by Dr. David Moskowitz
A recent letter in the Daily Local News bore the title “Today’s Democratic Party Is Unrecognizable.” I agree with this statement but for reasons completely different from those stated by the writer.
The Democratic Party is different because it is now more like what the Republican Party used to be than the current Party of Trump. Republicans used to believe in balanced budgets, low national debt and restraints on unwarranted spending. Since Trump has been in office, the budget, full of unnecessary expenditures (think about all the money flowing to Trump’s hotels), would make old-time Republicans blush. The national debt is now three times higher than it should be.
Then, there is law and order. Republicans were not vigilantes 20 years ago. Now, the Trump Republicans want to ride in caravans and foment unrest because Trump believes that will help him get elected. While most police officers are professionals and treat their fellow citizens as fellow citizens, we seem to have, during Trump’s time in office at least, one unfortunate, embarrassing incident of police misconduct on a steady weekly basis. This did not happen during Obama’s eight years.
Finally, what about racial unrest? When I was growing up, the Democrats were the party of the Dixiecrats. Those Dixiecrats are now Republicans and it is the Democrats that are seeking racial justice. By seeking racial justice, I do not mean riots, looting or burning. But ask yourself: Is Trump (master of today’s Republican Party) calming the waters or is he throwing gasoline on the fire? So long as Trump sees the path to his personal electoral triumph riding in on the cinders of burning cities (and just as many of them have Republican as Democratic mayors), there will be no peace.
By the way, people are moving to the suburbs not because of the peaceful protests or even the small percentage of protests that have been out of control (note that half of the protesters are not people of color and many more than half in Portland), but it is COVID-19 that is scaring city dwellers. You must have noticed that the U.S. performance in controlling this virus has been abysmal and non-responsive to the spread of the disease. Trump used to have daily press conferences in which he proclaimed that the disease was a hoax; it would just evaporate, he said, and, if it did not, try drinking the disinfectant of your choice.
Trump claims to be a war president, but the war is of his making. Where is Eisenhower when we need him? He was the type of Republican we used to admire. The current President is forcing traditional Republicans to become Democrats, and the Democrats are embracing them and their ideas for good governance.
The Democratic Party is unrecognizable because it is now the party that is concerned about the deficit, endorses racial justice and seeks reform of government when it fails to act professionally—they almost sound like Republicans who used to believe in good government.
(official portrait of president Eisenhower, 5/29/59, from Wikimedia Commons)