Froma Harrop: The lefties, not liberals, are toxic to Democrats

The bizarre part is that the lefties in the House number only about 17.

Portrait of Froma Harrop
Portrait of Froma Harrop

Things should be looking up for Democrats. Americans are flush with spending money. (They added at least $2.5 trillion to household savings during the pandemic.) Unemployment is back under 5%. As for stocks, the S&P 500 is up more than 30% from what it was before the pandemic.

Most every item on the Democrats' social wish list polls quite well.

Nevertheless, Democrats are deeply worried about the governor's race in Democratic-leaning Virginia and their ability to hold onto their bare majorities in the House and Senate. The reason is not honest disagreements over legislation. It's a small group on the left intent on slime-attacking Democratic moderates and scaring voters with their radical visions.

The bizarre part is that the lefties in the House number only about 17. Meanwhile, there are about 130 crazies in the Republican House caucus -- crazy defined by their January vote to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Yet the right-wing media has succeeded in portraying the Democratic fringe as the party's leadership. This couldn't have been done without the help of the supposedly liberal media, always ready to quote, profile and invite on camera the most strident voices in the left. We're looking at you, MSNBC and The New York Times, whose journalists inhabit the same elite urban circles as the attention freaks.


The party's real political magicians get scant coverage. Abby Finkenauer managed to win a formerly Republican district in northeastern Iowa only to lose it in 2020 amid radical chatter about defunding police. Republicans were able to flip 15 hard-won Democratic seats, even as Democrat Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump by 7 million popular votes.

Fox News and Newsmax will always find some obscure professor with a pointedly offensive critique of America to showcase as emblematic of Democratic thinking. Democrats can't control that. But they can impose penalties for their politicians who are too dense or don't care about messaging that scares the public.

Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represent districts so safe that Steve Bannon could win them if he had a "D" after his name. They do politically dumb things like attaching the term "people of color" to issues having nearly nothing to do with race, thereby confusing white voters who might want what they're proposing, like universal pre-K.

As for people of color, most aren't subscribing to the radical agenda, witnessed in the recent mayoral primary in New York City. Former police official Eric Adams won handily over the ultra-woke Maya Wiley, whom Ocasio-Cortez enthusiastically endorsed.

Guess what. Blacks and Latinos want public safety, especially at a time of rising crime. They also tend to be more socially conservative than white liberals, particularly members of the white liberal gentry.

That's a big reason, Democratic political analyst David Shor says, for Democrats having lost about 2% of support among African Americans. Hispanic support dropped by 8% to 9%.

Some of it was all that socialism talk by the radicals. Cubans, Colombians and Venezuelans don't care for socialism. But there was more.

"The (strikingly large) decline in Hispanic support for Democrats," Shor says, "was pretty broad. This isn't just about Cubans in south Florida. It happened in New York and California and Arizona and Texas."


Democrats can hope that Trump continues to favor candidates seriously accused of domestic violence. The estranged wife of Sean Parnell, one of Trump's endorsements, has two protection-from-abuse orders issued against him. Parnell is now running for the Senate in Pennsylvania.

Democratic voters really have to think strategically. That might include raising primary challenges to candidates more interested in their Twitter following than securing real power in Washington. The very democracy could depend on them.

Froma Harrop is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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