Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Democratic Party: Left, Right and Center

My School Scope WAVE column didn't make deadline for last week but here it is anyway.

The Democratic Party: Left, Right and Center
By Norm Scott

Recent articles in journals and the mainstream press ( have been addressing the splits between a chunk of the Democratic Party base and the leadership of the party. For those optimistic about making headway against the agendas of the Republicans and Trump – if someone can figure out exactly what the president’s (gag) agenda really is --- these are dangerous warning signs of  even more internal conflict to come.

The wings of the party have been simplified by terming them as the Bernie and Clinton wings. Even if Hillary and Bill are not around, their wing of practical centrists – do what you have to do, say what you have to say – to win elections – seemed to be discredited by the Trump victory. But, “No”, they argue. “We really did win since we got more votes (as Gore did in 2000), Russia hacked and Comey did his damage and if we eliminate these factors we are back in the saddle.”

Well, not exactly. Without all the other stuff, the Dems still have very little power in the states, which are overwhelmingly controlled by Republicans, who can use their power at the state level to gerrymander all over the place while also engaging in voter suppression. Astoundingly, even the conservative leaning Supreme Court has been smacking down the North Carolina laws, though I’m sure the North Carolina legislature will work them out to their advantage in time for the next election round.

So something must not be registering when so many people have deserted the party by voting for Trump or not voting at all or voting third party. The Bernie wing – the resisters – are not as practical as the Clinton wing (only challenge where you have a chance to win, don’t be too left, etc.) They want to fight on the beaches and anywhere else where there can be a battle. Their theory is that even if you know you will lose in a very red state or district, being in contention with a progressive platform will win some people over, whereas not being there at all, leaves the field to one ideology.

A recent battle in Wyoming where a Trumpy won, although by a much lower margin than expected, brought this battle to the fore. The Democratic National Committee(DNC) refused to fund what they viewed as a lost cost, while the Bernie wing tried to make up for it with enthusiasm. “What was accomplished,” ask the practical wing? To my mind, the Bernies were able to cut into the red state dominance and this is a long war. Mainstream Democrats are always looking for short term victories. What they are doing now is identifying the fuzzy red state districts where they feel they have a shot, not engage in hand to hand combat everywhere. That is going on in the battle in the Atlanta suburbs, where a centrist Democrat (or what used to be the now extinct moderate Republican) is running on a moderate platform – basically Obama light. No single payer health care on his agenda.

And that seems to be the defining issue between the Bernie and Hillary wings. How bold can you dare to be?

Last weekend a whole batch of people I know headed to Chicago for the THE PEOPLE’S SUMMIT: BUILDING THE POLITICAL REVOLUTION, where the Bernie wing of the party – potentially the basis of a new party. Think of what Emmanual Macron did in France. In one year he created an entirely new party and undermined the traditional right and left. But he did it from the center – he might be viewed as being in the Clinton/Obama wing and in fact Obama has a bromance with him.

On the other hand, in the recent election in England, the Labor Party, led by the far left Jeremy Corbyn who some say make Bernie look like a centrist, made a massive comeback when it was predicted they would be headed for oblivion.

My sentiment is with the Bernie people and believe his message resonated with a lot of people, including many who ended up voting for Trump. What is missing from the Democrats, no matter what wing you are in, are a deep bench of dynamic potential candidates, though word is that is beginning to happen at the grassroots level.

This is why my favorite two hobbies are sports and politics and I spend my days listening to either WFAN or NPR. Any chance Aaron Judge would run on the Democratic ticket?

Norm indulges his fantasies at

1 comment:

  1. The Democratic Party lacks a message. Hillary is out there foaming at the mouth. Losing twice has not brought her to her senses. Opposing Trump despite being a full time job does not a party build. Health care and free college for all are not happening folks. I refuse to contribute one more cent to the DNC. They are lost in the wilderness. Leadership is required to bring us to the Promised Land.

    Abigail Shure


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