Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a town hall
The Democratic National Convention was supposed to showcase the Democrats’ unity heading into the November election. The plain truth, however, is that the Democratic Party remains seriously divided — and divided political parties generally don’t win national elections.
There was a time when the party national conventions were filled with intrigue, smoke-filled backrooms and surprising results. Unity was often elusive in our political past. Disunity often spilled out into the media and displayed itself for all to see.
Consider the 1980 Democratic nomination battle between President Jimmy Carter and Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Carter was the perceived moderate in that race and Kennedy wanted to pull his party farther to the left.
For months Carter and Kennedy battled. Kennedy gave a defiant speech at the convention, giving only qualified support to Carter. Looking back, Yahoo News senior political correspondent Jon Ward, wrote that the Carter-Kennedy nomination contest was “the peak of a brutal fight inside the Democratic Party, one so bruising that the party has been careful to avoid a similar experience ever since.”
The divided Democratic Party lost in 1980 to the Republicans and Ronald Reagan.
Divisions like those Democrats are now experiencing usually doom a party come Election Day
Just four years before that, the Republicans had a nomination fight. Reagan played the role of Kennedy and President Gerald Ford was the incumbent seeking the nomination. Reagan wanted to move his party to the right, while Ford was the perceived moderate.
Ford won the nomination by a razor-thin 67 votes. In a magnanimous gesture, Ford allowed Reagan to speak to the convention. Reagan gave one of his signature and transcending speeches that left many Republicans thinking they nominated the wrong candidate. The divided Republican Party lost to the Democrats and Jimmy Carter.
Since then, Democratic and Republican presidential candidates have been chosen by voters in primaries and caucuses before the party conventions are held. Party conventions have evolved into public relations exercises and unity infomercials — especially for the incumbent party. Scripted conventions have become the norm and little is left to chance.
Throughout this year, the Democratic Party has attempted to sell the fiction that it is unified. But the truth is that the only thing that unifies Democrats is their determination to defeat President Trump. Their unity ends there.
Recall that this cycle’s presidential campaign started just after the 2018 midterm elections. Without a unifying candidate, about two dozen Democrats announced their campaigns for president.
The televised Democratic presidential candidate debates became spirited affairs that included Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s brutal takedown of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Also in the debates, Sen. Kamala Harris of California all but accused former Vice President Joe Biden of racism, not long after she said she believed women who made allegations of sexual misconduct against Biden.
Harris held the spotlight and then fell. Warren jumped ahead and then fell. Bloomberg came to the rescue and then he fell. What emerged among all of that was the basic fault-line of the Democratic Party.
Big-government political parties turn sooner or later to semi-socialist policies and then to outright socialist policies. Consider the Labour Party in Britain or the Populares Party under the high-rhetoric and policies of the Gracchi brothers just before the fall of the Roman Republic. The Democrats are doing that today.
Today the socialist wing is the largest faction in the Democratic Party, supporting the policies of Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who openly labels himself a democratic socialist. The faction is so dominant that the Democratic establishment had to broker the party nomination in plain sight right before the Super Tuesday primaries in March, lest Sanders become the nominee. Despite losing that battle, the Sanders-Warren socialist wing all but wrote the Democratic Party platform.
Even so, the second consecutive taking of the nomination away from Sanders has alienated many of his voters and high-profile supporters. That includes Sanders’ campaign co-chair Nina Turner, who said that voting for Joe Biden in November is like eating a bowl of excrement. It also includes a North Carolina Sanders supporter who said about voting for Biden: “I guess if you hold a gun to my head, Biden.”
Meanwhile, far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who has a huge following, was relegated to a short convention speech wherein she didn’t mention Biden’s name.
Other signs of division within the Democratic Party include:
Polling that shows by a huge spread that most Biden voters are voting against Trump, rather than being enthusiastically in support of Biden.
Biden enthusiasm polling that showed him among the lowest ever for a nominee.
The nomination of Kamala Harris for vice president came even though Gallup found that her unfavorable ratings were higher than her favorable ratings throughout her run for president. Harris had the highest unfavorability among potential Democratic vice-presidential candidates as recently as April.
Polling that shows one-third of Black voters are less likely to vote for Biden because of Harris nomination as vice president.
Gallup polling that showed earlier this year: “Republicans overwhelmingly see their party as united (76%); just 24% call it divided. By contrast, Democrats are evenly split between those seeing their own party as united (51%) or divided (49%).”
In the face of all this, it’s not possible to conclude that the Democrats are unified. Divisions like those Democrats are now experiencing usually doom a party come Election Day. Despite assurance from the left to the contrary, that will be the likely result in November as well.
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