(UnitedVoice.com) – Cracks are developing in the Democratic Party. The question is, how deep and wide are they with less than 100 days to go until the general election?
In 2016, the party split over allegations that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Party (DNC) rigged the primary against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sanders’ supporters booed Clinton in response. Ultimately, either enough didn’t vote or they defected to Donald Trump. If the Democrats hope to win in 2020, that can’t happen again.
Unfortunately for Democrats, the problem is a group of Sanders’ supporters is once again up to their old tricks. They are intent on moving the party further left than Joe Biden wants to go. If they are successful, it could backfire in November.
Convention Rebellion Brewing
Unlike 2016, there is more consensus around the more likable Biden than there was around Clinton. It helps that Biden and the DNC didn’t play the same games that fractured the party so deeply at that time. So, what’s the problem this time around?
At least 36 delegates, mostly Sanders supporters, have signed a pledge that opposes the Democratic Party’s platform on healthcare and are urging more delegates to join them. They want the party to endorse Medicare-for-All. However, Biden doesn’t support a single-payer program. He says improving Obamacare and adding a public option is the best path forward.
The Medicare-for-All crowd says the pandemic has exposed the problems of the private health care system as tens of millions have lost their jobs and insurance. Yet, they recognize their ideas have little chance of changing the party platform. However, what they say they DO have is enough numbers to make a lot of noise and draw attention to their cause.
Three groups have joined up to drive a petition to put pressure on the party to deliver a single-payer platform. The left-wing groups Progressive Democrats for America, RootsAction.org, and The Bernie Delegates Network say they will publish the petition. They hope to get hundreds, or thousands, more signatures — including some Biden delegates.
Fear Among Democratic Leaders
After the mess of 2016, Democratic leaders fear another repeat in 2020. COVID-19 changed the way candidates run for office at all levels. Democrats, unlike Republicans, are fractured. Biden is caught between two rocks. One is the far left of the party and the other is the political center made up of moderates. This has created more danger for Biden than his campaign, or Democrats at large, are willing to talk about publicly.
If Biden goes one direction too hard over the other, he risks alienating a core constituency, and that could end up being the difference between winning and losing this fall. He is already walking a tightrope with moderates after adopting parts of the Green New Deal, student loan forgiveness, and free college, among other policies.
The difference this year as opposed to four years ago is that progressives are vowing to work to get Biden elected and defeat Trump. They say their intent is not to be divisive. Instead, they are fighting for their cause in a manner that is healthy. If the leadership has a reason for concern, organizers of the petition say it’s because those at the top are not listening to grassroots voters who want a change to the healthcare system.
One False Move
Conventions are fragile things that can swing an election, as demonstrated in 2016. Sanders’ movement contributed heavily to Trump’s win. One false move or statement by Biden or the leaders of the party can quickly spread a wildfire that could jeopardize their chances in November.
Stay tuned during August. There are lots of opportunities for the Democrats to foil their own efforts.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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