By John Friend
The longstanding civil war within the Democratic Party, pitting more centrist, corporate-friendly moderates (epitomized by the media-appointed President-elect Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) against more radical progressive elements, appears to be heating up in the aftermath of the 2020 election.
Following a lackluster overall performance across the country in the election, which saw the Democrats lose a growing number of seats in the House and, so far, fail to take control of the Senate (despite ostensibly capturing the White House), Democratic party leaders and activists have pointed to the far-left factions of the party for alienating and scaring large segments of the American public with their radical rhetoric and socialist policy proposals.
Far-left media darlings of the party, including the firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), among others, are well known for their racist, anti-American rhetoric and radical views. “The Squad”—the title given to the group of four far-left Democratic representatives that includes Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.)—as well as organized factions within the Democratic Party such as the Justice Democrats and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, are notorious for championing controversial platform/policy suggestions, such as the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-all and other socialized health insurance schemes, defunding the police, and other extreme leftist causes. During the election campaign, Republicans correctly highlighted these issues, most of them unpopular among both moderate Democrats and Republicans, tying them to the Democratic Party more broadly, which proved to be an effective strategy.
According to The Washington Post, a conference call among House Democrats following last week’s still contested and disputed election resulted in several heated exchanges between more centrist Democrats and their radical, progressive counterparts, highlighting the division within the party.
“We need to not ever use the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) stated during the call. “We lost good members because of that.”
Other Democrats, including one member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, echoed Rep. Spanberger’s sentiments. “I think Republicans did get some traction trying to scare people on this ‘socialist narrative,’” Rep. Jared Huff man (D-Calif.) told The Washington Post. “What’s the point of embracing a phrase like that?”
The party’s more liberal and radical participants fired back, arguing that it is their faction that inspires and energizes the party’s base. Rep. Tlaib (D-Mich.), a core member of the Squad, grew angry during the call, according to the Post, and insisted the more centrist elements in the party were only interested in appealing to white Americans.
“To be real, it sounds like you are saying stop pushing for what black folks want,” she declared during the call.
Clearly there is a massive divide within the Democrat Party. How this affects their ability to pass the more radical pieces of legislation they have planned remains to be seen. This includes confiscating some popular models of guns, defunding police departments, a massive healthcare overhaul toward a socialist model, identifying and punishing Trump supporters and “enablers,” the institution of Critical Race Theory in public schools, universities, and the federal government, changing the zoning laws in suburban and rural counties, forcing white Americans to pay reparations forslavery, amnesty and free healthcare for 14 million illegal immigrants, open borders, the problematic Green New Deal and more.
If moderate Democrats do bend to the will of the energetic and radical left wing of their party, the Democrats could pay dearly at the polls in two years.
John Friend is a freelance writer based in California.