As Scott has noted, the Democratic Party is tied up in knots over Ilhan Omar’s overt anti-Semitism and reactions to it, both inside and outside the party. This is not due to bungling on the part of the Democrats’ House leadership, as some have suggested. Rather, the problem is inherent. It goes to the essence of the modern Democratic Party.
It is fundamental to the Democrats’ worldview and reason for being that all hate comes from the right. They constantly tout themselves as the party of inclusion, tolerance and love. They never tire of talking about, for example, Charlottesville, even though the violence there was caused at least as much by the far-left Antifa as by a handful of ragtag white supremacists. But of course, they never mention James Hodgkinson.
More importantly, our politics today are suffused with hate, to a degree not seen within my lifetime. Above all, hate for President Trump. Also, hate for conservatives. Hate for Republicans. Hate for all those who fail to toe the latest, ever-shifting intersectional line. Everyone who pays attention to Twitter, to Facebook, to cable news, or to current events generally knows this is true. And yet the Democrats cannot admit that they, and the Left, are the overwhelming source of hatred in today’s world.
But Ilhan Omar posed a problem. Her hate was different because it was directed toward a group that mostly supports Democrats. Think about it: what she said about Jews was far milder than what Democrats say about President Trump and his supporters every day. They constantly call Trump a traitor. It was also milder than what many liberals say about white people on MSNBC, without drawing a peep from the Democrats’ leadership. If Omar had trained her fire on the right, or groups associated with the right, like whites or rural Americans, no Democrat would have minded.
Ilhan Omar hates like a Democrat, and she openly expresses that hate like a Democrat. The problem is that she hates people who mostly support the Democratic Party. Not only that, by openly expressing her bigotry she has exposed an important rift among the Democrats. Like the Labour Party in Great Britain, the Democratic Party has become a haven for anti-Semites. (Actually, it has been that for a long time: see, for example, Crown Heights and “Hymietown.”) Today, the fact that many Democrats don’t like Jews is becoming harder to conceal. Omar has made it harder still.
I thought the House Democrats’ original resolution condemning anti-Semitism, without naming Ilhan Omar, was anodyne. I thought she probably could vote for it. But that resolution, which referred only to anti-Semitism, was withdrawn by leadership, reportedly because of an outpouring of support for Omar within the party. That support didn’t come from people who doubted that she is an anti-Semite–she has made that blindingly clear, repeatedly!–but rather from people who share her particular bigotry.
So the Democrats are in a tight spot. Leadership has had to back off, and is in the process of substituting a resolution that toes the party line by nattering on about Islamophobia and so on. A resolution that refers to everything, and therefore nothing. A resolution that tries to preserve the fig leaf of a party that is opposed to hate. Even as its members express the vilest, most hateful, most bigoted views that America has seen in its modern history.