The left has employed most of the strategies recommended by community agitator Saul Alinsky in his influential 1971 book, Rules for Radicals. Everything from making the threat “more terrifying than the thing itself” to using ridicule as “man’s most potent weapon,” the left has won multiple battles and made many gains in the culture war over the years by channeling Alinsky’s spirit for wisdom on effective political tactics.
But, perhaps blinded by their disdain and rage over President Donald Trump, progressives have failed to adopt one important Alinsky rule since 2016: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” He further writes as part of Rule 12:
“Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)”
Democrats personify much of what Alinsky warns about. The party of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) don’t have solutions to problems because it appears they are part of the problem.
While obstruction without an alternative may record short-term political gains and adulation from certain networks, it rarely pleases a chunk of the electorate. This could spell doom for the donkeys.
During the 2008 election, when the entire country seemed to be frustrated by then-President George W. Bush and the Republicans, the Democratic brass submitted a series of policy prescriptions. The Democratic nominee and future president campaigned on closing down Guantanamo Bay, ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and tackling the national debt. Former President Barack Obama failed to achieve much of what he pledged – even exacerbating these issues – but they were serious proposals.
What can you say about the Democrats of today? To espouse that the Democrats and the overall left do not have a platform heading into the 2018 midterm elections and 2020 presidential contest would be an understatement.
Because the Democrats have been ensconced in porn stars, neo-McCarthyism, fake news, sound bytes, and inciting mobs, the party has failed to materialize policy positions. And, no, promising free stuff does not count as a viable and genuine proposal.
The party is missing a myriad of crucial elements to endear themselves to voters, which could explain why the so-called blue wave might be nothing more than a ripple in the shallow end of a pool.
Ostensibly, the only messages that the Democrats are sending to the American people are “We hate Trump!” and “If you don’t vote for us, then we’re going to hoot, holler, and hum until we get our way!”
Say what you will about the Republican Party, but when they were eviscerated in 2008, Reince Priebus and his Republican National Committee (RNC) staff conducted an internal autopsy. The soon-to-be White House Chief of Staff examined what went wrong, why voters shunned the GOP, and how the elephants could stampede their way through the nation once again. It worked as the GOP gradually regained power nationwide from 2010 to 2016.
You can debate if the Republicans have wasted their power, but they were victorious. And, in the world of politics, control is the only thing that matters, not effective policy change.
Now, contrast this with the Democrats.
Has the Democratic National Committee (DNC) performed a similar audit? The only approaches that Tom Perez has taken is denial. Like the woman who will never be president, Hillary Clinton, much of the party still cannot concede that they lost the 2016 election, blaming everything on Macedonians, Pokémon Go, and women terrified of their husbands.
Meanwhile, the party is experiencing a sea of change. The Chuck Schumers and the Nancy Pelosis are on their way out, and the young blood, seemingly of the socialist variety a la Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is taking over. If this is the makeup of the Democratic Party, then the GOP is safe – for now. In the coming years, when even more Americans wear Che Guevara t-shirts and hang portraits of Karl Marx on their living room walls, that blue wave might transform into a tsunami. And, like a tsunami, socialism will destroy everything in its path.
Mastering Saul Alinsky
Suffice it to say, the left has mastered most of Saul Alinsky’s teachings. In the same way Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) avidly reads Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook, the progressive wings of the Democratic Party have made Rules for Radicals integral to The Resistance. Unfortunately for them, it seems they have ripped out Rule 12 and thrown it in the trash can, instead relying on hyperbole, hysteria, and hypocrisy – some say ignorance, too – to win back the branches of government. Alinsky would be displeased, and you never anger the spirit of Alinsky.