The Democratic Party is Splitting and Splintering

by

Thursday, March 28, 2019


With the 2018 midterm election came a new class of bold, progressive Democrats in Congress. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Ilhan Omar have refused to abide by the status quo of their party. From questioning traditional Democratic orthodoxy to introducing debate about once fringe ideas into the mainstream, these new Democrats have animated the more progressive wing of the party, but also alienated some traditional Democrats.

These internal debates are happening in the midst of a bustling Democratic primary, and, with the Iowa Caucuses just 10 months away, presidential hopefuls have been taking positions on these issues in order to appeal to parts of the Democratic primary electorate.

Here is a preview of some of the issues that have split Democrats and have the potential to play a large part in the discussions surrounding the 2020 Democratic primary:

Israel:

While support for the state of Israel has typically enjoyed almost unanimous bipartisan support in Congress, this has started to change in the last couple months. Freshman Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Talib have been exceptionally vocal about their opposition to Israeli settlements and AIPAC, a prominent bipartisan pro-Israel group. They have also advocated for support for BDS, a movement that calls for divestment from Israel.

Some of Representative Omar’s comments, however, have been criticized  for revolving around anti-Semitic stereotypes such as accusations of dual-loyalty. While Omar’s comments have been widely criticized by many, including Chelsea Clinton, other presidential hopefuls such as Senators Sanders, Harris and, Warren rushed to defend Omar and her comments.

In a further development that signals the party’s split on the issue, the same group of presidential candidates, and many others , have declined to attend this year’s AIPAC conference, despite prominent Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Bill De Blasio, a potential presidential candidate, being slated to speak at the event. President Trump has called for a so called Jexodus ( Jewish + Exodus) from the Democratic Party, but that is unlikely to occur, as 79 percent of Jews voted for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

Socialism

With support for socialism and skepticism about capitalism on the rise among Democrats, a recent Gallup poll found 57 percent of Democrats support socialism and 47 percent of Democrats support capitalism.

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez have adopted labels such as “Democratic Socialist,” while others, such as Governor Hickenlooper and Businessman Andrew Yang, have refused to adopt either a capitalist or socialist label.  More moderate Democratic candidates, such as Senator Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, however, have  described themselves as capitalist and distanced themselves from the socialist label. They are focused on issues such as income inequality instead.

Identity Politics

With a field as diverse as the current Democratic primary, it was almost certain that gender and racial identity would be a part of the conversation. To the ire of many in the party, however, some of the candidates who have gathered the most attention are straight, white, men, including Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

This has led to a backlash from certain portions of the left, who have criticized Biden for comments about busing, and O’Rourke for his so called “white privilege” and comments that he was “born to be in it.” Some Democrats, however, have criticized the use of identity politics among the left, such HBO late night show host Bill Maher and comedian Trevor Noah who proclaimed “This is not wokeness, this is insanity.”

Joshua attends New York University with majors in Politics and History and a minor in Economics. When he is not having political arguments with friends, he likes to read and watch movies.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Joshua Kim

New York University

Joshua attends New York University with majors in Politics and History and a minor in Economics. When he is not having political arguments with friends, he likes to read and watch movies.

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