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Do Democrats Resent Having to Make an Argument?


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The Democratic Party can take away at least one clear conclusion from the aftermath of their 2016 losses: You can put off the autopsy, but that won’t stop necrosis.

The Democrats are consumed by in-fighting, though this is masked by endless expressions of anxiety over their opponents’ policies. To the extent that Democrats have identified a way to recover from an election that saw so many of their core voters defect or decline to cast a ballot, it has been to again appeal to the labor voter who couldn’t care less about the American left’s addiction to identity politics. But the liberal activist class is ready to bolt if Democrats become a party that welcomes—yuck!—social conservatives again. Bernie Sanders and his semi-socialist wing is trying to excise centrism from the party by making support for government-run health insurance programs a “litmus test,” much to the consternation of Democrats tasked with winning back control of Congress.
Among the few things Democrats seem to agree upon is that their core message must be an anti-Trump message. It’s the execution that’s been the problem. Democrats are pretty sure that they will benefit from frustration with an unpopular executive and his party’s failure to govern effectively. Beyond the broadest strokes, however, there is confusion among Democrats as to how they should go about making themselves an anti-Trump vehicle. The opposition party is occasionally guilty of leaving observers with the impression that they resent even having to make an effort.
Take, for example, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attempt to crystallize Democratic antipathy toward the Trump administration’s illegal immigration policies into some sort of coherent and actionable prescription. The city is suing the Justice Department in the effort to prevent law-enforcement officials from withholding federal grant money as a result of its status as a “sanctuary city.”:snip:

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