After an unexpected drubbing in the election and the loss of many of their senior leaders, the Democratic Party is experiencing an existential crisis. Some blamed the FBI, some blamed bigotry, and Clinton’s senior strategist blamed the “Bernie Bros.” The latter suggestion rankled Sanders’ supporters, and I think the rigging of the Democratic Primary, and the rejection of Sanders by the Establishment, has the potential of driving a wedge between the moderate liberals who actually vote for the party and the Democratic Establishment who leads them. If the voters had been allowed to have their way, a Democratic politician wouldn’t have even made it onto the final ballot as Bernie Sanders is technically an Independent.
For years, there’s been a section of the left who have recognized that the policies of neoliberals like the Clintons, Joe Manchin, Chuck Schumer, and John Kerry were not all that different from neoconservatives like the Bush dynasty, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. They are all friends of Wall Street and the banks, they all like to ship American jobs overseas, and they always vote in favor of the next war. The only real difference between these two groups are their social programs, an obsession for those practicing identity politics.
So maybe after this rout, you would think the Democrats would pick fresh new leadership? Wrong. Chuck Schumer has taken over the Senate from outgoing Harry Reid and Keith Ellison is experiencing resistance from the Obama White House in his run to take over the DNC. But the leadership of the House minority is in contention, with Ohio Representative Tim Ryan challenging incumbent Nancy Pelosi. There is a very clear anti-establishment trend developing in the response of the Democratic party, so what does that mean for policy?
Will Democrats continue to allow their corporate side to run the party? Will they continue to tolerate bailouts for too big to fail banks and corporate firms? Will bankers and CEO’s continue to be too big to jail? Are corporate lawyers going to write America’s trade deals like TPP and NAFTA? How will the Democrats judge the Keynesian response to the great recession? Did quantitative easing work? And will the Democrats accept the austerity model of the EU for their future economic policies? Is long-term debt an economic ball and chain?
Will the Left finally stand up to the war hawks in their party? Or will they be silenced by “matters of national security?” The media will no longer report the truth, so America needs an antiwar party.
If Liberals continue fighting for civil rights, can they grasp the conflation of equality under the law with freedom from societal ills and economic woes? Will they realize that fraternity and fidelity create harmony, not social rules and honor brigades? Can they understand the difference between the rule of law and social justice? Can they continue to accept the war on drugs? And continue to support sending non-violent drug offenders to for-profit prisons to work as slave labor?
Will Democrats accept the management of a nation’s borders as a normal part of culture and governance? Or will race be a component of every argument and motivation? Will the Left recognize and reward the plight of illegal immigrants over the dedication and cooperation of the people going through the naturalization process? Does implicit bias preclude shared societal values? Is that why the Progressive fringe feels entitled to create new social rules like microaggressions, gender-neutral pronouns, and safe spaces?
And what will happen to the boondoggle of American Socialism? With Obamacare anything but a success, will the Left finally abandon Corporate Socialism with legislation written by and for campaign donors? Can they return to the New Deal policies that FDR created and Bernie Sanders is offering? Can they stop the draining of Social Security and Medicare funds?
The Left has a long road ahead of them, but a good start would be to drain the swamp in their own party first. The media is still focused on bigotry and the social injustice of a Trump Administration because it is a reaffirmation of the Left’s social view, but the party will have to deal with the core issues eventually. The attention on Trump also distracts from the Democrats as they fall into dissension and disarray. But the leadership’s problems will only grow if Trump drains the swamp. A higher turnover rate for Congressional leadership requires a larger pool of leaders to draw from, and the Democrats are at a distinct advantage here because of their lack of leadership and party unity and the advanced age of their current leaders.