I’m going to show my age today and mention a name many of my readers will not know: Andrew Dice Clay. The “Diceman,” as he was known, was the most obnoxious, chauvinist comedian ever, and was ridiculously popular for several years. Andrew Dice Clay was the first comedian ever to sell out Madison Square Gardens, two nights in a row. Thirty years ago, Andrew Dice Clay had top-billing movies, record setting albums, and giant TV specials, and then one day, it all ended.
Andrew Dice Clay’s popularity ended exactly the same way, and for exactly the same reason, that the Democrat Party (as we know it) is going to end, and when the Democrats go down the drain, they will collapse at a pace that will make Andrew Dice Clay’s collapse look slow.
To understand why the Democrat Party is on the verge of collapse, we have to look at what made Andrew Dice Clay so popular. We can then contrast The Diceman’s techniques with those of the Democrat Party. After that, we can look at the reasons Andrew Dice Clay’s career imploded, and can see why the Democrat Party is heading in the exact same direction.
Thirty years ago, I was a Junior in High School, and like everyone else, I was a fan of Andrew Dice Clay. I wasn’t one of the people quoting him in the hallways, but I listened to his TV specials and watched his movies. You never knew what Andrew Dice Clay might say, but you knew it would be over the top, and you knew it would be funny.
It turns out that a comedian can use being over the top to make himself or herself funny. There is even a term for this: it’s called ‘Shock Humor’. The theory behind shock humor is that when a comedian shocks the audience with something more outrageous than what they were expecting, they will not know how to react, and will laugh. Shock humor works, and shock humor was at the core of Andrew Dice Clay’s meteoric rise to fame.
The problem Andrew Dice Clay had was that, once he said something outrageous, it stopped being shocking. With a show based on shocking his audience, The Diceman found that he had to continuously push the boundaries further, saying ever more shocking things, to keep the same effect. Like a pilot ‘pushing the envelope’ on an airplane’s capabilities mmin order to win a dogfight, The Diceman continuously ‘pushed the envelope’ on what he could get away with saying on stage. Eventually, The Diceman began to push the envelope beyond the breaking point for some people, while at the same time not pushing it far enough for other people. Andrew Dice Clay both alienated and bored his audience, all at the same time. The shows dried up, the records stopped selling, and his career collapsed.
Interestingly enough, The Diceman is making a bit of a comeback today, but he is doing it by showing his human side. Today’s Andrew Dice Clay is one part a caricature of The Diceman – making fun of himself rather than women – and one part a critically flawed human being, struggling to maintain (or regain) his humanity. The only thing shocking about The Diceman today is how unlike The Diceman Andrew Dice Clay has become.
The Democrat Party is not funny, and they do not use shock comedy. The Democrats use something very similar to shock comedy however, and that thing is outrage. The Democrat Party has positioned itself as the party championing the oppressed, which they do by showing outrage at the oppressor, and by drumming up outrage from their base. This political outrage has the same appeal as does shock comedy: the audience, unsure of how to react, becomes outraged at the very groups the Democrats tell them to be outraged against. The problem the Democrats have is that, just as Andrew Dice Clay had to become ever more shocking to keep his act going, so too the Democrats have to become ever more outrageous to keep drumming up outrage, and they are reaching the point where, in order to keep the base engaged, they have to alienate everyone else.
Steven Pinkner talks about the polarizing nature of leftism when he discusses, what he calls a ‘left pole.’ Pinker’s ‘left pole’ is the extreme point in leftist ideology where all dissent comes from further right, and where any disagreement can be labeled as ‘right wing extremism.’ The anti free speech portion of the Democrat Party is at or near this ‘left pole,’ and the dangerous game of identity politics leftists play to generate outrage, drives the party ever closer to the ‘left pole’ as a group. To make matters worse, the ‘left pole’ moves ever further leftward, with the left championing those who are ‘courageous’ enough (as they put it) to push the envelope even further into politically outrageous places than anyone else had been willing to push it before.
Ami Horowitz played a cute game a few weeks ago, in which he asked liberal college students if they could tell him whether specific quotes came from the Democrat National Committee Official Party Platform, or from the Communist Manifesto. It turns out that today’s Democrat Platform mirrors the Communist Manifesto very closely, which is great for the extreme left of the Democrat Party, but not so great for anyone in the middle. The Democrats have been banking on the middle moving left, and the middle has been moving left for decades, but the Democrat Party is moving left a whole lot faster than the middle, and as a result, today’s democrat leaders are on the verge of alienating the vast majority of the American People, including many of those in their own party.
The Democrats are banking on the American People being too dumb to read, but the vast majority of the people who read the Democrat Platform from 2016 (link at the bottom of that page) will see just how outrageous it is. This puts Democrats in an awkward position in which, to run for the middle (where the votes are), they have to run against their own platform, or at least try to make the outrageous parts of their platform sound less extreme than those parts are. They do this primarily by not talking about their platform, but by focusing almost entirely on attacking President Trump, and by linking other Republicans to Trump. The Democrats would scare the hell out of the public if they told the public what they want the public to vote for, so they focus instead on what to vote against.
People are driven primarily by reason or emotion, but not both. Those who are driven primarily by reason tend to see the world as an imperfect place where the best we can do is to make the best trade-offs possible. Such people are satisfied with imperfect outcomes, based on the understanding that we live in an imperfect world. Perfection is not possible. Those who are driven primarily by emotion tend to see all imperfection as an outrage that must be corrected. To these people, trade-offs are heartless and vile. Conservatives hope that people will become less idealistic, and more rational, as they become older and more experienced, but our colleges are getting better and better at driving idealism ever deeper into the human psyche, such that students have an ever stronger emotional stake in their ideological positions. From there, professors teach our youth to argue against fact instead of in favor of it.
We all, of course, have both reason and emotion, and though most people are driven more by one than the other, we are all driven at least a little by both. The left plays a very dangerous game when they teach our young to use their intelligence to argue reason away, rather than forwarding it, but the day will come (soon) when the left’s outrageous outrage stretches so thin that for the vast majority of America it will be hopelessly broken, and when that day comes, the Democrat Party, as we know it today, will be as tired and lifeless as an old Andrew Dice Clay joke.
The left is betting that they will ride a wave of anti-Trump hatred into a congressional victory in Pennsylvania today. The polls say that this is likely, but the victory might be short lived, for the Democrat (Connor Lamb) is more conservative than are many Republicans, and is running against a train wreck of a Republican campaign. In the meantime, the Democrats are learning that they can beat Republicans only by turning their backs on their own party leadership, and against the increasingly leftward ideology that drives their base. This might win today in Pennsylvania, but will it win in national elections? My guess is not. I think Barrack Obama’s administration represented the high-water mark for modern progressivism, and that sometime before 2020, the entire Democrat Party, as we know it, will be no more.