A Warning to My Fellow Democrats

Gabrielle D’Arcy
4 min readJan 24, 2022

The Democrats call a lot of things racist, and now we can add the filibuster to that list. Abolishing the filibuster has become the cause de celebre for Democrats, with everyone from Rashida Tlaib to Nancy Pelosi endorsing it. President Biden has even gone so far as to label any opposition to his voting agenda “Jim Crow 2.0.” But as many commentators were quick to note, this hasn’t always been the Democrats’ stance: when the only Black Republican in Congress, Sen. Tim Scott, wrote a comprehensive and far-reaching criminal justice reform bill aimed at reducing police brutality against African-Americans, the Democrats used the filibuster to stop it. Apparently, it’s not Jim Crow when the Democrats use it against Black people.

It also wasn’t Jim Crow when the Democrats successfully filibustered Republican abortion bans, such as the time Sen. Wendy Davis famously spoke for thirteen hours to prevent abortion restrictions from taking effect in Texas. Slogans like, “I stand with Texas women — and I won’t sit down!” became nationwide feminist rallying cries, and the pink sneakers Sen. Davis wore with her pant suit for the duration of her filibuster speech became iconic among pro-choice activists. The Democrats celebrated this use of the filibuster as a win and a testament to female politicians’ power.

But in recent weeks, the Democrats — including some of the most visible abortion rights groups like NARAL and Emily’s List — have taken a sharp and sudden turn away from that stance, joining in the calls to abolish the filibuster that they’ve long employed. Senators who oppose abolishing the filibuster, such as Krysten Sinema, are now swiftly labeled “anti-democratic” by left-wing commentators. Democratic figures like Elizabeth Warren have threatened to “primary” Democrats who want the filibuster to remain, and she claims that the filibuster has “deep roots in racism” — even though she was one of many Democrats to vote against Sen. Scott’s police reform bill.

These debates come at a convenient time for Democrats, because by dominating the news cycle, they’ve diverted at least some attention from one of the Democrats’ most spectacular legislative failures to date: school closures. Across the country, parents are still scrambling for childcare as schools open and close unpredictably, thanks to teacher walk-outs. Despite the WHO saying that school closures are unnecessary, parents who express concern about or opposition to these policies are slammed by left-wing media and voters alike for expecting teachers to “put their lives on the line” and provide “free daycare.” Notably, these debates occur almost exclusively in blue cities where the teachers are largely vaccinated.

So let’s recap: the Democrats like the filibuster when they’re using it against Black senators’ police reform bills, but also hate it because it’s Jim Crow. They want to mandate vaccines for everyone, but also don’t trust the vaccine to protect teachers.

With all the flip-flopping on rhetoric and policy, many Americans are left wondering: what do the Democrats actually stand for?

I’m a lifelong Democrat, and I’m one of many who has been sounding the alarm since 2016 that our party is headed for disaster. When Hillary Clinton made her now-infamous “deplorables” comment, it provided insight into what large swathes of this country already knew: that the Democrats’ condescension towards the working class had morphed into cold, blatant hatred.

Like so many others, I try to discuss these issues with my fellow liberals in the hopes that our party will change course and take the steps needed to win elections. But when we point out the Democrats’ very real messaging problem, we’re dismissed or accused of “punching left.” No matter how many polls and Democratic strategists warn that we’re losing suburban women and Asian-Americans and Hispanics and the working poor, the Democrats take no steps to fix these potentially catastrophic problems.

The problems with Democratic rhetoric don’t stop there. Democratic politicians across the country make big promises about healthcare, but so far, those policies have yet to materialize. They talk a good game about “stopping Asian hate,” but when Asian women are murdered because of left-wing “decarceration” policies that see violent criminals released from jail before trial, they have little to offer but vague platitudes about racism. They keep promising student debt forgiveness, even though 65% of Americans don’t have a college degree. It’s hard to argue that you’re the party of the working class when you want to make sixty-year-old plumbers pay for a twenty-two-year-old’s Bachelor’s in anthropology.

But the real, fundamental problem with the Democrats’ messaging is this: they blame voters for their failures. Headlines like “You Damn Karens Are Killing America” place the blame for America’s woes on white women. Strategists on CNN complain that the Democrats’ issue is “not bad leaders,” but “bad followers.”Influential media figures proclaim that America “loves white supremacy” every time a Republican wins anywhere. When the Democrats lose, it’s the fault of racism, white people, the police, poor people — never the Democrats themselves.

It’s time for the Democrats to ask themselves what kind of party they want to be. Do they want to be the party of divisive and politically toxic rhetoric that accuses millions of voters of being racist? Do they want to be the party of unsafe subways and riots and school closures? Or do they want to be the party that actually wins elections? Because it’s becoming increasingly clear that they cannot be both.