization and disenfranchising working white Americans

By Mark Cromer

As far as televised responses to a Presidential speech from the party that’s out of the White House, the appearance of former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to deliver the Democrats rebuttal to President Trump last Tuesday proved to be a surreal debacle that was indicative of the Twilight Zone where the party now finds itself.

Beshear was tapped by the Democrats to deliver its response in a transparent pander to the white working class voters they’ve been hemorrhaging since 1968, a desperation time play by the party’s leadership that revealed their delusional hope that by putting an ‘aw, shucks’ kinda guy from a crimson state on TV to offer a folksy retort to Trump the white proletariat would suddenly recognize once more the party of JFK and LBJ and raise their cans of Bud with a ‘Salud!’ over their Swanson meatloaf dinners.

Naturally, Beshear fumbled the ball at the snap.

“I’m a proud Democrat,” Beshear said, before pointing to viewers out there in TVLand to declare: “But first and foremost, I’m a proud Republican! And Democrat. And mostly American.”

While many viewers may have thought Larry King had got his old show back despite his advancing state of general confusion, it really was the Democratic response.

As the impassive crowd sitting around a befuddled Beshear in a diner that the Democrats had staged to add a dash of downhome Americana to the event gazed on, the former governor followed his opening gaffe with a recitation of a prepared speech that sounded more Methodist Sunday morning sermon than a Baptist breathing fire and brimstone—which of course was the point.

The Democrats didn’t want turn off any more white working voters than they already have in critical battleground states and beyond, so they sought to appeal to them with a reassuringly calm and reasoned reply to Trump that was filled with asides to small town America; from Friday night lights to Sunday morning pews.

Accordingly, Beshear didn’t evoke the nation’s transgender bathroom ‘crisis’ that has become the Democrats raison d’être over the past year, nor did he spend much time making the case for the Constitutional right to an abortion on demand during the seventh, eighth and ninth month of pregnancy. Beshear did not call for the repeal and replacement of the Second Amendment and he did not demand a general amnesty for the more than 20 million foreign nationals currently residing and working in the United States illegally.

Beshear attempted to offer the Democratic response without sounding too much like a Democrat.

But if Beshear seemed oddly out of place in delivering the party’s response to Trump’s most presidential performance yet, it’s simply because he is now an oddity in a party that once truly was the home for working class Americans of every ethnic, racial and sectarian stripe, but one that turned off those lights long ago as its ongoing Metamorphosis into a politically permutated creature that feeds off grievance, greed and government continues at an accelerating pace.

Not terribly long ago the Democrats could still field statesmen like Zell Miller, a former governor and senator from Georgia, and Howell Heflin, the Marine who survived World War II where he earned two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star during combat in the Pacific Theater to become a powerful Alabama senator to deliver stinging rebukes to the GOP, but the old Blue Dogs like Miller and Heflin have generally been run out of the Democratic Party’s barn and Beshear’s appearance seemed like spectral visit from the party’s past. In fact, during his speech Beshear at times bore a striking wide-eyed resemblance to Marshall Applewhite, the ‘Heaven’s Gate’ cult-leader who had castrated himself before committing suicide along with his followers in 1997 in anticipation of being picked up by a spaceship that was trailing the Hale-Bopp comet, so in that sense Beshear may have been a ghost of the Democrats’ future.

There were some striking similarities between Heaven’s Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite and former Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, not the least of which was a state of wide-eyed delusion.

Given Trump’s jarringly smooth, cogent and Tourette-less address to Congress followed by Beshear’s pulse-fading performance of ‘Someone Told Me I Was Supposed To Read This While Looking At The Camera’ it’s little wonder that the Democrats went to Plan B the day after, leaking the ‘bombshell’ that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had actually spoken with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak last year while Sessions was a member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, though there is still no word whether Sessions and Kislyak spoke of the dangerously escalating tensions between the United States and Russia or kept it to Stoli (Blue Label or Red?) and whether The Beatles had it right in the estimation that “Moscow girls make us sing and shout, they leave the West behind…”

But no matter, as the esteemed senior senator from New York, Charles Ellis Schumer—not to be confused with the capo ‘Chucky Plugs’ of a Gambino Family crew—raced to the waiting microphones to demand Sessions resignation.

Just six weeks into the Trump administration and the Democratic leadership has alternately called for numerous investigations and demanded resignations as it positions itself for the prospect of the impeachment of Trump within the first 100 days of his presidency, if not the first 50 days.

Simply put, they don’t know what else to do.

If Beshear’s ghostly intonations were the death rattle of the Democrats’ last gasping reach into working white America, then the party’s election of Thomas Perez as its Chair of the Democratic National Committee was a bright light warning of the Democratic Party that has arrived. The former Secretary of Labor and Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division, Perez is a Harvard grad and an accomplished attorney, but one that has been an ardent opponent of any reduction of mass immigration into the United States, no matter how debilitating those human waves from foreign shores continue to be for American workers.

And while Perez was running the DOJ’s Civil Rights division, he had a much narrower view of who was protected under keystone legislation like the Voting Rights Act.

Perez is on record stating that white Americans, and especially those of the working class variety that Beshear was tapped specifically to reassure on Tuesday, are not protected by the provisions of the Voting Rights Act that LBJ bulldogged through Congress and onto his desk in 1965. To be sure, the intent of that landmark legislation was crafted in the sociopolitical landscape of the era, when black Americans weren’t just socially but also institutionally an ‘at risk’ population and particularly when they attempted to vote south of the Mason-Dixon Line, a geographic area that it’s worth noting was then known as the ‘Solid South’ among the Democrats that controlled it. President Johnson was only able to put his pen to paper on the Voting Rights Act as a result of Senate Republican minority leader, Everett Dirksen of Illinois, who rounded up the critical GOP votes for the bill that killed a threatened Democratic filibuster and took it into the End Zone for passage.

Yet Perez and the rest of the Democratic bullpen that are waiting to get called to the mound after what remains of Beshear’s vanishing Class of 1962 vapor locks and drops find themselves frozen in an ideological dichotomy that proffers while America is no longer the country it was demographically in 1965, it somehow remains the same country culturally nonetheless.

It’s a simple equation that formulates, absolutely correctly, that blacks in 1965 were an institutionally oppressed people in America, but now concludes, clearly incorrectly, that ‘peoples of color’ remain the victims of a system that simply no longer exists. Ironically, blacks have now been re-marginalized within the party and seen their power diluted by the Democratic pecking order of grievance.

In short, Perez and his deputy at the DNC, Keith Ellison, believe that while the truncheons and German Shepherds of Jim Clark or Bull Connor’s goon squads may no longer prowl the streets to prey on black citizens, that system has merely been replaced by a more polished Jim Crow, one of the hallmarks of which is apparently asking voters for valid identification. Then again, this is but a small beer on the bar of moral relativism for a national party that now routinely makes allusions to the Holocaust and Nazi Germany when criticizing efforts to enforce America’s immigration laws.

Another contender for the top DNC spot, Sally Boynton Brown, the Democrats state party chair from Idaho, gushed in January that if she were named the national party’s chair that she would consider it one of her top priorities to “shut other white people down” if they dared to speak out on racial issues in a non-approved, unapologetic fashion. Brown had prefaced her remarks with her own pseudo-apology for being white, a mea culpa that was met with knowing nods of approval from her fellow Democrats. At one point during her comments, Brown complained how white the state of Idaho is and said she had been desperately seeking “anybody of color” who would be willing to lecture her about race.

Brown’s comments would have been tantamount to intramural party suicide even a decade ago, yet it now passes as hard currency throughout Democratic leadership circles today.

So what now for the Democrats in 2017? Well, more of the same.

While running for the chair of the DNC, Ellison unveiled a series of outreach plans targeted to the core constituencies that now drive the Democratic Party’s agenda, including a ‘LGBTQ Plan,’ a ‘Latino Plan,’ an ‘African American Plan,’ an ‘AAPI Plan’ (he explained that was an acronym for ‘Asian American Pacific Islander Plan,’) a ‘Youth Plan’ and in a passing veiled reference to white Americans—who Ellison was still very careful to not mention as a racial group whose concerns should be addressed—he also offered a ‘Rural Plan.’

But the outreach plans are simply a blueprint for the same Democratic messaging that has been the staple of the party’s brand since at least 1980.

In 2018 the Democrats will be defending 10 Senate seats in states carried by Trump last November (and he won half of those by double-digit margins), yet instead of coming to terms with a middle and working class that don’t see continued mass immigration—whether wading across the Rio Grande or arriving courtesy of a completely corrupt H1-B visa program—as beneficial to their own economic and professional prospects; they are circling their ideological wagons and, like that epic Saturday Night Live sketch, demanding ‘more cowbell’

More cowbell.

Out of ideas, out of rhythm, out of a political chord progression or even a lyrical lemonade that tastes somewhat sweet on the swallow, the Democrats v.2017 don’t know what else to do but just pound the hell out of that cowbell.

And it makes one wonder what the Democratic National Convention will look and sound like in 2020?

Sure to be held in one of their crumbling Festungs like Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Detroit or New York, each a violently dysfunctional showcase in its own right of what the party’s hegemony among major urban population centers can produce, the Democrats will rally amid a rising body count and collapsing infrastructure with the fixed smile of a cadaver on their faces and once more will trumpet their core message that national sovereignty and ideals forming a cohesive national identity is a dangerous thing of the past and that we are now citizens of the world. The Republican leadership has been selling the same message for the past two decades as well, though more so emphasizing their plans to transition America from a nation into a market, from a country into a pool of consumers, than the planetary social services center the Democrats envision.

If the Democrats bench looked weak in 2016, it’s hard to imagine that the lineup for 2020 promises to offer a deeper or more promising roster, as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris would likely lead the Democrats into a 1972 level electoral event and even Al Franken seems like a relative long shot against Trump.

Perhaps the best hope for saving the Democrats are the Republicans, a party whose leadership despises Trump almost as much as they hate the white working class that propelled him through the election and into the Oval Office. It’s quite likely some credible Establishment contender will emerge to challenge him in the primaries of 2020, though if the GOP prospers during the midterms next year those odds may diminish considerably for fear of losing the White House by enraging its base more than it already has.

But one thing is certain.

The Democrats in 2017 have only one instrument left to play: cowbell.

And we’re going to be hearing a helluva lot more of it in the coming months.