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Democratic Moderates Fear the 'Socialist Left' Will Wreck the Party — They Want to Keep That Gig

July 28, 2018 in Blogs

By Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

What’s behind all the concern-trolling over socialism? Too many Democrats don’t want to talk about core beliefs

No political organization in the recent history of the world has had a gift for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory quite like the Democratic Party. This is the party that has managed to lose three of the last five presidential elections, despite only once in that period getting fewer votes than the opposition. Although the Democrats nominally hold positions with broad majority support on a wide range of issues, following the heavy losses of the 2010 and 2014 midterms the party found itself in its worst nationwide position since the early 1930s.

For much of the 20th century, Democrats understood themselves to be the party of permanent hegemony on Capitol Hill, no matter who was in the White House: Between the Franklin D. Roosevelt election of 1932 and the Newt Gingrich election of 1994, the party held a House majority for 58 out of 62 years, and a Senate majority for 52 of 62. Sam Rayburn, a Democrat from an east Texas district that is now (of course) solidly Republican, was House speaker for more than 17 years, a record that will surely never be broken. That history has almost become a curse from the past, haunting the Democratic present; it’s like a lost paradise, and every few years a new messiah shows up to tell the faithful that (s)he knows the true path that will lead them back. Or it’s like the idyllic garden in “Alice in Wonderland,” which Alice knows she can reach if she can only squeeze through the door.

There is no garden, no path and no door. This mythic certainty that their kingdom will come again — expressed more recently in the mantra that “demographics is destiny” — has prevented Democrats from perceiving the true nature of their predicament. Over the last three decades, the party has been virtually wiped out in numerous states between the coasts where it was once competitive (or even dominant). It now holds a legislative majority in just 14 states. You …read more


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