By Nicholas Sones
Politics is about winning, winning is about power, power is about laws. Power is more than claiming to be morally superior than the other side. The previous presidential election left a schism in the Democratic Party. This schism is reminiscent of the Tea Party movement, which occurred following the inauguration of President Obama.
This is not going to be about the resistance against Trump and his disastrous policies, but more a critique of Democrats, who have created what the Tea Party created in the Republican Party, which gave way to Donald Trump.
The schism in the Democratic Party is around the simple idea that Democrats are too moderate, and those on the opposing side are calling themselves progressives. Democrats at one point embraced the notion of being a big tent, that the party should be respectful of all points of view and that the Democrats were welcoming to members of the party who did not check every box. This group once was known as Blue Dog Democrats, but today they simply go by Democrats.
I, like many people when they are young, derided those members of the Democratic Party that were Blue Dogs. Today, I have a sense of longing for them.
The other side would be the group that feels the party has either already left them or is close to leaving them. It is a side of voters that want populism who also feels that anyone who would be out of lockstep with them is the enemy. They do not like debate, they do not like to be questioned and they do not like moderates. They would like to give the finger to the party elite, and they also support saying to the donors whom you need to win elections to “get lost.” I am all in support of ending money in politics, but at the same time, you must be willing to be pragmatic about these things.
Members of the wealthy elite who wanted to mobilize a movement against Obama and his policies in part founded the Tea Party. Progressives, on the other hand, while deriding the elites in the party, rely on such organizations like Democracy for America, founded after former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean’s failed presidential bid in 2004.
It is as if the American left wants to pretend they are not beholden to the same wealthy donors as their Republican counterparts, while the Tea Party always claimed to be a grassroots movement and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party claims to be one as well.
What was most effective for the Tea Party was they stood against what seemed like a single idea. Taxes in the United States should not be raised. It was a movement of activists: they were against the establishment even though the establishment was funding them. The movement was against bailouts of Americans who could not afford to pay their mortgages; mind you, the nation at the time of this movement was in an economically dark place.
Obama fought for legislation which was a major overhaul of the nation’s health insurance marketplace. The Tea Party leaped into action, stalling a public option and forcing weakened legislation. This led to their movement embracing movement conservatism and conservative icons like Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, and, eventually, Donald Trump. Those who question President Trump have lost favor with traditional Republicanism to the point they are being forced out of the party.
Progressives are against bailouts and are militantly anti-establishment. They are getting their funds largely from the same sort of donor base that they deride.
Some have even suggested that the nation would be better off with a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, rather than attempting to work across party lines to solve the issue of rising premiums. These progressives do not like liberal icons like former Vice President Joe Biden because they believe the other side is an existential threat to America.
These are the same things that were said about the Tea Party activist: those who are not members of the progressive march to the left are falling more and more out of favor. It is hard to see how the Democratic Party will not look more like movement conservatives, which the left and progressive loathe.