New York Post column: Democrats are still rushing to extremes

You would think that after losing over 1,000 elected positions at the federal, state and local levels since 2010, Democratic Party leaders — now out of power in the White House and both houses of Congress — might be hard at work crafting a message that would broaden the party’s appeal and move away from the conspiracy-addled angry radicalism of its base.

You would be wrong.

Jolted by Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss to Donald Trump, Democrats and progressives have retreated to an alternate reality. In this safe space that they’ve created for themselves, Clinton didn’t lose so much as the Russians won.

Red Mania hasn’t been confined to the fringe, but is being promoted by Democratic representatives, including Maxine Waters and Ted Lieu.

Waters took it so far as to suggest on MSNBC that GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, is leaving Congress because of his “connections” to “what is going on in the Ukraine and perhaps in Russia itself.”

Their reward for pushing this craziness? Becoming national heroes to the Democratic faithful.

Then there’s the old Obama crowd: Former National Security Council spokesman and CIA analyst Ned Price, along with senior Obama adviser Eric Schultz, publicly pushed the theory that Chaffetz resigned because the Russians were blackmailing him with compromising information about his personal life.

They aren’t the only Democrats who give big bear hugs to lefty fanatics. Some go further than that and actively promote extremists.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand recently praised Linda Sarsour in Time magazine and on Twitter. Sarsour, in addition to being a leader in the Women’s March movement, is a relentless anti-Zionist, a promoter of anti-Semitic violence — and a key vote-getter for Mayor de Blasio.

To Gillibrand, however, Sarsour is one of the “suffragists of our time.”

Sarsour praises terrorists like Rasmea Odeh, convicted in Israel of murdering Hebrew University students in 1969 and of planning an attack on the British Consulate. The Zionist Organization of America called on Gillibrand to rescind her high praise of New York’s Queen of Hate, as Lahav Harkov correctly called her in these pages recently. That request has been met, so far, with silence.

Gillibrand isn’t the only Democrat infatuated with Sarsour’s radicalism. While most prominent Democrats look the other way, de Blasio chose to reward and encourage Sarsour by giving her a $500,000 grant from New York City.

The city itself also is funding her hate by having her deliver the commencement address to this year’s graduates of CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health Policy, an event at which First Lady Chirlane McCray will receive an honorary doctorate. Of course, de Blasio and other local leaders stand firmly behind the invitation.

Then there’s Chuck Schumer. The Democratic Senate minority leader boosted, fought for and praised Rep. Keith Ellison in his bid to be DNC chair. When news surfaced of Ellison’s past anti-Semitic remarks and defense of Louis Farrakhan, the founder of the Nation of Islam and unabashed anti-Semite, Schumer leapt to his defense and kept lobbying Democratic National Committee members to support him.

Ellison lost the DNC race but is now serving as Chairman Tom Perez’s No. 2.

And the behavior of Dem leaders only encourages the haters to come out of the woodwork. Last week, Democrats were silent when Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a Democratic candidate for City Council, tweeted that his campaign message is that he is “against Jewish landlords.” When challenged, he doubled down and said he’s only against the “greedy” Jews, but not the “good Jews.”

Going further, Lopez-Pierre shared his list of “greedy Jewish landlords” (it featured both non-landlords and non-Jews alike).

De Blasio finally condemned Lopez-Pierre on Wednesday, but Schumer, de Blasio and Charlie Rangel have all posed with him on multiple occasions. Lopez-Pierre plans to endorse de Blasio next month.

Democrats promote the Ellisons, the Sarsours, the Lieus, the Waterses and other such figures at their peril and at a time when 72 percent of Americans think Democrats don’t understand their concerns. To win with voters other than their rabid base, Democrats will need to make clear that Linda Sarsour and others like her don’t represent them, and their views run counter to the American values these politicians profess.

The Democratic Party is being dragged into its fringe fever swamps while its leaders sit back and enjoy the ride.

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