In fact, the Democratic convention was really a convention of two different parties. One of these is a party of woke activists entirely concerned about race, sexuality, and environmentalism. Traditionally major issues such as jobs and national security are at most a footnote to the more pressing issues of identity politics and climate change. But then there is the other Democratic party — or rather, the other Republican party. For the most astonishing thing about this convention was that half of it seemed to be handed over to liberal Republicans of yesteryear. This doesn’t feel like the party that almost nominated Bernie Sanders, it feels like the party of Nelson Rockefeller.
It is now the party of former congresswoman Susan Molinari and former governor Christine Todd Whitman, two ex-Republicans whose pro-abortion viewers were even out of place in the GOP. This Rockefeller Republicanism could be tough on crime; hawkish in foreign policy; serve the affluent well (Molinari eventually became a tech lobbyist); and be socially liberal, all while maintaining a semblance of ‘traditional family values’ and religious devotion. It is not dissimilar from what the likes of Bill Clinton turned the Democratic party into, and it’s this Rockefeller-Clintonite party that Joe Biden naturally belongs to. Biden is a white (Irish-ish) Catholic, but pro-choice and same-sex marriage, and his record has until now been somewhat hawkish and tough on crime. Colin Powell’s presence at the Democratic-Republican convention was a haunting reminder of Joe Biden’s role in the authorization of the Iraq War.