At times like these, when an issue has pushed American political life to a white heat, some sage often steps forth to restate a truism: All politics is local. Not anymore. Not when Sen.

Elizabeth Warren,
Democrat from Massachusetts, demands that in response to a “national health emergency,” President Biden set up abortion clinics on federal lands (an idea that Rep.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
unfortunately called “the babiest of baby steps”).

For the progressives running the Democratic Party, all politics is national. Whether abortion on demand, gun bans, eliminating fossil fuels, whatever, the view of the Democrats is that the locals (rhymes with yokels) are just along for the ride. Get over it. And if progressives don’t get what they want, they head to the streets.

After the demonstrations and end-of-days statements from elected officials following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs case, one almost forgets that the decision came with a reasoned opinion by Justice

Samuel Alito,
with concurrences by Justices

Brett Kavanaugh

Clarence Thomas.
Days before, Justice Thomas provided a 56-page explanation for affirming the Second Amendment.

But who cares about the details of judicial opinions anymore?

Hillary Clinton’s reductio ad absurdum on Justice Thomas this week: “He’s been a person of grievance for as long as I have known him—resentment, grievance, anger.”

After a draft of Justice Alito’s opinion was leaked, sidewalk protesters besieged his and his colleagues’ homes. A high fence rings the Supreme Court building and won’t come down anytime soon. The fence and the site where rioters breached the Capitol building are D.C.’s newest tourist attractions.

We’ll focus on two statements in Justice Alito’s decision that take the discussion past abortion, if that’s possible.

The opinion quotes from Justice

Antonin Scalia’s
dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). Scalia wrote that Roe v. Wade “destroyed the compromises of the past, rendered compromise impossible for the future, and required the entire issue to be resolved uniformly, at the national level” (my emphasis).

Justice Alito described what Roe did to the country’s social cohesion. It “sparked a national controversy that has embittered our political culture for a half century.” That is, Roe caused America’s long culture wars.

“Culture wars” was a term conservatives coined to describe the post-Roe conflict between traditional beliefs and progressive heterodoxy. The previously nonpolitical Christian right emerged. The left has never worried much about the half century of cultural embitterment described by Justice Alito. It has dismissed the battles over the culture as a political invention or an obsession of right-wing extremists (known more recently as the “deplorables”).

A stark irony sits in the middle of this week’s uproar: Obergefell v. Hodges. That is the court’s 5-4 decision in 2015 recognizing the legal validity of gay marriage. Many Americans disagreed with it. But it was accepted. No fence went up around the court. Scalia’s concerns about the death of compromise looked premature. And it won’t be overturned.

But about a month after Obergefell, the transgender rights issue erupted, focusing—incredible in retrospect—on bathroom access. Despite Obergefell’s welcome modus vivendi, the culture war reignited, extending more recently even to primary education. Which is why Justice Alito could cite a bitter politics at 50 years, and still going.

For progressive Democrats, every waking moment is Armageddon.

Aimee Allison,
founder of She the People, says “the future of the Democratic Party is at stake.” And maybe it is.

Public protests are part of politics in any free country, a First Amendment right repeatedly affirmed by the out-of-favor Supreme Court. But the average American voter must be wondering whether the Democratic Party’s politics is about anything other than these street protests.

The Washington Post reported this week that congressional progressives are upset that Mr. Biden said people should express opposition to the court’s abortion decision by voting in November, which Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush say is inadequate. According to the Post, some Democratic lawmakers and activists “criticize the notion that it is on voters to turn out in November when they say Democrats are unwilling to push boundaries and upend the system in defense of hard-won civil liberties.”

Many Democrats in office today were community organizers. Going into the street to “upend the system” with an apparently unlimited rights agenda is what professional activists do for a living. This now-constant style of bullhorn politics—with its shaken fists and denunciations of normal deliberation and process—is defining the public’s impression of who the Democrats are.

By aligning so closely with street protests and apocalyptic claims about abortion, climate and gender, the Democrats have created a significant perception problem for the party heading into the midterm elections and perhaps for years. With these allies, the party always seem to be living at the edge of civil disturbance. Now they have repudiated the U.S. Supreme Court—in toto.

Come November, I expect most voters will elect not to live in a state of constant political rage and moral chaos.