The Coming Democrat Civil War
"I’m not a member of any organized political party -- I’m a Democrat," Will Rogers is supposed to have quipped nearly a century ago, but his assessment has never been truer than it is right now.
Early polls show former Vice President Joe Biden -- who first ran for president when I was a freshman in college (I'm now 50) -- with a commanding lead, and that has some Democrats very upset. A recent Fox News poll shows Biden up 2-to-1 over nearest rival (and fellow Old White Dude) Bernie Sanders, 35-17. That puts Biden up a couple of points and Bernie down six since March.
But is Biden really the candidate Democrats crave?
Writer and progressive activist Touré went on quite the Twitter rant this morning, arguing that "it’s a mistake to take progressive voters for granted and think they’ll all come out based on Trump-hatred." He's calling for a more radical approach than Seemingly Safe Joe is willing to offer, and arguing that the nominee needs to excite the party's progressive wing: "Thinking 'the left is in the bag,' is a path to defeat. Serving the base has got to be priority #1. Not winning over the middle."
And Touré is hardly alone.
Washington's Democratic governor, Jay Inslee "repeatedly called out Joe Biden for his approach on climate." Inslee told reporters on Wednesday, "Biden is going to have to say that we have to remove our reliance on fossil fuels from the electrical grid. I have not seen to date any suggestion that he could do that." That was in response to Biden's call for a "middle ground" on climate change legislation, which Dem Young Turk Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted on Twitter:
Also note that Naomi Klein, progressive author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, is in on the anti-Biden action, too.
At Business Insider today, John Haltiwanger wrote what amounts to a hit piece on Biden for his 2003 Senate vote in favor of the Iraq War. The bullet points at the top of the story make it abundantly clear the message Democrats are supposed to take away from Haltiwanger's report:
• Former Vice President Joe Biden's vote in favor of the Iraq War could hurt him with a key demographic in 2020.
• A new poll found 42% of voters between the ages of 18 to 29 said his vote on the war makes them less likely to support him.
• Young voters came out in record numbers to participate in the 2018 midterms and are poised to play a big role in the 2020 election, especially for Democrats.
But the Progressive attacks on Biden might be little more than the opening salvo in the coming Democratic Civil War. The party's progressives almost certainly won't get the impeachment they were promised.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler told CNBC's John Harwood yesterday that he and his fellow Dems are "'probably" not headed for impeachment. That's in no small part because some party leaders fear a "2020 backlash," like the one Republicans suffered in the 1998 midterms following Bill Clinton's impeachment by the GOP House.
Any backlash, of course, would come from the middle of the country. But what about backlash from the Left?
A quick news search will turn up so many more stories just like these, to which I'd add a couple of thoughts.
First, the Democrat-Media Complex, especially the party apparatchiks at CNN and MSNBC, have spent the last two-plus years ginning up hopes that Trump would be impeached, frog-marched out of the White House by Marines, and then tried for treason. That's akin to promising a spoiled-rotten three-year-old candy for dinner, then serving stewed prunes -- you can expect the resulting temper tantrum to be a nasty one. Second, finding Robert Reich among the impeachment advocates was a bit of shock, since he's an old Clinton hand who passes for a moderate in today's party. That's how deep the impeachment rot reaches, and we haven't even gotten to the really silly season yet, when desperate presidential candidates seek to out-crazy one another in the weeks before the Iowa caucus.
So maybe Touré is right. Maybe the Dems need to play to the party's radical left-wing; maybe they need to stick with Joe Biden -- boring, old, gaffe-prone, and kinda gross. Maybe the Dems need to double down on the multi-trillion dollar Green New Deal; maybe they need to play nice with Republicans instead. Socialism or moderation? And so on, as the older, more moderate Democrats try to keep control of their party from the radical Young Turks.
Who will win? There's only one way to decide, and that's a vicious Democrat Civil War.
I hope you've got plenty of corn for popping. Or better yet, remember Steve's Second Law of Holes: When your opponent is in one, get him a bigger and nicer shovel.