I grew up in a small town in rural New England, which has long been a stronghold for Democrats. My grandfather was a carpenter, and for many years as a boy, my father was, too. Several of my family members are or used to be members of labor unions, and many of them have for years consistently and exclusively voted for Democratic candidates.
For much of my young life, their commitment to the Democratic Party had puzzled me. The values I grew up in my small town were the same American values that have made this country exceptional for more than two centuries: self-reliance, hard work, and individual liberty. Yet, come Election Day, much of my family and many of my neighbors would march off to the polls and pull the lever for candidates who seemed to embrace policies that are in complete contradiction to these ideals. And the older I get, the greater the divide grows between what Democratic voters in small towns and cities across the country think they’re getting from the politicians they vote for and the actual policies being proposed and implemented by Democrats.
The Democratic Party long ago ceased to be the party of John F. Kennedy and has instead mutated into the party of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Democrats used to say they support organized labor. Now, they are openly calling for open borders, driving down wages for millions of workers across the country. They used to say they support free expression on college campuses. Now, they do everything possible to silence students and speakers who disagree with their views. Many Democrats used to say socialism was a danger to America, but now they embrace radicals like Bernie Sanders and openly call for the creation of far-left socialist programs.
President Kennedy cut the top marginal tax rate for individuals by 20 percentage points, and he lowered corporate tax rates, too. Today, Democrats aren’t only opposed to tax cuts, they have pledged to raise taxes by reversing the Republicans tax reform law passed in 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Democrats used to say they supported oil drillers, coal miners, and other members of America’s energy industry, but today, they are blaming the hardworking men and women of these industries for supposedly creating catastrophic climate change. And Democrats now want to run the entire traditional energy sector out of business—coal, most forms of natural gas, and oil. One piece of legislation that has garnered significant support from some of the party’s most prominent figures, The Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, is “the most aggressive piece of climate legislation ever introduced in Congress.” It would “place a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects and moves our electricity and most transportation systems to 100% renewable energy by 2035.”
Many leading Democrats have even said that people who deny that humans are the primary cause of climate change or that think climate change isn’t catastrophic should be prosecuted in court.
The Democratic Party has been hijacked by its socialist wing, which is increasingly adopting an ever-larger portion of the Democratic Socialists of America’s platform. For example, much of the Democratic Party now wants taxpayers to pay for the college tuitions of every student in America. Democrats want the government, which can’t even operate the Postal Service without running massive deficits, to seize control of the entire health insurance industry. They also have called for a universal guaranteed-income program that would give every person “free” money—unless, of course, you already work for a living, in which case many Democrats think you shouldn’t get any cash. Additionally, Democrats are adamantly opposed to requiring people to work who are enrolled in welfare programs, such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called “food stamps.” And they remain the biggest roadblock to passing a balanced budget amendment, which simply asks the government to limit itself in the same way every American family must.
Moderate Democrats are no longer welcome in their own party. In many cases, they are ostracized. And moderate established Democratic politicians are increasingly being primaried for taking positions the party used to champion, like common-sense border security measures.
My grandparents’ Democratic Party was far from perfect, but it was still a far cry from the quasi-socialist party it has become in the twenty-first century. It’s time for moderate Democrats to face the facts: Your party has abandoned you. Perhaps it’s time for you to abandon it.
Justin Haskins is the co-founder of StoppingSocialism.com and the author of Socialism Is Evil: The Moral Case Against Marx’s Radical Dream. A digital version of the book is available for free by clicking here.
Justin Haskins is a widely published writer and political commentator, the senior editor and founder of The Henry Dearborn Institute for Liberty, and the editorial director and research fellow at The Heartland Institute, a national free-market think tank. (His work here does not necessarily reflect the views of The Heartland Institute.). Follow him on Twitter @JustinTHaskins.