"The recent election demonstrates that voters see through the duplicity of the current failed leadership of the Democratic Party and will make their party pay in next year's midterm elections unless there is reform at the top." — Alan Dershowitz. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
As a lifelong Democrat, I am appalled at the way the leaders of the party have shot themselves in the foot by kowtowing to left-wing radicals.
The recent Republican victories were not so much a vindication of Republican policies as a rejection of the extremism of Democratic leaders and their tolerance for radical hard-left policies.
Although most pundits were focusing on the Virginia gubernatorial race, an even more telling example of the failure of the Democratic leadership played out in Buffalo, New York, the Empire State's second-most populous city.
A left-wing extremist and avowed socialist named India Walton managed to beat the longtime incumbent mayor, Byron Brown, in the low-turnout Democratic primary. Brown then decided to mount a high-risk write-in campaign against Walton. As expected, Walton was strongly supported by the left-wing fringe of the Democratic Party led by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who campaigned with her. What was shocking, and what reflects the self-inflicted wound, was the support she received from mainstream Democratic senators including Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and others.
Not surprisingly, Walton was also endorsed by the usual Israel-haters as well as by anti-American extremists who do not reflect the views of mainstream Democratic voters.
She could never be elected to any office that required the votes of a majority of Democrats or voters in general. Walton could only win elections with small turnouts of extremist voters. She does not represent American voters or Democratic voters. She represents the extreme fringe of the Democratic Party, as does Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and her squalid squad.
But you wouldn't know that from the Democratic leaders who immorally endorsed her. Whether they did so because they agree with her policies or because they are afraid of losing the votes of extremists does not matter. They endorsed her. That was wrong and self-destructive. They should have endorsed her centrist Democratic opponent who ended up winning an overwhelming victory despite the odds against write-in candidates. Brown's win reflected the true Democratic voting base.
The leaders who endorsed Walton must be rebuked if the Democrats are not to suffer further electoral losses because of their immoral association with dangerously extremist candidates. They cannot have it both ways. They cannot claim to be centrist while campaigning for anti-centrist candidates like Walton. They must renounce, not support, the fringe elements within their party if they purport to represent its voting base.
The recent election demonstrates that voters see through the duplicity of the current failed leadership of the Democratic Party and will make their party pay in next year's midterm elections unless there is reform at the top.
Even the New York Times, in a "news" article that reads like a campaign ad for Walton, admitted that her lopsided defeat by a write-in candidate constitutes a "stinging rebuke for the left wing of the party, both nationally and in New York."
The message of this most recent election is that centrists win and extremists lose -- except perhaps in atypical districts and in small-turnout primaries.
If I were a Republican, I would be making the same demand of the leadership of that party: rebuke candidates from the extreme right, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene and others who do not represent the mainstream of the Grand Old Party. American voters crave a return to centrism and a rejection of the kind of intolerant extremism reflected by Larry David's refusal to even talk to me because I supported then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's efforts to bring about peace in the Middle East. The mere fact that Pompeo is a Republican -- in David's words, a "part of that group" -- was enough for him to end a quarter of a century friendship. Americans may like David's comedy, but they surely do not like his politics, as evidenced by the results of the last election
Larry David and Chuck Schumer and those who represent that brand of divisive partisanship may be the cause of the Democrats' continuing losses at the polls. I urge my party to reject the politics of intolerance and extremism and to embrace the politics of centrism. President Biden seems to agree. After the recent losses, he warned: "If we keep things the way they are, it's just not going to cut it in next year's midterm elections." I hope he was referring to the dangerous and self-defeating left-wing influence in his party.
Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School and served on the legal team representing President Donald Trump for the first Senate impeachment trial. He is the author of numerous books, including his latest, The Case for Color-Blind Equality in an Age of Identity Politics. His podcast, "The Dershow," is available on Spotify and YouTube. He is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute.