As I have written previously, the tension we are seeing among elected Democrats is the result of a deliberate infiltration of the two-party system by the far left. As Michael Harrington, a founding member of the Democratic Socialists of America said in 1988:
The way you get a new party in the United States is by transforming an old party.https://vimeo.com/178538466
He specifically said the Democrats were the best vehicle for the DSA’s ideas. Forty years later these ideas are causing a fracture. While the mainstream media continues to clutch their pearls over Michael Cohen’s testimony and the lack of a deal in North Korea, a much more interesting phenomenon is going on in the Democrat party.
First, the Democrat caucus in the House fractured during the vote on a gun control bill for universal background checks. During a Motion to Recommit (MTR) submitted by Republicans, more than two dozen Democrats from moderate swing districts crossed the aisle to vote with the GOP to help pass it.
The MTR would have added notifying Immigration and Customs Enforcement if someone in the country illegally attempted to buy a gun to the original bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to pressure her caucus to vote no on the measure. Moderates rebelled and the MTR passed. This put key legislation Democrats have sought out of reach.
New members not from deep blue districts seem sensitive to voting in alignment with their constituents at home. Perhaps they understand better than the Speaker that their presence in Congress is tenuous. I know in some suburban Atlanta districts where Democrats got a surprise win, a vote to curtail the rights of legal gun owners and not address gun purchases by illegal immigrants would not play well at all.
The second crack is in the party response to the successful procedural maneuver by Republicans. It is the second time the GOP has divided the caucus with an MTR and some Democrats are now calling to eliminate them. Apparently, they learned nothing from Harry Reid going nuclear on Presidential nominees. It is a tool for the minority and someday they will be the House minority again.
A third sign the Democrats are not as unified as they once were is Medicare for All. A new version eliminating private insurance was released Wednesday. As Kamala Harris learned, this is not popular with voters. Support for the bill has fallen from 124 to 107 members of the caucus despite picking up 40 seats in the midterms.
Finally, and perhaps my personal favorite, Best Supporting Actress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has threaten to sic her entourage on moderate Democrats. From The Washington Post:
House Democrats exploded in recriminations Thursday over moderates bucking the party, with liberal Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threatening to put those voting with Republicans “on a list” for a primary challenge.“House Democrats explode in recriminations as liberals lash out at moderates”, Mike DeBonis, The Washington Post, February 28, 2019
To be fair, she was going to do this in any case. With the help of the Justice Democrats and the DSA. Now she is just being honest about it. But the very idea of her coming unglued in a closed-door meeting and openly threatening members of her caucus with a challenge like this is just delicious.
The stage was set for this the day Ocasio Cortez carefully touched up her lipstick and told the protestors in Pelosi’s office how totally awesome they were. The socialist wing and their pinup girl got all the media attention, but the moderates are flexing their muscles. And moderates won far more new seats.
To keep the majority, Pelosi and team are going to have to give these members leeway to vote with their constituents. And the socialists will continue to demand leadership lurch left. How many more kids are they going to shove into congressional offices to get their way? I guess we’ll see.
The Democrat party was the chosen camp for infiltration and now the troops are marching in different directions.