Bad news for Democrats: You won! – opinion

Every move Biden makes domestically will be viewed reductively, favoring one faction or the other.

Democratic 2020 US presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks at his election rally, after news media announced that Biden has won the 2020 US presidential election, in Wilmington, Delaware, US, November 7, 2020. (photo credit: JIM BOURG / REUTERS)
Democratic 2020 US presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks at his election rally, after news media announced that Biden has won the 2020 US presidential election, in Wilmington, Delaware, US, November 7, 2020.
(photo credit: JIM BOURG / REUTERS)
Bravo Joe Biden – you’re in for it now. Savvy politicians know:
- The only thing worse than losing is winning,
- You manage enemies, but friends terrorize you and
- Opposition is easy, you just say no – governing is hard, every “yes” disappoints.
Amid multiple, mounting, headaches, US President-elect Joe Biden faces a looming Democratic civil war over various issues, from socialism to Israel.
As Democratic leaders counted their losses in the House of Representatives (so far eight) and saw Democratic Senate control hinge on winning two Georgia runoffs, the gunfire erupted. During a House Democratic Caucus call, Abigail Spanberger, a Virginian who almost lost, exclaimed: “No one should say ‘defund the police’ ever again. Nobody should be talking about socialism.” Spanberger cautioned that if Democrats keep drifting leftward, come the 2022 midterm elections “We will get f***ing torn apart.”
Showing her mastery of the identity-browbeating that muzzles debate today, Rep. Rashida Tlaib retorted that she “along with my Black and brown neighbors and... [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] neighbors or marginalized people” were being “silenced... We are not interested in unity that asks people to sacrifice their freedom and their rights any longer.”
As Trumpians bully opponents, PC Democrats race- or sex-shame them. Both techniques squelch the open, critical, conversations healthy democracies need.
It’s sobering. Three decades after the Soviet Union collapsed, America’s Regressive-Progressives mimic Communist cancel-culture techniques while championing socialism – which generally means endorsing public ownership and, more specifically, means “the stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism.” When Marxism was fashionable, America resisted the heavy-handed oppression required to impose collectivism nationally. Now that socialism has been repudiated globally, embracing it is bad politics and worse policy. Confusing “socialism” with “social democracy,” “social safety nets,” “welfare states,” or “equality,” is like confusing a social gathering with a social disease. One (in non-coronavirus times) is usually harmless, the other’s always dangerous.
While Republicans fear their own post-Trumpian breakdown, Democrats face this leftist versus centrist split. Every move Biden makes domestically will be viewed reductively, favoring one faction or the other.
Foreign policy is less contentious. It’s too confusing to be so polarized. Unfortunately, two flash points that have become increasingly partisan are particularly important to Jews: Iran and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
US president Barack Obama won: his zeal for engaging Iran’s mullahs has become Democratic dogma. The Democratic platform endorsed Obama’s flabby Iran deal as “the best means to verifiably cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb” – dismissing any lessons learned by the pressure US President Donald Trump applied on Iran economically and militarily.
Biden also seems determined to repeat Oslo’s perpetual peace processing, rejecting any insights from Trump’s out-of-the-box thinking that yielded the Abraham Accords. Last week in Haaretz, seven American peace processors eulogized Saeb Erekat adoringly, claiming “no other Palestinian negotiator was as committed and indefatigable as Saeb in pursuit of a two-state solution to be achieved through peaceful means.” Their only criticism: “at times he could be inflexible.”
This is stunning. These careerists seem to be positioning themselves to return to relevance under Biden. That they thought such one-sided claptrap would work is worrying. Their refusal to note that Erekat-the-hypocrite wanted his people boycotting Israel, but enjoyed VIP treatment at Hadassah-University Medical Center, is comic. And overlooking how much Erekat-the-propagandist damaged Israel and the very peace process they cherish by repeatedly lying so smoothly on CNN –is either foolishly blind or criminally irresponsible. Lionizing the liar who falsely claimed that Israel massacred 500 Palestinians in Jenin in 2002 underestimates just how much Palestinian incitement annihilates trust – among Arabs and Jews. True, “no other Palestinian negotiator” pursued the two-state solution peacefully – Erekat didn’t either!
Forty five years ago when Daniel Patrick Moynihan denounced the UN’s Zionism-is-racism blood libel, he showed that effective diplomacy often requires realistic assessments and tough tactics. These appeasers seem to think stale thinking, old blinders, and outdated delusions will impress Biden. Hopefully, they’ve misread America’s president-elect.
Similar honesty is necessary regarding one Georgia runoff. One Democrat, Rev. Raphael Warnock, blasted the “government of Israel” in 2018 for shooting “down unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey,” and signed an open letter in 2019, condemning Israel with the South African apartheid slur. As the JTA reports, some Democrats simply insist Warnock’s a “friend” of Israel and Jews – although that’s not how “friends” talk. Others counterattacked, saying Warnock’s opponent, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, accepted the endorsement of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a conservative fanatic who embraces antisemitic QAnon conspiracy nonsense – although national character assassination is far worse than guilt by association. Others, identity-shaming, responded – reprehensibly – “What do you call a Black man [to discredit him]? An anti-Zionist.”
Statements made within the last two years, can’t be pooh-poohed. This runoff poses an excruciating American Jewish dilemma – vote your party and domestic agenda – or defend Israel?
Georgia’s runoffs are tribal. Most Democrats will vote for Democratic control of the Senate. Most Republicans will vote to handcuff the Democrats. Some centrists will vote Republican to let Biden blame Republicans for being the moderate he wants to be.
Just be honest. Warnock’s supporters shouldn’t prettify his positions. Admit it: this play for Democratic power risks adding to the Democrats’ small but growing Bash-Israel-First chorus. At least commit to lobbying Biden to confront those anti-Israel Democrats. Meanwhile, Republicans should fight their small but growing tone-deaf-regarding-bigotry brigade.
Alas, expecting such honesty is as realistic as expecting Democrats to admit that while popping champagne, the veins in their head have started popping from all this stress too.
The writer was recently designated one of Algemeiner’s J-100, one of the top 100 people “positively influencing Jewish life.” A distinguished scholar of North American History at McGill University, and the author of nine books on American History and three books on Zionism, his book, Never Alone: Prison, Politics and My People, co-authored with Natan Sharansky was recently published by PublicAffairs of Hachette.