The Democratic Party is increasingly facing a divide between its centrists and progressives, and it becomes more apparent the closer we get to November. What we’re starting to see are interesting parallels between what’s happening to Democrats now and what happened to the GOP in 2010.
Around the time Obama-care was forced through Congress, a group of furious conservative voters began to organize and demonstrate over the national debt and the increasing size of government. This group of voters modeled itself after the Boston Tea Party and even took the name.
Since then, moderate Republicans—or any member of the party not considered “conservative enough”—were targeted in primaries. Some even began using “primary” as a verb. These challengers didn’t necessarily come with any specific policy goals or governing experience. They didn’t claim to build a better mouse trap. They were just angry. To their credit, some have been successful.
Former House Speaker John Boehner constantly found himself under the gun when these lawmakers began gumming up the Washington machine. And as moderates went down in district after district, the party found itself dragged right, to the point that House Speaker Paul Ryan now seems like a moderate to some. (Imagine that six years ago.)
These days, Democrats are going through a similar struggle.
The response to a Republican-controlled government was expected: organizations and demonstrations, with a growing sect of leftists targeting the establishment Democrats and pulling the party in its own direction. It’s called democratic socialism, and it’s all the rage. Emphasis on rage.
In New York, we saw “Democratic Socialist” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeat incumbent Joe Crowley in a primary. In Florida, Bernie Sanders endorsed Andrew Gillum in the gubernatorial race, and the latter won the Democratic primary. Then last week in the Massachusetts Democratic primary, Ayanna Pressley defeated a 20-year incumbent. Twenty years; now that’s establishment.
These soi-disant Democratic Socialists and their candidates haven’t been successful in every primary this year. One need only look at candidates who lost their primaries in Michigan, Kansas and Missouri. But the Tea Party wasn’t an overnight success, either. Its members chiseled away at congressional candidates over the span of years. Democratic Socialists could very well do the same to their centrist targets in the years to come.
The tracks of Tea Party and Democratic Socialists may be hundreds of miles apart on policy. But when it comes to pulling their respective parties to the fringes, their tracks are indeed parallel. And they say the NFL is a copy-cat league.