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Have our political parties switched places?

Think things look bad now. Remember LBJ and his promise to keep us out of Vietnam? At least Biden doesn't have us invading Ukraine...err...yet?

The ad that got that imbecile elected!

The Disorganized GOP and Other Signs of the Great Inversion

Republicans are the party of the working class; the left opposes free speech. Everything is topsy-turvy.

Gerard Baker, WSJ

Jan. 9, 2023 1:18 pm ET

We live in a political age we might call the Great Inversion.

In not much more than a generation, virtually all the protagonists, values and identities of ideological competition have swapped places.

Not very long ago, college-educated professionals voted for Republicans in vast numbers, while blue-collar workers picked Democrats. Now a college degree is the most reliable indicator of Democratic preference; the proletariat is dependably Republican. Liberals used to be passionate defenders of free speech; now progressives seek to shut down dissent wherever they find it. The left once regarded domestic intelligence agencies as a threat to democracy and individual freedom; now they embrace them as essential weapons against their domestic adversaries, whom they accuse of “misinformation” and “sedition.” Democrats were traditionally suspicious of and hostile to big business. Now, on issue after issue—climate alarmism, “diversity,” the virtues of a borderless world—they are tightly aligned.

Will Rogers is credited with the line: “I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” For decades this was no joke. For the left, ideological purism was always more important than the messy, tedious, compromise-tainted business of actually governing. Progressives tore themselves apart in a constant struggle that repeatedly pitted the perfect against the merely good.

Republicans, like conservatives the world over, have traditionally tended to favor pragmatism over purity. For them, Benjamin Disraeli’s dictum was paramount: “Damn your principles. Stick to your party!”

There were intramural fights, vicious at times. And there were significant ideological shifts. But the categorical imperative of politics—governing—generally prevailed. It’s no accident that for 28 of the 40 years between 1953 and 1993, Republicans were in the White House.

Today, the Democratic Party may be the most ruthlessly organized and efficient political entity in the world—and I include the Chinese Communist Party. Xi Jinping probably looks across the Pacific with envy at the iron party solidarity over which House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries presides.

The Democrats took a 50-50 nation in 2020, after a contentious election won by the narrowest of margins primarily because just enough voters saw them as the lesser evil, and seized the opportunity to advance one of the most ambitious agendas of any government in recent history: trillions of additional dollars in federal spending, expanded regulation, the steady erosion of the national border, accelerated conversion of the nation’s energy production to costly green sources, and a relentless, intensifying war on traditional culture and values.

We can denounce the activism and deplore the outcome, but we can only marvel at the political efficiency with which it has been achieved.

Democrats have been demonstrating this impressive willingness to band together for some time. They have taken Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment and turned it into Nancy Pelosi’s First Law.

In 2009 and 2010 many of them voted for ObamaCare well aware that it could cost them their political futures. Like kamikaze pilots cheerfully climbing up into their Zero fighters at dawn, they knew they had an obligation larger than their own survival, a duty that superseded their doubts.

Joe Biden will shortly announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. Despite his age, his evident cognitive decline and the risk of an accident that results in President Kamala Harris, and even if by this time next year the U.S. economy is mired in recession, he will be re-nominated by acclamation. This will be no 1968 or 1976 for the incumbent.

The Republicans meanwhile, are about to embark on yet another orgy of self-mutilation, one that may make last week’s Grand Guignol in the House look positively amicable.

Republicans need to get a grip—and fast—or they, and we, are going to lose the ability to halt this country’s march to the left for a decade or more. The lessons of history couldn’t be clearer. Divided parties lose elections. Parties that indulge their most unrepresentative dogmatists alienate the rest. Parties that put ideological purity over governing become neither ideologically pure nor any longer in government.

This isn’t to deny that a fight over principle is in many ways admirable, or that the fissiparous tendencies demonstrated by conservatives in the last few years have been driven by big, important changes in wider political and social conditions.

But don’t think the spectacle—the reality—of a political party that places a higher priority on its own internal purification doesn’t have real world consequences.

In another example of our modern political inversion, some on the right defending their performance last week sounded uncannily like some Democrats who ripped each other limb from limb at their 1968 presidential nominating convention. Open debate is democracy at work! Principle is passion! Leadership demands accountability!.

All true. But as I watched the spectacle unfold on C-Span’s briefly liberated cameras, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the observation of the French general who watched the British immolate themselves in the charge of the light brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854.

It’s magnificent, he said, but it isn’t war.

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