I have been writing consistently about the impending fracture of the Democrats since Alexandria Ocasio Cortez showed up at a protest in Nancy Pelosi’s office. From November of 2018:
Ultimately, I think Pelosi will have a more difficult time than Boehner did. The Democrat base which has moved further Left in the last two years has very high expectations now that they have gained a margin in one chamber. Outsize expectations given what a majority in one chamber can actually accomplish.
She also has a growing far Left coalition with policy prescriptions that are far outside the mainstream, though they are very popular in the deep blue districts these members come from. I predict they will be even more immovable than the Freedom Caucus was under Boehner if Ocasio-Cortez’s stunt today was any indication.
Three and a half months in, the cracks are starting to separate. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is trying to prevent future insurgent primaries. The Clintonites are trying to figure out how to stop Bernie without alienating his base. There are 3,487 candidates in the primary. A 28-year-old bartender thinks she’s the boss and Nancy Pelosi is talking out both sides of her mouth.
Let’s take these two quotes. First, from her 60 Minutes interview:
“Do you know that when we did — when Medicare was done by the Congress at the time, under Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan said, ‘Medicare will lead us to a socialist dictatorship.’ This is an ongoing theme of the Republicans,” Pelosi replied. “However — I do reject socialism as an economic system. If people have that view, that’s their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party.”
Before we move on let’s give the Gipper props for understanding Medicare opened the door to “Medicare for All”. Then in an interview with the Washington Post Pelosi said this:
The 2020 presidential candidates may be more liberal she allowed but “in our caucus we’ve always been progressive”.
“But our agenda is one that worked in all districts”, she said. “Lower healthcare costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government. So, no, I mean there are a few few people who are espousing a more progressive public position. It doesn’t mean that other people support or oppose it. It’s how to get it done.
So, how many people support these policies like the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, free college and subsidized childcare and just don’t say it publicly? It really does beg the question, Nance.
Then, when talking about Ocasio Cortez specifically at the London School of Economics, Pelosi said that districts like hers and Ocasio Cortez’s aren’t the issue. She asserted her glass of water could be elected in them if it had a “D” next to it. She also said of AOC’s progressive bent, “I share those values, but we must win”. Ah, there it is.
She then took note of the 47 seats that were flipped and come from far more moderate or even previously red districts. It appears her agnostic view on Medicare for All and assertion that the Green New Deal is aspirational, are political props to support a more centrist view of the party. Thanks for the clarification Madame Speaker.
The Speaker’s attempts to preserve her newfound majority by being both evasive and dismissive are angering the far left wing. She has been criticized for not defending Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 comments vigorously enough. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has actually asserted the party uses her and her freshette cohort for photo ops to give the appearance of diversity. And Justice Democrat spokesman Waleed Shahid is using every press avail to criticize the Democrat establishment.
Meanwhile, the New Democrat Coalition with member Representative Cheri Bustos at the helm of the DCCC probably have the best record of electoral success and seat flipping. But Speaker Pelosi’s commentary gives Republicans ample room to question the authenticity of the moderate position they will attempt to sell in 2020. And the so-called “moderates” from the last cycle have been pressured to vote lockstep with a caucus that has an agenda that tilts much further left.
Add to that a presidential primary where the 2020 rules make it highly likely the Democrats will end up with a contested convention. With no superdelegates, a solid base of support and an endless string of small donors, Bernie Sanders could win the nomination. And they can’t take it from him or the Bernie Bros will stay home.
Oh, it’s all looking more and more like a dumpster fire. The Democrats did not block the insurgents at the door and are allowing someone who is not even a member of their party to run for their nomination. Some ideas are just terrible ideas and the Democrats need to feel “inclusive” prevent them from saying so with clarity.
Buy stock in popcorn. You’re going to need it.