George Santayana once said, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” The Democrats are repeating history right now. Only now, they’re on the learning side.
By this time next year, we’ll all know who, out of the current roster of 24 candidates, the Democratic presidential nominee will be. And, it may be early, but I have a feeling this election will end up the same way the election of 1912 did—with a broken party and a fragmented base.
When Theodore Roosevelt left office in 1909, he trusted that his protégé, William Taft, would carry on the torch of progressive presidential action, like taking monopolies to court and conserving the environment. However, during Taft’s term, he made several anti-progressive decisions in office. The one that made him lose most of his progressive support was the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act, splitting the Republican party in the process; Theodore Roosevelt led the progressive wing, and William Taft headed the conservative wing. Now, Roosevelt and Taft had by 1910 decided to run against each other. Roosevelt lost to Taft in the Primaries, so he instead formed the Bull Moose party out of his progressive supporters. Fast-forward to 1912; it’s an election year. This election was a three-way race, between Roosevelt on the Progressive ticket, Taft on the Republican ticket, and Woodrow Wilson, the then-Governor of New Jersey, on the Democratic ticket. When it came time to vote, Wilson won 42% of the popular vote and 435 electoral votes, carrying 40 states.
Obviously, the Democratic party hasn’t split into two sides or anything crazy, and I personally don’t believe any party will fracture like that again unless big players are heading those factions. However, the Democratic party is nowhere near unified. In fact, it’s fractured beyond belief.
FiveThirtyEight categorized the party into 6 different wings: the ‘Super Progressives’ spearheaded by “the squad,” the ‘Very Progressives’ led by the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, the ‘Progressive New Guard’ represented by Senators Booker and Harris, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the ‘Progressive Old Guard’ headed by Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, the ‘Moderates,’ and, finally, the ‘Conservative Democrats.’
The Democratic party, while not fatally fragmented, is dangerously fragmented, and that has trickled down to the voters. The latest polling data shows that the highest polling candidate, Joe Biden, at an average of just 28.6%. That’s Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States of America, polling at numbers we haven’t seen since Barry Goldwater ran against LBJ in the ’60s.
The Democratic party is clearly broken, and it won’t be put together again by November 2020.
In 2016, according to a poll published by FiveThirtyEight.com, 35% of self-identified Democrats didn’t vote, larger than the independent margin that year, mainly because of the choices they had.
Of course, Trump and Clinton were two of the most disliked candidates in American history, receiving favorability ratings in the low 40s and mid-to-high 30s between October and November 2016.
However, with the Democratic party as factionalized as it is, and with 24 Democratic candidates, I doubt even the highest-polling candidates could pull in enough support to defeat Trump come election time.
Wilson sat back and watched as the opposing party crumbled before him. The election was his.
I think the Democrats will let Trump do the same.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.