If you’re a Democratic politician, you uncomplainingly take crap from militant African-Americans; it’s what you do. Unless you’re Bill Clinton. He’s a former U.S. president. He doesn’t take crap from anyone.
Thus, as Steve Hayward notes, the Big Dog barked back today at Black Lives Matter protesters who interrupted his speech. Clinton shouted over the protesters for more than ten minutes, rejecting their claim that Hillary’s use of the term “superpredator” in a 1996 speech about crime was racist and made her complicit in the murder of African-Americans. (Hillary, by contrast, says regrets saying “superpredator.”)
Bill didn’t mince words today:
I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack, and sent them out into the streets to murder other African-American children. Maybe you thought they were good citizens. She didn’t. She didn’t! You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth!
Steve points to this exchange, and one between Chris Matthews and former Wisconsin Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton, as evidence that the Democratic party is unraveling. I wouldn’t go that far.
But this election season does illustrate why, adverse demographic trends and deep cleavages notwithstanding, the Republican party has a future. Socialist Bernie Sanders is as popular among Democrats as Hillary Clinton. Thus, Hillary isn’t just obliged to run from the left of President Obama; if elected president she will have to govern from that position.
With the emergence of Black Lives Matter, moreover, future Democratic presidents and Congresses probably won’t be able to maintain their lock on the minority vote by making gestures and taking occasional crap. They will have to redistribute money to minorities, free criminals, overturn housing patterns, and so forth.
Whites are already alienated from the Democratic party. However, we shouldn’t assume, as many analysts appear to, that the Republican share of the white won’t increase dramatically if the Democrats embrace Bernie Sanders style socialism, redistribute money and benefits along racial lines, and go noticeably soft on crime.
If Bill Clinton (our “first black president”) is repulsed by Black Lives Matter dogma, then surely the vast majority of white Americans and many minority group members are repulsed too. But Democratic office seekers (as opposed to one spouse of an office seeker) have shown no willingness to stand against this dogma. They eschew Sister Souljah moments and increasingly embrace policies that are antithetical to what such moments would imply.
Phillip Klein, borrowing from sports talk, recently argued that the Republican party can’t win now and can’t rebuild. His argument was sensible, but overlooked the fact that a sports team competes against an entire league, whereas a political party competes against just one “team.”
The team the GOP competes against probably isn’t unraveling yet; it can win now. But its future is problematic and would be dire but for the state of its opposition.
UPDATE: Bill Clinton now says he regrets the way he responded to the Black Lives Matter protesters. I guess this means that, going forward, even the Big Dog will take crap from militant black activists.
Appeasing those sympathetic to folks who, in Clinton’s words “think gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack, and sent them out into the streets to murder other African-American children, are good citizens” will be the order of the day for Democrats. That’s a big reason why, as I argue above, the GOP has a future.