Is the Party Over for Democrats? (Part 2)

With feuds turning into Civil Wars within both political parties, one has to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for the Democratic Party Establishment.

I feel it’s important to reiterate what I said in the beginning of the first part of this story. By no means am I a political historian, nor have I ever claimed to be a journalist (though for my senior year in high school my contributions to the county paper didn’t go unnoticed). The vaguely political articles I write on Medium are meant to get folks thinking. I mention this upfront because I’m recognizing and acknowledging my limitations when talking and writing about these subjects, while also acknowledging the inherent biases and political motivations behind some of the links being shared via mainstream news. I might not necessarily agree with some of the links, especially from mainstream news and talking head sources, but it is important to acknowledge the narrative being pushed. In other words, this is my perspective on the Democratic Party shit show.

If you didn’t or haven’t read Part 1, which serves as an introduction and looks at the multilayered messaging problems facing the Democratic Party Establishment, you can find it here and at the very end. If you feel like skipping this part too and jumping right into the battles between the factions within the Democratic Party Establishment, again you can read that story here or at the very end as well. If not, continue just below the links to part two.

Part 2 — The Cold War of Progress Leans Forward

The 2016 Primaries clearly emboldened a growing faction within the Democratic Party that took many rank and file loyalists by surprise, partially because this progressive cadre felt like they finally had a voice, thanks to Bernie Sanders. The war of words escalated between the two sides with stinging critiques. Sanders was labeled as a con man and/or way too idealistic by his haters, while Clinton was labeled too establishment, way corrupt, too corrupt, scandal-prone, and, as Jon Stewart once remarked at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics,

“I imagine her to be a very bright woman without the courage of her convictions because I don’t even know what they are.”

What was undeniable was that Bernie Sanders, not unlike Donald Trump, was filling stadiums with enthusiastic hopefuls looking for much needed change. His opponents, notably Clinton, did not seem to be mustering the same excitement. Many perceived Clinton as inauthentic and/or boring by comparison.

However, for a while it looked close. Despite Bernie’s enthusiastic crowds and undeniable Rocky Balboa-esque grassroots resilience, he did not win the Primary. Some dispute as to how or why this happened, which is where part of the friction from within lies.

Some perceived Hillary Clinton’s win as a long-overdue nomination, while others accused the DNC of unfavorably tipping the scales to help Clinton secure what some mocked as a coronation as Zach Haller shares in his piece.

What did not help was the fact that the DNC appeared to employ questionable tactics in the run up to Hillary Clinton’s primary win.

The friction has continued, perhaps culminating in an ongoing court battle aimed at possibly settling, or at the very least, highlighting a certain amount of what appears to be corruption within the Democratic Party Establishment System. Oddly enough, some Clinton supporters also attempted to stage a battle in courts with a few supporters of Sanders, but it didn’t exactly go well.

Sanders, the self professed Democratic-Socialist had already rubbed Democratic Party loyalists the wrong way even before his improbable run and newfound media spotlight. At first he was practically considered just a joke/fluke candidate, not unlike our current President. Also, like our current president, he opened himself (and his movement/political agenda) up to greater scrutiny. Sometimes, his massive rallies were overshadowed by enthusiastic, yet undesirable supporters that weren’t really listening to his progressive message, as Casey Quinlan points out in her Medium piece,

However, that unfazed diehard Sanders supporters that had no plans voting for Hillary regardless of primary outcome. The crux of this reasoning seemed to be that while Trump is a buffoon, at least he’s not tied to all the big money special interest groups and didn’t give paid lectures for or on behalf of big banks. This fraternization with big banks has and continues to be a big sticking point between the left and the Democratic Party Establishment, The New Yorker describes in an article.

Nevertheless, the entitled Bernie Bros problem sometimes overshadowed and diminished the Bernie and the left’s message. Others, like Susan Bordo feel like much of the media, before and after the 2016 presidential election have and continue to play a role in the “Resentment of the woman who refuses to make herself smaller than she is,” as she writes in her article,

This continues to cause Democratic Party loyalists to saddle swathes of Sanders supporters and other so-called progressives (many of whom are to an extent sympathetic to some Democratic Party causes) with misogynistic labels partially because of this “Bernie of Bust” attitude, which clearly annoyed and frightened loyalists who perhaps expected anyone with a modicum of support for Democrats, or Democratic causes, to simply fall in line. Some did, much to the chagrin of of devoted Sanders supporters.

But after losing the primaries, much to the chagrin of party loyalists, his star power did not fade, and his enthusiastic supporters were and have been continuously assailed as hurting he Democratic Party. Even after the 2016 Presidential Election, barbs are still being tossed between progressives and loyalists. Some loyalists suggest that the progressive movement is trying to silence Clinton supporters as a way to further the white populist narrative, as Lisa Solod of “Dame” writes,

“But the fact remains that the 3 million more people who voted for her over Trump and woke up aghast on November 9, immediately understood it was myriad slights, small and large, perpetrated by the (mostly) white male journo/political power base in the U.S. that had led to her defeat. We well understood the internecine the reasons she lost.”

Solod’s words briefly touch on the wider impasse between the two sides. After Clinton’s profound and shocking loss, not to mention the continued decimation of the Democratic Party at the polls, much soul searching did and continues to happen as the party struggles to find a consistent and also moving voice. Part of this existential crisis appears to be at an impasse, and involves discussions about if the party should should shift more to the left, or not. Some are saying due to the success of Bernie Sanders (and the polls showing he’d beat Trump), the party is naturally shifting toward an even more left-leaning direction. Yet, for others, leaning left seems far too polarizing and are hoping for a more pragmatic and centered approach. The tricky part is, both sides appear at an impasse, neither wanting to budge from their political philosophies. For further proof of the burgeoning cold war between Democrats, take a read at these two articles.

This continued poking has stirred a hornets nest on both sides. The butting heads of these two factions continue to cause thunder and fireworks, causing two distinct battles to break out within the not-so-unified Democratic Party. Granted, much like Trump, some feel Hillary Clinton isn’t helping to create party unity either, making it hard for party loyalists to defend her perceptions of why she lost to Donald Trump, and also her attempts to reenter the spot light. At the same time, many are saying Sanders isn’t helping create unity either as some feel as though he and his supporters are trying to destroy the Democratic Party.

Essentially, both sides are accusing the other of ruining the Democratic Party in some form. But there are two major battles being waged between each faction.

Below you can click through to the Part 3 finale. Or if you feel like going back through Part 1, that’s here too.

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Bryce Post

Bryce Post

is a writer that always seems to be working on at least five different projects while attempting to share musings and revelations on a regular-ish basis.