What’s a Traditional Democrat to Do When His Party Has Been Hijacked by Leftist Extremists?



By: Dr. Charles Ormsby – June, 2012

You’ve probably heard of “Conservative Democrats.” Lately they have been as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Locally, I viewed the late Senator Steve Baddour (still breathing, but no longer a state senator) as a Conservative Democrat. While we had a modest overlap of views, we certainly differed on many issues. That being said, Senator Baddour operated within the realm of common sense. He was someone with whom one could conduct a rational discussion of public policy issues. When discussing education policy, he realized that the interests of students did not always align with the interests of the teachers unions. He understood that increasing taxes and regulations had a dampening effect on the economy and he appreciated that individual freedom was a critical characteristic of the American experience, not just some outdated concept to be sacrificed to a “progressive” (read reactionary) legislative initiative.

With little notice and less real explanation, Baddour recently announced his resignation from the Massachusetts Senate. The Senate will miss him, including the few Republicans who still reside there. Had the Senate been full of Baddours, we would be a substantially freer and more prosperous state. I hope, now that he has left the Senate, that Baddour will speak up for a more liberal, i.e., freedom-oriented, future for Massachusetts and the nation.

Nationally, Democrat Party leaders have done everything in their power to expunge any party members harboring even a tinge of conservative thinking. Of course, they embrace them when the alternative is anyone with even more conservative views — whether another Democrat or a Republican — but whenever they are able to replace them with a more progressive leftist, they have done so in a heartbeat.

I’ve been politically conscious since the very late 1950s. In high school I routinely read the U.S. News and World Report and especially enjoyed the editorials printed on the inside back cover. David Lawrence, who kept a portrait of FDR prominently displayed in his office, authored most of those editorials. Lawrence cut his journalistic teeth as a close friend of our first progressive president, Woodrow Wilson. Here is the U.S. News and World Report description of Lawrence’s early career:

“David Lawrence started his career as a student at Princeton University when he was a campus correspondent for the Associated Press and Woodrow Wilson was the college’s president. When Wilson ran for president of the United States, Lawrence followed him on the campaign trail, then chronicled his presidency as a Washington correspondent for AP and later for the New York Evening Post. So close was Lawrence to the president that he was often derided as Wilson’s ‘spokesman.’ Industrialist Henry Ford, in one of his notorious anti-Semitic screeds, called Jewish journalist David Lawrence, Wilson’s ‘unofficial mouthpiece’ and claimed he had the ‘run of the White House offices.’ ”

Despite his early exposure to the progressive ideology and his respect for FDR, Lawrence became a prominent conservative spokesman. In those days, it was common to disagree with others while respecting their good intentions.

In 1960 I watched the Democrat convention on TV. I decided I really liked John Kennedy and I especially appreciated his support for a strong foreign policy. That convention was followed by the Republican convention, at which point I waivered and finally decided Nixon was the better choice. Regardless of the outcome, I respected both candidates and felt no antipathy towards President Kennedy. His inaugural address was worthy of the support of all Americans and I think he deserves credit, along with Martin Luther King, for helping America begin the transition to a largely unsegregated and anti-discriminatory society. His foreign policy, despite the debacle of the Bay of Pigs invasion, was well-intended based on an honest assessment of America’s interests. All in all, most Americans could rally around their president even if they had a different political affiliation.

Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. What has happened?

The Democrat Party has swerved hard left, while the Republican Party has largely retained its former spectrum of ideological positions, possibly with a more philosophically consistent and committed set of core conservatives (more on this later).

By expunging, whenever possible, its more conservative members, the Democrat Party has moved further and further towards a consistently progressive-socialist-communist-fascist ideology. An ideology that, if made explicit, I believe most Democrats would reject.

As it drifted left, the Democrat Party was often described as Liberal, but of course it was the exactly the opposite. Liberalism describes a political philosophy that champions individual freedom and opposes government interference in the private affairs (including economic affairs) of individuals. The Democrat Party and its current embrace of progressive-socialist-communist-fascist ideology uniformly supports such interference.

If you are a traditional Democrat, you might be put off by the use of the terms “socialist, communist, and fascist” (“progressive” still retains a wholesome image to many) and view use of these terms as name calling. But it isn’t. It merely reflects the true, underlying ideology of those who believe government should rule the economy and dictate the choices that individuals must make.

Are Democrat leaders the equivalent of Stalin, Mao, or Hitler? Of course not. I’m sure they have no desire to commit the horrors of those regimes, but that does not mean there is not an underlying overlap of their political philosophies. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and I believe most Democrats, including much of their party’s leadership, are operating with good intentions.

But Hell is the destination nevertheless. That is where the current Democrat leadership is dragging us. And, unless the good folks who populate the Democrat party realize the radical shift towards these evil philosophies and help pull their party back from the abyss, our republic and our liberties are in grave danger.

As the Democrat Party shifted left, the political philosophy of the core conservatives in the Republican Party slowly matured. It was a messy migration that went through many fits and starts. It was influenced by: Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative, one of my early influences; Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, and her philosophical works; the Austrian School of Economics, especially Bastiat, Say, Menger, Boehm-Bawerk, Von Mises, Hayek, Hazlitt, and Rothbard; the Chicago School of Economics, especially Milton Friedman; and the libertarian movement, among many others.

Nothing in politics is pure and simple, nor is it ever free of contradictions. That being said, this core philosophy, based on individual liberty, property rights, free markets, and limited government, now represents an influential segment of the Republican Party and Tea Party movement.

This is the major philosophical change in the Republican Party since 1960. While the spectrum of political opinion in the party has not shifted radically, the core philosophy has matured and become better grounded.

The choice between the Republicans and Democrats is now philosophically clearer than it has been for a long time. Traditional Democrats, the Kennedy and Clinton Democrats, and even old-timers clinging to FDR’s memories, must ask themselves if they and their grandchildren are better off with a hard-left, totalitarian philosophy ruling America or if a more freedom-oriented philosophy isn’t a better choice.

The political polarization we experience today has resulted from the Democrat embrace of a far-left, totalitarian political philosophy and the Republican re-discovery of the philosophic underpinnings of liberty. The American people have not fully recognized or understood this political divergence … but they are getting there.

I hope the many traditional Democrats will join us in this re-embrace of liberty.

I for one will welcome them with open arms. You should too.

Dr. Charles Ormsby

Dr. Charles Ormsby

Dr. Charles Ormsby served two terms on the North Andover School Committee, co-founded of the North Andover Taxpayers Association, is a a co-founder of and columnist for The Valley Patriot, broadcasts weekly opinion pieces for WCAP (980 AM) in Lowell, and is a faculty member in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Dr. Ormsby is a graduate of Cornell and has a doctorate degree from MIT. You can email him at

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2 Responses to What’s a Traditional Democrat to Do When His Party Has Been Hijacked by Leftist Extremists?

  1. Joe Patterson Reply

    November 9, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    Sir, you have hit the nail on the head. I would suppose I’d be called “Republican” by many, but my true political beliefs are much more Libertarian and Constitutionalist leaning – much more so. I do feel very aligned with the current Republican Party as I feel they are what many would call “Neo-Cons”. They don’t stand on ground that I want to be part of. How I came about your article was a Google search of “Progressives have hijacked the Democrat Party”. My father is an old-school Democrat, or he used to lean that way. He now (he is 80 years old) understands that the Democrat party is NOT the party of his younger days. Frankly, he says, “I think both of the parties are no good sons-of-bitches”. Sadly, I agree with that philosophy. But what I am most troubled by is the takeover of the Democrat party by “progressives” and I believe these “progressives” to be masters of psychology, sales, and marketing. They are masters at taking a word such as progressive, which sounds good, and after all, who doesn’t want “progress”. Well, the progress they stand for is what you call out in your posting: it is extreme leftist philosophy, Marxism, hardcore socialism, or any of the many other left-wing “isms”. I feel these people are an extreme threat to our nation, to our liberties, and to our economic and social freedom. These are very dangerous people indeed and they have mastered selling their philosophy of destruction as “moving America forward”, and “restructuring America into a more modern society”. Well, what they call moving forward, change, and progression, I call moving backward, if not moving into very dangerous territory of fascism, communism, and authoritarianism. Both parties cater to an Oligarchy. Behind closed doors they seemed highly aligned toward destruction of our Republic and common goals toward a globalist scientific dictatorship where only they have the intelligence and enlightenment to make decisions for us. We are not so ignorant as perhaps they believe. I’m an engineer – electronics. I hold B.Sc., M.Sc., and I’m trying to complete my Ph.D., although a recent horrific medical diagnosis of my 34 year old wife of paranoid schizophrenia has put my life on hold. I’m having a hard enough time holding my family together much less finish writing my dissertation, and taking four classes to finish up. I have a young son, aged four, which makes it even more difficult. I also have my own chronic disorders where I developed “fibromyalgia” after being exposed to about a dozen species of mold in an old building at my workplace. Several others ended up in the same condition I am in, and my brother who was in the building working for a short while just informed me they were tearing it down. This means that either so many people were sickened, or that a few died from the exposure that they made the decision to take the building down. I work for the U.S. Army as a civilian and I happen to know that this is how they do things. When enough people are sickened, lives destroyed, or die from a “sick” building they will finally tear it down. But I digress. Or perhaps not because that shows how our government operates. The knowingly put people in a building that was known dangerous but callously and carelessly did so without any respect for the human beings that would be working in it. Frankly, working in that building for about a year has destroyed my health and my life.

    My point of writing today is that I wasn’t sure that there were many or any Democrats that understood that their party has now swung so far left that it doubtfully could go any further without the current president deciding that this work was too important to allow another person to be elected into office and that he must stay to “save America” from people like me, and you perhaps!

    Well, I hope that you can convince more Democrats that you know that the direction they are taking their party in is a very dangerous one. I know I’m trying to convince my Republican friends and family that they too are on the wrong path by any measure. It has been a fairly easy job over the past 10 years or so to convince them that both parties are taking America straight to hell. To hell with the citizenry so long as they and their buddies can continue to siphon off the wealth of the bottom 99.9 percent to the top 0.1 percent. It’s pornographic what politicians have done to our country in the past 15 years. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I have a great amount of fear for the next few years and I have even more fear for my young son. What have we left him and his generation? 17 or 18 trillion in debt? Kick that can down the road. I don’t see any way America can survive this and I fully expect a total economic meltdown and America to be unrecognizable by the time my son is a teenager.

    Thanks for the good read, and maybe we can pull through this. I hope it doesn’t come to full on collapse or full on civil war or revolution, but I fear that’s exactly where we are headed.

    Joe Patterson

  2. Catherine Reply

    November 13, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    By 1960, the Democrat Party (DP) had already gone pretty far left; farther than most folks realize. Yet there are items the DP stood for then that would get anyone tossed out of the DP wholesale for promoting, today. Following are a couple of snippets from the Democrat Party official 1960 platform (easily found online).

    Snippet 1: To the rulers of the Communist World: We confidently accept your challenge to competition in every field of human effort.

    We recognize this contest as one between two radically different approaches to the meaning of life—our open society which places its highest value upon individual dignity, and your closed society in which the rights of men are sacrificed to the state.

    We believe your Communist ideology to be sterile, unsound, and doomed to failure. We believe that your children will reject the intellectual prison in which you seek to confine them, and that ultimately they will choose the eternal principles of freedom.

    Snippet 2: The new Democratic Administration will confidently proceed to unshackle American enterprise and to free American labor, industrial leadership, and capital, to create an abundance that will outstrip any other system.

    Free competitive enterprise is the most creative and productive form of economic order that the world has seen.

    The DP today certainly does NOT place value on individual dignity; in every instance the needs of individuals are to be sacrificed to the state.

    The DP today has tied American enterprise down in stiflingly heavy layers of shackles – and as a result, the economy stagnates.

    BOTH parties engage in crony capitalism that enriches the rulers and their nepots at the expense of the people they are sworn to serve, and the Constitution they are sworn to protect.

    The populace at large knows something isn’t right. The DP wants more power in the hands of the state, to “fix” the various disasters government has created. The RP wants the same; just a little more slowly and with a slightly different set of intermediate goals.

    The source of the problem is that WE, the people who established the federal government, no longer know what its proper position is. It hasn’t been taught in schools in over a hundred years (and that was on purpose!). It is necessary to start with ourselves. The place is with the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

    We CAN fix the mess we are in – but it has to start with US, and it is a generational battle. One – or two – or three – election cycles is not going to make a substantive change. And the last place we will see that change is DC.

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