Friday, February 5, 2016

A Raging Battle Over the Democrat Party's Future

It's an ideological battle, although I don't think it's as big a deal as all the media people make it out to be.

The Democrats have been lurching leftward since the early Bush administration, especially post-2003 and the Iraq war. The Democrats became the party of defeat, attacking the Iraq war as based on a lie. John Kerry lost in 2004, but Barack Hussein won in 2008, and the party's been moving left ever since. Now with Bernie Sanders, the Democrats are out and out proclaiming their ideological socialism. No doubt some DNC folks aren't pleased with this candor, thinking it might hurt them in 2016, and Hillary's trying to appear progressive, but not too much so. She's hammering on the pragmatic "progressive who gets things done" meme. But it won't matter much. The cat's out of the bag. If a Democrat wins in November it'll be up to the Republicans in Congress to push back against further gains for socialist ideology in this country, and who's optimistic about that? Not too many GOP primary voters, by the looks of things.

In any case, at the Los Angeles Times, "In fight between Clinton and Sanders, a raging battle over Democrats' future":
The Democratic presidential campaign is most obviously a fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It is also a contest over what kind of party Democrats want to have and what level of purity will be required to be part of it.

The party’s leftward swing this year, made obvious by the surge of support for democratic socialist Sanders and his call for political revolution, marks a direct reversal of the party’s shift to the center in the 1990s. That lurch, engineered by Clinton’s husband Bill and his allies, moderated the party after its loss of 5-of-6 presidential campaigns from 1968 through 1988 and ushered in a period of top-of-the-ticket Democratic dominance and, for a time, control of Congress.

Clinton's response to Sanders' strength has been to put forward her own brand of pragmatic liberalism and to insist that her plans are more achievable given Republican strength on Capitol Hill and a deeply-divided country. That is a less-than-satisfying response for many Democrats who want to seize on this campaign to pick a nominee who reflects the party’s more-liberal present and not its moderate past.

Both Sanders and Clinton are riding the impact of increased partisanship and polarization in the country, the same factors that have forced Republicans through internal bloodbaths.

A Gallup survey released earlier this year showed the growth of more ideological wings in both parties. Among Democrats, 45% identified themselves as liberal, up 6 points since 2011 and 16 points since 2000. The change has been driven in large part by a growing minority vote and the increasing youth of the party.

Republicans’ growing pains were the mirror image, with self-identified conservatives growing to 68% of the party, up 6 points since 2000.

The fight over what defines a Democrat will spark repercussions throughout the presidential race and into the general election, for the different answers suggest vastly different paths to the presidency.

Sanders' view is that by drawing enthusiastic support he can expand turnout nationally and in the states to create a mandate for his ideas.

"Democrats win when there is a large voter turnout, when people are excited, when working people, middle-class people and young people are prepared to engage in the political process," the Vermont senator said Thursday.

Clinton portrayed herself as the natural successor to President Obama and someone whose views would find support among both Democrats, independents and moderates who might be put off by Sanders’ inciting call...
Still more.