We spent a chunk of this week really relishing Donna Brazile’s tell-all about the Clinton Machine running the Democratic National Committee under dubious (at best) circumstances. The piece that appeared in Politico Magazine is but a chunk of a larger book on her time heading up the DNC during perhaps its weakest moment.
Many read the article as a signal that the Democratic Party is on its last ropes. However, there is a larger signal she appears to be, either consciously or subconsciously, broadcasting: The era of moderate Democrats is over.
It’s a funny phrase, isn’t it? “Moderate Democrats.” With every position they’ve publicly taken, you would think that such a thing exists. But I can tell you that there have been as many people on the sidelines who have said there is no such thing as a moderate Republican anymore, and our side has Mitch McConnell.
There is a moderate Democrat. There are many of them. They are the Democrats who look askance at Bernie Sanders’ sudden and meteoric rise among the Democratic base. They, like the moderate Republicans who aren’t our biggest fans, see Sanders and his supporters as a thorn in their side.
Take a close look at Brazile’s piece. It throws Hillary Clinton under the bus. It places blame on the party’s troubles on Barack Obama and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. It apologizes profusely to Sanders and those who supported him. By legitimizing his complaints, Brazile’s commentary effectively hands over control of messaging to Sanders.
And, I don’t believe that this is what she or other Democrats ultimately wanted, but she is perhaps one of the better strategists at reading the political winds. I think she, like many of us on our side, recognize that Sanders has started something the party as a whole simply cannot ignore or control. It is something they will have to confront and accept, or become active fighters against.
The era of Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and the current Democrat Establishment (such as it is) is going to have to move away from simply being messengers, and become actual fighters for the cause, or they will face the same constant challenges our moderates face.
If you thought the Democratic Party was extremely far left now, wait until the Sanders wing starts winning those challenges. Barack Obama was, ultimately, nothing but a guy who wanted to solidify legacy for himself. He sought a fundamental transformation for his own sake. Sanders and his supporters? They seek an even greater transformation for the sake of transformation.
That’s a big difference. If you are worried about European-style socialism, then that is where it’s going to come from. And the Democrats currently in power know it. The Pelosi wing is chewing their nails over it. The Elizabeth Warren wing is defecting. There is going to be a showdown, and I think it’s going to happen sooner than the party is prepared for.
I know the Republican Party wasn’t.