This debate highlighted the growing and intensifying split in the Democratic party between their centrist and liberal wings.  The centrists, Biden, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg, were not hesitant to attack the liberals, Sanders and Warren, not only for the specifics of their proposals, but also for threatening to take the Democratic party too far to the left.  The liberals gave as good as they got, blasting “corporate” Democrats who only want to make incremental change.

Sanders and Warren – and those desperately seeking to emulate them – are proposing major new policies.  Medicare for all.  Free college. Free child care.  A federal jobs guarantee.  They oppose the trade deals negotiated by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  Elizabeth Warren said she wants all our troops out of the Middle East.

There is a civil war going on for control of the Democratic party, the outcome of which is going to remake our party system for years to come.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The increasingly extreme polarization of the electorate is significantly impacting both major major parties. The Republicans seemed really fragmented in 2016; at the time I thought the party might actually shatter. That did not happen, just the opposite: the Rs have seemingly become more unified (albeit shrunken) in the last three years, but they are doing so at the great cost of consolidating under the banner of the very backwards-looking, demographically doomed, aggrieved white minority identity politics that constitutes the beating heart of Trumpism, which is a disaster (for the Republican Party and for the future of the republic).

    The Dems right now feel a little like the Republicans did in 2016, at some risk of fracturing. But the more likely scenario is that Liz Warren gets the nomination and (maybe, I’m nervous) defeats a wounded Trump in 2020. If so, it’s likely the party will then consolidate behind Warren-style anti-corporate populism, as the Rs have around Trump’s right-wing populist nationalism.

  2. I agree with you. And if the Ds become a Warren/Sanders party chances of a third party emerging go way, way up. Lots of us will be homeless, unwilling to support socialism or racist nationalism.

  3. It is way too early to assume that Elizabeth Warren is going to get the nomination. The post-debate 538/Ipsos polling is informative in this regard.

    On the civil war, I am not seeing how it is any greater an ideological split among Democrats as we had with McGovern and before then Eugene McCarthy. I think the incentives are huge for the center-left to stay with the progressives and vice versa. It also seems that on a lot of key issues you can’t see much of a difference.

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