Saturday, June 30, 2018

Democrats Confront Rebellion in Their Ranks

I just love these "Democrats in disarray" stories.

They make my day, lol.

At NYT, "As Trump Consolidates Power, Democrats Confront a Rebellion in Their Ranks":

WASHINGTON — The pitched battle looming over the Supreme Court, along with a jolt to the Democratic leadership at the ballot box last Tuesday, is threatening to shatter the already fragile architecture of the Democratic Party, as an activist rebellion on the left and a lurch to the right in Washington propels the party toward a moment of extraordinary conflict and forced reinvention.

For Democrats, the transformation could prove as consequential as President Trump’s consolidation of power in his own party and the conservative movement’s tightening grip on the federal government.

“The Trump presidency has changed the dynamics in our party,” said Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, acknowledging that he could not call recall a similar grass-roots uprising since he was elected to Congress in 1982.

The party’s traditional leaders absorbed one blow after another last week. Representative Joseph Crowley, a 20-year incumbent and potential future House speaker, was unseated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Latina political newcomer; Congress made clear it cannot pass even a limited immigration measure for the children of undocumented immigrants; and the Supreme Court handed down rulings that undermined the labor unions that are a backbone of the Democratic Party, while also limiting abortion rights advocacy and upholding President Trump’s travel ban.

And then Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement, effectively handing Mr. Trump the opportunity to cement a conservative majority on the bench.

Mr. Trump’s divisive and at times demagogic presidency has ignited much of the liberal upheaval, driving many left-of-center voters on to a kind of ideological war footing. That has translated into a surge in outsider candidates in the midterms who are pressuring Democratic leaders to support an ambitious liberal platform that includes single-payer health care, free college tuition and the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

But this insurgency, which is both encouraging and alarming Democratic officials, is not merely aimed at pushing the party farther left ideologically. There is a deeper divide over how far to go in confronting Mr. Trump and attempting to thwart his agenda.

At a strategy session held over lunch last week, Senate Democrats settled on a careful strategy for the coming Supreme Court confirmation battle. They would drop their demands that Republicans not appoint a replacement for Mr. Kennedy until after the midterm elections, senators decided, and instead would highlight the threat to abortion rights and health care to try to mobilize opposition to Mr. Trump’s appointment.

“I’m sure many of them believe we have the power to stop this,” Mr. Durbin said of the expectations his party’s enraged base for Democrats blocking the court pick. “But the grim reality is that we have some power but not the power to stop this.”

But a few hours later, on the ground floor of the Hart Senate Office Building, nearly 600 women clad in suffragist white were arrested in a demonstration against the separation of migrant children from their parents — and they said they wanted their senators to do nothing less than lie down on the tracks to stop Mr. Trump’s nomination.

“I want to see this Congress actually follow our lead and resist in a real way,” said Winnie Wong, one of the organizers of the sit-in. “This kind of resistance can create a blockade and stop what will be a fast-track appointment. Imagine a world where you had the chamber do a civil disobedience, what that would that look like.”

With former President Barack Obama evincing little appetite to reclaim a leadership role and no clear 2020 presidential front-runner, Democrats lack a commanding figure to oversee strategy and help bridge the internal fissures in the party...