Democratic Party

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It is quite certain that a moderate Republican will be nominated to stand as his party's candidate for the presidency. His name is Barack Obama.
—Some damn Canucks[1]
Remember back when Democrats used to vote with us?
—Leo McGarry, The West Wing

The Democrat Demokkkrat Democratic Party is a center-left party in the United States. Widely perceived to be left-wing, it's best to think of it as a decentralized tent of far-left to center-right factions who can't agree on anything. "Democrats are divided!" has been a running for decades. Republicans have historically boasted of being a "Big Tent", while Democrats scramble to keep people on the same team from voting them down.[2][3] They can't sell their solutions to the masses because they can't close and coffee is for closers.

Democrats ruled Texas the same way they ruled the big-city north. The "Southern Democrats" were a pro-segregationist sect which in no way reflects the Democrats of today. Then came the Southern Strategy, and those same supporters switched to the Republican party. Goldwater ran in 1964, the same year the Civil Rights Act was passed—not exactly a huge time gap going on here.

When Republicans lose, they run to the right. Reagan was the product of the Goldwater Revolution, and at least in the short term it worked. The reason why it works is because it excites people and gets them out to vote, gets them to phone bank, face bank or whatever bank. (See the Eagle Forum.) The Democrats did not look to the left for answers, they ran to the middle. From '68-a ridiculous amount of time the Democrats ran to the left, mostly because they had controlled congress for so long that they thought they could do whatever they wanted. But when they lose, they will always run to the middle.

Contents

[edit] A short history

The electoral college from the 1860 presidential election, only months before the American Civil War. Compare to today.

The successor to the Democratic-Republican Party (seriously, there was a party called this), the Democrats historically acted as the more populist party, as opposed to the mercantilist Whigs and industrial Republicans. At the same time, however, it was rooted in many socially and fiscally conservative views, more notably Jackson's crusade against the National Bank, the anti-tariff Bourbons (under President Cleveland), and upholding slavery (later segregation). There was also a class distinction: most traced their roots back to the hillbillies and moonshiners of the Whiskey RebellionWikipedia's W.svg who resisted taxation and the plantation owners of Virginia and Maryland, such the Lee FamilyWikipedia's W.svg and George Washington.

[edit] New Dealers

The 20th century pushed them to the left, beginning with Woodrow Wilson in the 1910s and Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression; the latter was maintained by the "New Deal Coalition," a combination of urban constituents, immigrants, intellectuals, organized labour, farmers, whites from the Solid South — and for the first time, African Americans — all of whom agreed on more government intervention in the economy but not much about anything else.[4] The New Dealers reached their apex in the 1960s with increasing anti-war sentiment and the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

[edit] McGovern-Fraser reforms

A leading Republican liberal remarks, “Awful as it was, he made a vote-getting speech.” He is probably right. Nixon has said in the past that no Republican can hope to get the Negro vote, so why try for it? Particularly when the principal danger to Nixon’s candidacy is George Wallace [...] The great technician has worked out a winning combination and, barring the unexpected, it is quite likely that it will pay off and Richard Milhous Nixon will become the 37th President of the United States.
Gore Vidal[5]

The rise and fall of the civil rights movement hurt the DNC greatly. They were outmaneuvered by Tricky Dick, who took advantage of the social unrest with his "southern strategy": almost every southern seat flipped to the GOP. After the catastrophe of 1968 and Humphrey's humiliating defeat by a landslide, the Democratic Party was in shambles. Southern Democrats were courted quite skillfully by Nixon, and the sixties counterculture left the "Eisenhower Republicans" (who were vital in passingWikipedia's W.svg the CRA) far behind. Jimmy Carter was the last gasp of the New Deal Coalition, which was replaced by Reagan Republicanism, which was starkly different than the previous form of Republicanism. Since then, the Republican Party have enjoyed more time in the White House and have basically dominated American politics for 40 years. As of 2017, the consequences of that are very clear.

Unable to keep the fire alive into the 80's, the DNC embraced the snail's pace of incrementalism. The McGovern-FraserWikipedia's W.svg pivot towards the primary system ushered in the age of "Third Way" politics. Couple it with the presence of superdelegates and the reliance of more primaries, and the result was less populism and more appeal to urban areas.

[edit] Love Me, I'm a Liberal

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy. … Either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.
—Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time

America doesn't really have a two party system, and certainly doesn't have the appearance of one, unlike in Tip O'Neill's day (he opposed the Republicans on significant economic issues). Bill Clinton and his "New" Democrats did away with all that by sticking a knife in the back of labor, though in truth the process began when Nixon went to China to open up its labor camps and sweatshops borders to American corporations. As it is, the Democrats seem hell bent on treating the white working class as if they were expendable. (Both parties actually have that problem, hence the rise of Trump and Sanders.) Clinton tried to take a bipartisan approach with regards to conservative (NAFTA) and progressive (push for healthcare reform) policy—but he had really mixed results in doing so.

Ever since the 80's, the DNC has been plagued by demons they helped create. Newt Gingrich ran on the promise of a 50-state policy. One of the cleverest things he did was to network with community leaders, cops, school principals, and (most successfully) local business owners. His other bright idea was to identify suburban Democrats with urban Democrats, which hurt the party a lot. It is no accident that the Democrats collapsed in rural areas at the same time hate radio and Fox News were becoming popular. Bill Clinton's popularity masked a lot of the problems that were bubbling just under the surface, eroding the Democrat base bit by bit until only the west coast and New England were left.

As for partisanship, things were united for pretty much the first time ever in the wake of 9/11, but between The PATRIOT Act and Iraq, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, Enron and Goldman Sachs, that unity shattered very quickly. This was just a naked power grab by the neocons, trying to make the world safe for commerce and democracy. Senator Byrd gave a stirring speech, which sums up the position of the anti-war movement as they marched in the streets, drawing very large crowds; they were snubbed by Pelosi and Reid. (Reason: The Democratic presidential aspirants—Clinton, Obama, Biden—didn’t want America to 'lose' the war courtesy of the Democrats.) They bought the ranch next to Bush's; they were ignored. Ultimately enough people gave up and the anti-war movement, which started during Vietnam, was crushed by indifference.[6] The Democrats' reward? Perceived now as fraudulent and warmongering, their standing in the polls as low as Republicans'.

[edit] The center cannot hold

By now, Democrats were realizing that Clinton was an outlier. They tried campaigning on their achievements, and later apologized for Clinton's draft-avoidance by nominating a war hero. Fact is, none of it mattered. Gore looked like Clinton's slow friend, and as for Kerry, comedians actually nicknamed him "Lurch." McCain may well have beaten Hillary (the woman loves to win the popular vote and nothing else) if not for Obama, who won on the back of "I didn't vote for Iraq like she did". Supporters had high expectations that he would reverse course for the country—but the Overton Window had begun to shift again. When he voted in a tax plan which preserved some of the Bush tax cuts, but also prevented a massive tax hike on lower income levels, Keith Olbermann took to the airwaves and started calling the President "Obush". Politically, he tried to emulate Clinton through the TPP and a more hawkish foreign policy, but that only handed ammunition to Snowden and WikiLeaks. Much like the 2016 election, the media's need to gain eyes through hyperbole caused a perceived integrity deficit in the Democratic leadership.

Their fortunes turned around in the 2006 and 2008 elections, mainly because of a group called the Club for Growth. Yet the partnership between liberal-centrist remains weak and disorganized, just as the moderate-right coalition was fractured under Trump. You could see this happening back when both the Tea Party and OWS were popping up. One now has numerous elected offices including, arguably, the White House; the other is a historical footnote.

2010 was mostly a reaction to Obamacare being passed. A lot of blue-dog Democrats lost their careers due to voting for the ACA. 2014 was due mostly to Democrats not really being into voting in the mid-terms. (It's the Achilles Heel: Dems tend to focus on national elections for the White House and slack off in the mid-term years, while the GOP doesn't.) Sure, the president usually loses seats in midterms, but 2010 and 2014 were exceptionally bad, some of the worst ever. You can hardly say they were average midterm loses when republicans gained their largest house majority in nearly a century.

Ironically, by "winning the culture war", the democrats have ceded the electoral war. Through achievements on issues like gay marriage, Democrats have given Republicans the ability to win votes by doing nothing other than claiming the opposite position of the Democrats. 11 states (all Republican govs) tried to impeach the President over bathrooms.[7] A big problem the Dems have right now is that the Republicans have "nationalized" state and local politics: Even moderate Dems in state and local elections will be trashed as "loony libs with San Francisco values".

[edit] Funeral procession

Republicans can't deliver the knockout punch because the Democrats are already lying on the mat unconscious. It must have flummoxed them that Bill was basically the villain of this election. It's unfortunate that it was such a staple of the campaign, seeing as it basically tossed anyone affiliated with the DNC under the bus. The Clintons rose up the ladder during the era of baby-kissing. The President-elect bragged at a rally that "I might lie to you" and was was perceived as more honest than Hillary. People are just sick of the slick, smooth politician of the 1990s. (In just 2 years, some voters won't even have been alive for during his presidency. That's how long ago it was.)

Donald Trump won solely because he was running as a populist. His positions still make no sense. But he won anyways, because hard-up whites behaved like a minority bloc and came out for Trump in the same way that African-Americans did for Obama. The strength of the Dems used to be that they had broad ideological flexibility. They are the party of non-whites, which is a huge and diverse group. Now that diversity hurts their messaging in presidential elections.[8] Cringe at the rapidly-building narrative that Democrats are too focused on "identity politics" and are ignoring "real issues"; that is to say, they don't spend enough time on trade wars or wooing coal miners who despise the government.

As expected, the Sanders campaign gave a voice to a growing progressive wing in the Democratic party; he's recently been moving to down-ticket ballots to help like-minded progressive candidates.[note 1] On the other hand, the endorsement is pretty much all that Sanders is offering. There is no organized effort by his supporters, no plans for snagging local and state-level positions in the party, and Sanders and his base are doing very little to find like-minded people who could run for office down-ballot.[note 2] Hillary's concessions to Senator Sanders netted zero votes, and probably lost rust belt votes. The enthusiasm just isn't there for the Democrats.

You'd think after 8 years of Obama they'd have guys waiting in the wings, but the cupboard is more barren than ever, and now that Sanders is in the picture, his supporters seem more interested in fighting other Democrats. The in-fighting between the Democrats is something that the Republicans will use to split the vote. This has proven to be extremely effective: With stuff like DNC hacks, the party is forced to remain squeaky clean. The RNC does not have this problem. Trump and the suobordinates know this and will couple it with swiftboating/voter suppression tactics. Over 30 states have Republican majorities in both chambers (which equals more gerrymandering, since the governors approve the redistricting bills), and they are just one or two states away from a constitutional majority, when they can change the constitution to enshrine their extremism into law. Things do not look good for the Democrats going forward. From here on out, the Democrats might be fighting the Republicans, the Russian government, and the FBI.

[edit] Internal factions

While the Democrats have a substantial liberal wing among the public at large, the party's inability to coordinate itself properly results in a political platform that consists of rolling over to Republican schemes and failing to provide effective leadership. The sectarian violence appears below.

[edit] Progressive Democrats

European-styled social democrats, some bordering on socialist. In the House they are organized in the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the largest of its kind in the House of Representatives. Some are descendants of the New Left:

  • Cecil Bothwell
  • Sherrod Brown
  • Donna Edwards
  • Keith Ellison
  • Russ Feingold (the only Senator to vote against the original manifestation of the PATRIOT Act)
  • Alan Grayson
  • Kamala Harris
  • Pramila Jayapal
  • Dennis Kucinich - Once the leading advocate for universal health care, he voted with the Blue Dogs against the Affordable Care Act. Defended the annexation of Ukraine, and blames Syrian rebels for a sarin gas attack which was made by the regime. (Well, at least he doesn't dine with Syrian Nazis like Gabbard.) In his view, the intelligence community is the enemy, not Donald Trump. If it's a choice between Kucinich or crickets, listen to the crickets. They're far more informative.
  • Barbara Lee
  • John Lewis
  • Jim McDermott
  • Cynthia McKinney (now a member of the Green Party)
  • Jamie Raskin
  • Bernie Sanders (self-described "Democratic socialist" put more closer to Social democrat; for many years he wasn't even an actual Democrat, but caucused with them. He switched his party registration from Independent to Democratic in time for his 2016 presidential bid.) Now named to Senate Leadership position; bet no one thought that Bernie vs. Trump debate that they wanted would last 4 years.
  • Pete Stark (the first openly atheist member of Congress[9])
  • Zephyr Teachout
  • Elizabeth Warren

[edit] Traditional liberals

Constitute half of the voter base, and take pain to avoid infighting between the separate Democratic coalitions. "A little left of center," in FDR's words, and don't share many differences with the progressives anyway:

[edit] New Democrats

The Third Way moderates. An outgrowth of the Democratic Leadership Council in the 80s, they turned the party increasingly neoliberal in the 90s, and are roughly equivalent to the British New Labour. Represented by the New Democrat Coalition (an affiliate of the now-defunct Democratic Leadership Council):

  • Bill Clinton, who led the New Democrat coalition and ushered in the right-ward shift of the Democratic Party.
  • Hillary Clinton, who heads the Clinton Foundation and leads the centrist (in name only) Democrats who dominate much of the DNC to this day.
  • Andrew Cuomo, current governor of New York and prospective 2020 candidate for Prez. The Democratic Party is a leaky vessel, but Cuomo will be the one to sink it. He's a snake who coasts on his father's name, controls the media, and smears fellow Democrats (like Mayor DeBlasio) for not genuflecting to his liking. He made the "rent is too damn high" guy look like a viable candidate at one point.
  • John Edwards
  • Dianne Feinstein
  • Al Gore
  • Martin O'Malley
  • Harry Reid
  • Barack Obama[10]
  • Chuck Schumer
  • Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the former head of the DNC. Removing Schultz wasn't just a goal of Sanders supporters. She has been an ineffective chair because of her relationship with wealthy retired douchebags South Florida Republicans, causing the Democrats to give up a few seats without contest.
  • Cory "Diet Coke Obama" Booker: Senator from New Jersey, former Mayor of Newark, and a potential 2020 hopeful. Became the first senator in history to testify against another senator (Sessions) in a Cabinet hearing. Later voted against a bill that woukd have allowed the US to import cheaper drugs from Canada. Unsurprising, since he's the top recipient of money from the pharmaceutical industry in his state. Also quite loved on Wall Street.

[edit] Blue Dogs

Here's where the shit starts to break out. Those in the Blue Dog Coalition are often accused of being DINOs, siding with conservative thought whenever they wish, most commonly on social issues and deficit hawkery.[11] Officially they are a coalition in the House but a few ideologically aligned Senators are listed as well. They're typically elected in Jesusland, and are considered flaming lefties there, despite being firmly centre-right:

  • Joe Donnelly
  • Rahm Emanuel
  • Tulsi Gabbard - Just what we need, more grifter politicians. (Do you think it was an accident Bannon recommended her to Trump?)[12] The Gabbards started in politics as homophobic activists.[13] Her father, Mike, hired her as his "campaign manager" to convert campaign funds into family funds. Despite being known followers of Chris Butler's Krishna cult, he publicly claims to be Catholic while Tulsi identifies as Hindu. He and Tulsi have been running a string of "nonprofits" for a while.[14] Tulsi claims to have distanced herself from her father's politics, but her staff and supporters are straight out of the original anti-gay group.[15][16][17][18] The only reason she's seen as particularly "liberal" is because she endorsed Bernie Sanders, who, by all accounts, is her exact opposite: She went to Syria, got wined and dined by the regime, returned and dedicates herself to supporting Assad (the man who used poison gas in civilian areas). Tulsi decided to drink tea with him just because Trump encouraged her to.
  • Gabrielle Giffords
  • Mary Landrieu
  • Joe Lieberman. Lieberman is still bitter over his 2000 and '06 defeats. McCain was close to picking him as VP, then two weeks before the election, everyone flipped the script on him. Not content with killing Iraqis, he decided to stick the knife in one more time: Thanks to him, America may never see single payer health care. He should have bowed out of public life gracefully.
  • Joe Manchin
  • Ben Nelson
  • Collin Peterson
  • Heath Shuler

[edit] Dixiecrat leftovers and boll weevils

To the right of the Blue Dogs. Not a significant feature in the party anymore, although occasionally one will turn up here and there as a failed Senate candidate,Wikipedia's W.svg or a centrist Democrat will go haywire and swing far to the right.[19]

  • Virgil Goode (left the Democrats in 2000, was the Constitution Party presidential nominee in 2012)
  • Zell Miller[20]

[edit] These guys

These often vote with the progressive and traditional liberal wings of the party, but have their conservative quirky bits. Not easily categorized elsewhere:

  • Lincoln Chafee (Who self-describing as Libertarian-leading Progressive for some reason?, Thus maybe means to be down as others "Libertarians" technically?)
  • Jon Tester
  • Jim Webb

[edit] Feminism

Women make up 33% of elected Democratic members of Congress in 2016, which is up from 21% in 2006.[21]

[edit] The libertarians

Yes, they exist too, probably upset about Dubya's stance on civil liberties and the Republicans' constant juggling between pro-business interests and the Religious Right:

  • Mike Gravel
  • There is also an erstwhile "Democratic Freedom Caucus" influenced by Georgism whose actual influence in the party is negligible

[edit] So who's ticking them on their ballot?

All over the country Democrats are running on their singular strength – the fact that they are not as batshit crazy as their Republican opponents.
Chris Ladd[22]

Today, the Democratic Party attracts academia, white-collar professionals,[23] scientists,[24] medical students,[25] the youth vote,[26] the working class,[27] increasingly the middle class,[28] consumer advocates, copyright reformers, women,[29] LGBT, and ethnic minorities. However, many progressives feel left out of the Party, especially those whose focus in on income inequality. These are alarmed by positions taken by, e.g., Jon Cowan, president of the centrist think tank Third Way, claims populism is dead in the Party, who argues:

“There is a very large faction within the Democratic Party that wants to go back in time,” Cowan told me. “They want to take what we did in the 20th century and do more of it. They want to re-unionize the entire country, unwind the trade deals of the last couple of decades, and not just preserve but expand entitlements. Even if we could afford that, it wouldn’t solve most of the problems of the middle class.”

That is, many top dog Democrats don't want to deal with income inequality; they want to appeal to the middle-class voters who have been moving in the Democratic direction.

Self-identified Democratic centrist and two-term Delaware governor, Jack Markell, agrees that the middle class is key, and claims: : '“If it’s about inequality, it’s a conversation that has the potential of dividing us.” ...Markell says that middle-class voters hear in the crusade against “inequality” a desire to equalize people rather than make everyone better off."[30] In all this, progressives hear no Party support for unionizing the working poor in the service sector, or for supporting any new programs to assist with the cost of child care or sky-rocketing college tuition.

[edit] Quotes

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Notes

  1. Namely, Zephyr Teachout of New York, Pramila Jayapal of Washington State, and Lucy Flores of Nevada, all of whom experienced a surge in small dollar donations due to his endorsements. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who supports Sanders, won his primary against a billionaire businessman, and he is likely to win Democrat Chris Van Hollen's open House seat. Donna Edwards of Maryland lost to Pelosi ally Van Hollen and John Fetterman lost to Clinton favorite Katie McGinty, but both pulled their opponents to the left in time for the general election. Tim Canova, a Wall Street reformer who worked with Sanders in the past, is running against Clinton stooge Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the DNC, in Florida; without needing an endorsement, he already received a record breaking amount of small donations from voters.
  2. See Brand New Congress and more recently, Justice Democrats

[edit] References

  1. Hey, we didn't say it.
  2. McGeal, Chris, "Why Joe Lieberman is holding Barack Obama to ransom over healthcare", Guardian (12/16/09 at 3:22 PM EST).
  3. Phillips, Amber, "These two Democrats are fighting over who hates Obama and Clinton the most", WaPo 5.16.16.
  4. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The American Franchise, University of Virginia
  5. Vidal, "The Late Show", New York Review of Books 9.12.68.
  6. Healy, Gene, "How Partisanship Killed the Anti-War Movement", Cato 12.14.15.
  7. Phillips, Amber, "Oklahoma Republicans want President Obama impeached, even though it’s futile", WaPo 5.20.16.
  8. It's now come to a point where "Democrat" in some pockets of the South is code for "black."
  9. "Representative Pete Stark Named 2008 Humanist of the Year"
  10. Obama's inclusion here is striking in that while his election effectively shut down the DLC, his outlook as POTUS has been largely Clintonian.
  11. A Brief History of Blue Dog Democrats, Time
  12. Swan, Jonathan, "Bannon set up Trump-Gabbard meeting", The Hill (11/21/16 04:35 PM EST).
  13. Bolante, Ronna, "Who is Mike Gabbard?", Honolulu Magazine (8/1/04).
  14. Essoyan, Susan, "Rivals protest endorsement of Tamayo by her nonprofit", Star Advertiser 1.4.17.
  15. DePledge, Derrick, "Few gays report harassment at school", Honolulu Advertiser 4.18.04.
  16. Y.K. Pang, Gordon, "Bill to allow civil unions may be stalled in House", Honolulu Advertiser 2.20.04.
  17. LaFrance, Adrianne, "Tulsi Gabbard’s Leftward Journey", Honolulu Civil Beat 1.16.14.
  18. "Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Needs to Answer Questions About Chief of Staff", Honolulu Civil Beat 3.2.15.
  19. In states that are effectively one-party blue states, it's not uncommon to find wingnut Democrats who are only Democrats because they can't get elected otherwise. They're almost the same as Dixiecrats.
  20. aka. The Duel Guy. Watch Zell Miller vs. Chris Matthews
  21. A bunch of men telling women what’s good for them
  22. What Kansas says about our political future, Houston Chronicle (The GOP did keep the state in 2014, but holy hell, Sam Brownback.)
  23. The Emerging Democratic Majority Turns 10, The Atlantic
  24. Inconceivable!
  25. E. Frank, J. Carrera, and S. Dharamsi. Political Self-characterization of U.S. Medical Students, Journal of General Internal Medicine. Apr 2007; 22(4): 514–517.
  26. Millennials in Adulthood, Pew Research
  27. The Effects of Union Membership on Democratic Voting, The New York Times
  28. Is a Democratic realignment afoot in the middle class?, Washington Post
  29. Gender Gap in 2012 Vote Is Largest in Gallup's History, Gallup
  30. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/the-battle-within-the-democratic-party/282235/
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