Thursday, August 10, 2017

GOP's Special Weapon: The Democratic Party

A good reason it is safe to assume that the GOP will remain the dominant party and retain the White House -- provided Trump doesn't blunder into a nuclear war, and provided Wall Street doesn't plunge the global economy into a second recession in ten years -- is that there is an existential split within the Democratic Party. The Bernie-vs.-Hillary, socialists-vs.-capitalists, young-vs.-old divisions have not been mended, but they have not blown up either; rather, they are frozen in an unhealthy stasis.

The Democratic Party's hope of taking back the House of Representatives in 2018 is dependent on how it does in California. But California, the aircraft carrier of Democratic power, is locked in a nasty, potentially litigious, leadership battle for the state party, as Adam Nagourney describes this morning in "Democratic Fight in California Is a Warning for the National Party":
California Democrats face a critical political challenge in 2018 as they seek to capture as many as seven Republican congressional seats, most of them in Southern California, a central part of the national party’s effort to win back Congress. California is heading into a potentially turbulent governor’s race next year as Mr. Brown — a widely respected, stabilizing force in Democratic politics — steps down after two terms. The party could also be enmeshed in a Senate race if Dianne Feinstein, who is 84, does not seek re-election next year.
The fight in this bluest of states has national repercussions for Democrats facing similar struggles about what the party should stand for — and how aggressive it should be in challenging Republicans — as it prepares for the 2018 congressional elections.
Steve McMahon, a Democratic consultant who advised Howard Dean, the Vermont governor, when he ran for president in 2004, compared what is happening with Democrats in California to the Tea Party’s emergence in heavily Republican districts in 2010.
Mr. McMahon said these struggles would probably move the party to the left, with one immediate result: Democrats in places like California will come under increasing pressure to support single-payer health care, much the same way opposition to the Iraq war, a central issue for Mr. Dean, became a litmus test issue for Democrats in 2004.
“You tend to see these kinds of things first in areas where there is single-party dominance,” Mr. McMahon said. “You’re going to start seeing this in other parts of the country in Democratic primaries — typically in districts where there is not an effective voice on the right. There will be those left-further left primaries in those districts where the further-left nominee will win.”
I don't see it that way. Yes, there might be some rhetorical platform drift leftward. But I don't see the moneybags yielding any substantive control. Look at the primary result in the Seattle mayor's race. Despite there being a cornucopia of Bernista candidates to choose from, Obama's U.S. Attorney, Jenny Durkan, the neoliberal's choice, trounced the field -- and this in the progressive's Oz, where the "Fight for $15" was won and where a firebrand socialist sits on the city council.

If the moneybags keep control of the Democratic Party, Republicans maintain their majority.

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