September 22, 2017

JIM GERAGHTY: The Unlearned Lessons of 2016.

Representative Maxine Waters calls the president and his allies “scumbags,” while DNC chair Tom Perez declares, “Republicans don’t give a s*** about people.” The outgoing California Democratic-party chairman leads a chant of “F*** Donald Trump!” Little-known Democratic lawmakers create national headlines by calling Trump the p-word, “ “fascist, loofa-faced, s***-gibbon,” and wishing for his assassination.

Russ Feingold, who came within 4 percent of winning back his old Senate seat in 2016, declared, “Let us finally, finally rip off the veneer that Trump’s affinity for white supremacy is distinct from the Republican agenda of voter suppression, renewed mass incarceration, and the expulsion of immigrants.” Enraged by the White House proposal to end DACA, Illinois Democratic representative Luis Gutierrez declared that White House chief of staff John Kelly is “a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear” who “should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists.” DNC vice chairman Keith Ellison recently compared the Dreamers, those who came to the United States illegally while children, to Jews in Nazi Germany — which make ICE comparable to the Gestapo.

It is as if Democrats concluded that the reason they lost in 2016 was that they just didn’t denounce Trump angrily enough.

Related: Divided Democratic Party Debates Its Future as 2020 Looms.

Like virtually all Democrats, Tim Ryan is no fan of Donald Trump. But as he speeds through his northeastern Ohio district in a silver Chevy Suburban, the eight-term Congressman sounds almost as frustrated with his own party. Popping fistfuls of almonds in the backseat, Ryan gripes about its fixation on divisive issues and its “demonization” of business owners. Ryan, 44, was briefly considered for the role of Hillary Clinton’s running mate last year. Now he sounds ready to brawl with his political kin. “We’re going to have a fight,” Ryan says. “There’s no question about it.”

Indeed. But so long as the Democratic Party remains all-in on “no enemies to the left,” then Democrats like Ryan will remain marginalized — and the Waters and Feingolds and Ellison’s will be empowered.

Nancy Pelosi has seen which way the wind is blowing, but even she is powerless to stop the party’s descent into madness, in no small part because she spent so many years helping to push it over the cliff.

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