Sunday, June 11, 2017

Democrats See Growing Split Between Party and Base

With Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party basically coming out the winner in Britain's general election, we saw all kinds of quick hot takes about how Democrats should have nominated Bernie Sanders (at least on Twitter).

I also saw someone (I've forgotten who) arguing that the populist/nationalist wave has crested (at 538?). I guess that means hardcore socialists are about to come to power, right?

Actually, no. The fact is Corbyn's still the leader of the shadow cabinet. We'll see if we have another election in Britain this year, as some have argued, but in the U.S. it's well over a year until the congressional midterms. A lot can happen in the meanwhile. And for 2020? Won't Bernie be pushing 80 by then? The Democrats need to deepen the bench. Sheesh.

In any case, at the New York Times, "Democrats in Split-Screen: The Base Wants It All. The Party Wants to Win":

DUNWOODY, Ga. — Democrats are facing an open breach between the demands of their political base and the strict limits of their power, as liberal activists dream of transforming the health care system and impeaching President Trump, while candidates in hard-fought elections ask wary independent voters merely for a fresh chance at governing.

The growing tension between the party’s ascendant militant wing and Democrats in conservative-leaning terrain, where the party must compete to win power in Congress, was on vivid, split-screen display over the weekend: in Chicago, where Senator Bernie Sanders led a revival-style meeting of his progressive devotees, and in Atlanta, where Democrats are spending colossal sums of money in hopes of seizing a traditionally Republican congressional district.

It may be essential for Democrats to reconcile the party’s two clashing impulses if they are to retake the House of Representatives in 2018. In a promising political environment, a drawn-out struggle over Democratic strategy and ideology could spill into primary elections and disrupt the party’s path to a majority.

On the one hand, progressives are more emboldened than they have been in decades, galvanized by Mr. Sanders’s unexpected successes in 2016 and empowered by the surge of grass-roots energy dedicated to confronting an unpopular president and pushing the party leftward.

Mr. Sanders rallied his youthful, often-raucous coalition Saturday night at a gathering named the “People’s Summit,” where supporters hailed him in worshipful language. One Colorado couple hauled a small banner through the hangar-size McCormick Place, pleading with Mr. Sanders, a still-independent Vermont senator, to create a new “People’s Party.”

Mr. Sanders and many attendees enthused over the surprise showing of the British Labour Party, under the left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn, in last week’s election. Democrats can electrify voters, they warned, only by embracing the Sanders agenda of universal health care, free college tuition and full employment.

Speaking for just under an hour, Mr. Sanders — who was met with chants of “Bernie, Bernie” and pleas of “2020!” — crowed that while he may have lost the 2016 primary, “we have won the battle of ideas and we are continuing to win that battle.”

He assailed President Trump in blistering terms, but earned some of his loudest cheers for attacking the party whose nomination he sought last year. “The current model and the current strategy of the Democratic Party is an absolute failure,” Mr. Sanders said to booming applause, arguing that Democrats need “fundamental change.”

“The Democratic Party must finally understand which side it is on,” he said.

Yet the party’s elected leaders, and many of its candidates, are far more dispassionate, sharing a cold-eyed recognition of the need to scrounge for votes in forbidding precincts...

It's all baloney.

It's going to take a massive wave election in 2018 to topple the Republican majority in Congress, especially in the House.

And it's about 18 months until the 2018 midterms. Dems should curb their enthusiasm a little, heh.

Still more.