If it’s bad for Amer­ica, it’s good for Democrats

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - DEN­NIS PRAGER

One of the two ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties of the United States has linked all its elec­toral hopes on do­mes­tic patholo­gies, eco­nomic down­turns and for­eign fail­ure.

It is ac­tu­ally dif­fi­cult to name any pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment for Amer­ica that would ben­e­fit the Demo­cratic Party’s chances in a na­tional elec­tion.

Name al­most any sub­ject, and this un­healthy pat­tern can be dis­cerned.

If African Amer­i­cans come to be­lieve that Amer­ica is a land of op­por­tu­nity in which racism has been largely con­quered, it would be cat­a­strophic for the Democrats. The day that most black Amer­i­cans see Amer­ica in pos­i­tive terms will be the day Democrats lose any hope of win­ning a na­tional elec­tion. What­ever one be­lieves about the ex­tent of racism in Amer­ica, one can­not deny that the Democrats need black Amer­i­cans to feel vic­tim­ized by racism. Con­tented black Amer­i­cans spell dis­as­ter for the Demo­cratic Party.

If women marry, it is bad for the Demo­cratic Party. Sin­gle women are an es­sen­tial com­po­nent of any Demo­cratic vic­tory. Un­mar­ried women voted for Kerry by a 25point mar­gin (62 per­cent to 37 per- cent), while mar­ried women voted for Pres­i­dent Bush by an 11-point mar­gin (55 per­cent to 44 per­cent). Ac­cord­ing to a pro-Demo­crat web­site, The Emerg­ing Demo­cratic Ma­jor­ity, “the 25-point mar­gin Kerry posted among un­mar­ried women rep­re­sented one of the high wa­ter marks for the Sen­a­tor among all de­mo­graphic groups.”

Af­ter women marry, they are more likely to aban­don left­ist views and to vote Repub­li­can. And if they then have chil­dren, they will vote Repub­li­can in even more lop­sided num­bers. The bot­tom line is that when Amer­i­cans marry, it is bad for the Demo­cratic Party; when they marry and make fam­i­lies, it is dis­as­trous for the party.

If im­mi­grants as­sim­i­late, it is not good for Democrats. The Demo­cratic Party has in­vested in Latino sep­a­ratism. The more that His­panic im­mi­grants come to feel fully Amer­i­can, the less likely they are to vote Demo­crat. The lib­eral no­tion of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism helps Democrats, while adop­tion of the Ameri- can ideal of e pluribus unum (out of many, one) helps Repub­li­cans. That is one rea­son Democrats sup­port bilin­gual ed­u­ca­tion — it hurts His­panic chil­dren, but it keeps them from full as­sim­i­la­tion — and op­pose mak­ing English Amer­ica’s of­fi­cial lan­guage.

Con­cern­ing the econ­omy, the same rule ap­plies. The bet­ter Amer­i­cans feel they are do­ing, the worse it is for Democrats. By al­most ev­ery eco­nomic mea­sure (the cur­rent hous­ing cri­sis ex- cepted), Amer­i­cans are do­ing well. The un­em­ploy­ment rate has been at his­tor­i­cally low lev­els and in­fla­tion has been held in check, some­thing that rarely ac­com­pa­nies low un­em­ploy­ment rates. Nev­er­the­less, Democrats reg­u­larly ap­peal to class re­sent­ment, know­ing that sow­ing seeds of eco­nomic re­sent­ment in­creases their chances of be­ing elected.

The most ob­vi­ous area in which this rule cur­rently ap­plies is the war in Iraq. The Democrats have put them­selves in the po­si­tion of need­ing fail­ure in Iraq in or­der to win the next elec­tion. And again, per­cep­tions mat­ter more than re­al­ity. Even if Amer­ica is do­ing bet­ter in the war, what mat­ters most for the Democrats are Amer­i­cans’ per­cep­tions of the war. The worse the sto­ries from Iraq, the bet­ter for Democrats.

That helps to ex­plain why the main­stream me­dia, who ache for a Demo­cratic vic­tory, fea­ture sto­ries of wounded Amer­i­can sol­diers, griev­ing fam­i­lies of killed sol­diers and atroc­ity sto­ries — such as the ap­par­ently fic­ti­tious story printed in the New Repub­lic. But they al­most never fea­ture sto­ries about mil­i­tary hero­ism and al­tru­ism. Amer­i­cans read and watch far more sto­ries about sol­diers who com­mit atroc­i­ties than about sol­diers who com­mit heroic ac­tions and who show love to Iraqi civil­ians.

The list is al­most end­less. Thus, when pro-Amer­i­can for­eign lead­ers — such as Ni­co­las Sarkozy in France — are elected, even that is not good for the Democrats. The more the Democrats can show that Amer­ica is hated, the more the Democrats can ar­gue that we need them in or­der to be loved abroad.

Un­doubt­edly, some Democrats might re­spond that the same the­sis could be writ­ten if a Demo­crat were in the White House and the Repub­li­cans were out of power. But that is not at all the case. First, there is no equiv­a­lent list of bad things hap­pen­ing to Amer­ica that ben­e­fits Repub­li­cans. Sec­ond, ev­ery­thing writ­ten here about the Democrats — ex­cept about the Iraq War, which was not tak­ing place then — could have been writ­ten when Demo­crat Bill Clin­ton was pres­i­dent.

I am not say­ing that in their hearts all Democrats want black Amer­ica to re­gard Amer­ica as a racist so­ci­ety, or want His­pan­ics to re­main unas­sim­i­lated, or Amer­i­cans to feel eco­nom­i­cally dis­con­tented, or fewer fam­i­lies to be formed, or Amer­ica to lose in Iraq, or for­eign na­tions to hate us.

But what most Democrats want in their hearts is not the is­sue. The is­sue is that if Democrats want to win, they can do so only if bad things hap­pen to Amer­ica.

Den­nis Prager is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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