Scenes from the Democratic civil war

  • 12 June 2018
  • msell

We've written before about the slow burning fight inside the Democratic party between its liberal and progressive wings (believe it or not, there is a difference). That fight has been playing out in the primaries this year, with progressives winning here and there, but falling far short of remaking the party in their image.

Via Washington Babylon, we get a look at another part of the infighting -- this time, over the arcane processes of who can run for president as a Democrat is 2020. Hint: not Bernie Sanders:

During the proceedings of June 8, the Committee revised their requirements for the presidential nomination. In short, they tightened up the rules so that anyone who wants to win the 2020 nomination must be a registered Democrat and “run and serve” as a member of the Democratic Party.

That sounds pretty perfunctory, right? Any political party worth its salt would want only its own members to be eligible for its most important nomination. But then the hindsight of the past four decades kicks in and one realizes that something much more substantial is afoot.

So what, exactly, is afoot? An effort to prevent a Bernie-like effort that derails or otherwise annoys an establishment choice:

Squashing the Sanders insurgency so early and in such an undemocratic fashion alienated union swing state voters, many who decided to stay home in November 2016, letting Trump eke out a narrow win.

By barring Sanders, the same group of Democrats who blew the election of 2016 seem determine to prove that history must repeat itself.

We suspect that nothing so insignificant as rules will stop Sanders, or anyone else, from running two years from now. But we will watch, with great interest, as Democrats set themselves up for yet another round of backbiting, finger pointing, and hurt feelings. Or perhaps worse. 

Does it all mean Republicans will have an easy go of it in 2020? No - but the more Democrats fight each other, the less they are able to fight anyone else.