Former President Barack Obama on Friday warned his fellow Democrats that their hatred of President Donald Trump and their fellow Americans could drive their 2018 campaign into a ditch.
“We won’t win people over by calling them names, or dismissing entire chunks of the country as racist, or sexist, or homophobic,” said Obama, echoing Hillary Clinton’s disastrous “basket of deplorables” statement in 2016.
Democrats cannot win “if we think that somehow there’s no way they can understand how I’m feeling, and therefore don’t have any standing to speak on certain matters because we’re only defined by certain characteristics,” Obama said in his Sept. 7 speech in Illinois.
But Obama’s cautionary message was hidden by his own resentments and is likely to be lost as Democratic identity groups compete to display their hatred of Trump, national-minded populists, and of popular immigration laws.
Those Democratic hatreds are fuelling support for radical legal changes that would blur the civic and legal distinctions between Americans and foreigners, between men and women, and between free speech and violent attacks.
On Sept. 4, for example, many thousands of progressives shared a Tweet claiming that a white-power sign was flashed by a top aide to Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate nomination hearing for a seat on the Supreme Court. The progressives included Neera Tanden, the president of the Democrats’ main think-tank, the Center for American Progress.
— Rogue US Mint (@RogueUSMint) September 4, 2018
On the same day, a 10-term progressive Rep. Michael Capuano was easily defeated by upstart Boston progressive Ayanna Pressley on a platform which included the “Abolish ICE!” demand for ending the enforcement of immigration laws. That election followed the June defeat of 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley to his New York challenger, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who touted her Puerto Rican identity as she backed the “Abolish ICE!” campaign. Both the Boston and New York districts have majorities of minorities, leaving the established white progressives out of sync — or “defined by certain characteristics” in Obama’s words — with their identity-politics bases.
The rising anti-enforcement, pro-migration view was also echoed by the Democratic nominee who is running against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Candidate Beto O’Rourke told one voter:
When we see the fear that has been injected into our communities, that’s not good for any of us. It’s certainly not good for those who live directly under that fear. It’s not good for the rest of us, who benefit from the contributions that those fellow members of our community can make.
Carolina appreciation tweet for asking Beto about the abolition of ICE and not backing down. Stoked that the get to organize with someone like her pic.twitter.com/oLvmj1CqZN
— ab 🌹 (@alexbirnel) June 29, 2018
The Democrats’ 2018 campaign is accompanied by much hateful language directed at Trump and his allies, as well as a widening range of actual attacks on people and targets considered to be pro-Trump.
If the rule of law and the courts hold until Nov.6, our votes will guarantee that racist supporters, a spineless Congress & Vladimir Putin will not be able to save a lying failed grifter. VOTE!!!
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) August 20, 2018
America is fighting for its life. DT has injected US with the toxins of racism, misogyny, xenophobia & lies. He is obstructing justice & conspiring with an enemy to destroy Democracy. Patriots will not let America die. VOTE!!!
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) August 2, 2018
More than 500 physical attacks have been inflicted on Trump supporters, Breitbart News reported.
Some progressives try to blame the actual attacks on Trump’s verbal criticism of the media:
— AltNSA (@AltNatSecAgency) September 5, 2018
The Democrats’ 2018 rhetoric escalate Clinton’s disastrous 2016 “deplorables” declaration at a New York fundraiser:
This August, Vermont Democrats picked a person who claims to be transgender as their candidate for governor. The win by Christine Hallquist, a former utility executive, marks the growing willingness by progressives to endorse the transgender ideology’s claim that law and society should suppress legal, civic and biological distinctions between men and women, girls and boys.
In Michigan, Democrats have nominated Rashida Tlaib for the Sixth District seat in Michigan, even though she has vocally opposed a two-state peace deal to end the long war between Isreal and the surrounding Arab populations.
Obama’s personal resentments over Trump’s triumph in 2016 also skewed his speech’s appeal for civic generosity among Democrats. For example, he told his Illinois audience that:
You know, to make democracy work we have to be able to get inside the reality of people who are different, have different experiences, come from different backgrounds. We have to engage them even when it is frustrating; we have to listen to them even when we don’t like what they have to say; we have to hope that we can change their minds and we have to remain open to them changing ours.
common ground exists. Maybe it’s not fashionable to say that right now. It’s hard to see it with all the nonsense in Washington, it’s hard to hear it with all the noise. But common ground exists. I have seen it. I have lived it.
Amid the uplifting rhetoric and warnings against tribal hatreds, Obama revived his often-used passive-aggressive style to slyly suggest that most whites are racist:
I know there are white people who care deeply about black people being treated unfairly. I have talked to them and loved them.
More directly, Obama also told his audience that “the politics of division, of resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party.”
Bitter Barack Obama trashes 63 million Americans as paranoid, divisive, & resentful pic.twitter.com/6iRPUk69NM
— Wired Sources (@WiredSources) September 7, 2018
Yet Obama routinely used divisive, resentful and paranoid language during his 2008 race and subsequent presidency to characterize many Republicans as bitter, racist, xenophobic, and angry:
Also, President Obama repeatedly argued that Republicans put “party before country”:
By the end of his Illinois speech, Obama lapsed into political nostalgia by reviving his “hope and change” mantra of 2008:
Change happens. Hope happens. Not perfection. Not every bit of cruelty and sadness and poverty and disease suddenly stricken from the earth. There will still be problems. But with each new candidate that surprises you with a victory that you supported, a spark of hope happens. With each new law that helps a kid read or helps a homeless family find shelter or helps a veteran get the support he or she has earned, each time that happens, hope happens. With each new step we take in the direction of fairness and justice and equality and opportunity, hope spreads.
Obama is expected to inject himself into the 2018 midterms, partly to help reverse the impact of his own role in helping Donald Trump get elected President in 2016.