Democrats Are Finally Putting Their Differences Aside. But It’s Too Late

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

According to a recent news report, the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party are finally putting aside their differences to focus on the future. Ever since they found themselves in charge of both chambers of Congress and the presidency, both sides have been sniping at one another in an attempt to determine who would exert the most influence over the party. But now, after more than a year of squabbling, they appear to have finally decided it is more important to mitigate the damage they will take in the upcoming congressional elections.

But unfortunately for them, it probably won’t matter.

In the words of Carole King, “it’s too late, baby, now it’s too late.”

Though Democrats really did try to make it work with their far leftist policy proposals and an inept President Joe Biden, something inside the party has died and they just can’t hide or fake it any longer. King lyrics aside, the Democrats are embroiled in an identity crisis that will probably persist even beyond the upcoming midterm elections.

It appears the Democrats understand that now is not the time for internal feuding and are focused on their dismal future. “Just over three months from the midterms, Democrats are temporarily tabling their disagreements, watching voters’ anger, the president’s low polls and a disastrous national climate redefine the terms of the discourse,” according to The Hill.

“It’s not about progressive or moderate at this point,” said Bill Neidhardt, an operative with the firm Left Flank Strategies. “It’s about action vs. inaction.”

“Voters aren’t looking at ideology. They are looking at who the hell will actually do something about all of this. Inflation. Abortion rights. Mass shootings,” he said. “You name it.”

The two factions have been at odds over how best to stay in power, and push the Democratic Party’s agenda. The Hill explained:

Progressives essentially wanted Biden to use his White House influence, bolstered by a Democratic-controlled Congress, to enact some of his most ambitious campaign promises. They urged him to be a president who used the power of government to make big changes for people.

Moderates wanted to rein him in. They cautioned that Biden could be negatively seen as giving too much away and exhausting resources at a time when many thought restraint was the cure to the spoils of the Trump era. They warned that left-wing proposals and jargon could alienate the kinds of voters he needed to keep.

As Biden’s approval ratings continue to sink deeper into the septic tank, Democrats are struggling to maintain even a modicum of influence. Much of their frustration has been directed at the current occupant of the White House, who can’t seem to do much of anything right. Of particular concern is the abortion issue, which Democrats have been trying to leverage since the Supreme Court’s draft opinion was leaked, signaling that it would be overturning Roe v. Wade.

The president ended up signing an executive order intended to safeguard abortion access, now that states are once again allowed to create their own policies on abortion. But “many Democrats thought that came too late,” The Hill noted.

Progressives and moderates have begun collaborating in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, to win important Senate races. They are doing the same with other down-ballot elections as well. Rep. Jamila Jayapal (D-WA), leader of the House Progressive Caucus, told The Hill that “[t]he relationships that we have with frontliners has grown.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) on Sunday called on his comrades to stop their public criticisms of President Biden and to unite ahead of the midterm elections. “Do you ever hear the Republicans, four months before a midterm election, criticizing their own Republican president?” he asked during an appearance on MSNBC. “They don’t criticize a Republican, former Republican president, who committed insurrection. They still have people out there defending him.”

Republicans, for their part, are faring much better despite the internal civil war between the establishment and non-establishment factions. After a years-long struggle, the GOP is far closer to determining what its identity will be going forward, and this is being displayed during primary season with the base voting for Trumpier, more pugilistic candidates to contend with their Democrat opponents. It appears that the days of electing GOP lawmakers who are likely to bend to their Democratic colleagues are on the way out.

“Voters are interested in candidates who aren’t interested in being members of the go-along, get-along party,” Gregg Keller, a Republican consultant, told Politico. “I think the bases of both parties right now have a huge amount of justifiable skepticism about Washington, D.C. dealmaking and how that has a lot to do with the situation in which we find ourselves today.”

As the GOP becomes more Trumpy and less conciliatory, Democrats are in an increasingly dire situation. Not only have they lost tremendous amounts of influence due to their poor performance over the past year-and-a-half, but Republicans are also gravitating toward candidates who are willing to get in the dirt and fight more aggressively to push a conservative agenda. Indeed, this sea change has a decent chance of fundamentally transforming the Republican Party into a more aggressive political machine.

Meanwhile, Democrats are still floundering; even if the two factions manage to call a truce, they are still in for a sound drubbing in November. Indeed, being that the left has no real leader to rally around, their problems will likely continue past the midterms and into the 2024 presidential election. All in all, the future is looking bright for the GOP and quite bleak for Democrats.


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