The Federalist examines how “The radicalization of the Democratic Party is transforming everything that happens in America into another battle in our unending culture war.”
For all their shortcomings, conservatives at least have a limiting principle for politics. Most of them believe, for example, in the principles enshrined in the Constitution and maintain that no matter how bad things are, the Bill of Rights is a necessary bulwark, sometimes the only bulwark, against tyranny and violence. In contrast, here’s Timothy Egan of The New York Times arguing unabashedly for the repeal of the Second and Fifth Amendments.
The rapid radicalization of Democrats along these lines follows a ruthless logic about the entire premise of the American constitutional order. If you believe, as progressives increasingly do, that America was founded under false pretenses and built on racial oppression, then why bother conserving it? And why bother trying to compromise with those on the other side, especially if they reject progressives’ unifying theory that America is forever cursed by its original sin of slavery, which nothing can expiate?
Before you scoff, understand that this view of race and America is increasingly mainstream on the American Left. To read someone like Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose recent article in The Atlantic is a manifesto of racial identity politics that argues Trump’s presidency is based on white supremacy, is to realize that progressive elites no longer believe they can share a republic with conservatives, or really anyone with whom they disagree.
Coates has attained near god-like status among progressives with his oracular writings on race and politics, which take for granted the immutability of race and racial animus. So it’s deeply disturbing when he writes, as he does in a new collection of essays, that “should white supremacy fall, the means by which that happens might be unthinkable to those of us bound by present realities and politics.”…..
For a sincere progressive, almost everything that happened in the past is a crime against the present, and the only greatness America can attain is by repudiating its past and shaming—or silencing, if possible—all those who believe preserving our constitutional order is the best way for all of us to get along.
Seen in that light, the radicalization of Democrats is something qualitatively different, and much more dangerous, than the radicalization of Republicans. It means, among other things, that the culture war is now going to encompass everything, and that it will never end.