Over the past four years, the Democratic Party has been embroiled in a bitter civil war between the establishment and the progressive factions. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and the rest of the Squad have been on the front lines, threatening Democratic politicians they deem too moderate.
But the de facto leader of the far-left rebellion is Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is leading the charge to overthrow the old guard and yank the party further to the left. During a rally in Austin, TX, the Democratic presidential hopeful launched a series of scathing rebukes against the establishment, as the rest of the party mobilizes to steal his nomination once again. But what ramifications would a Sanders victory have for the Democratic Party and the rest of the nation?
Sanders Goes Hard Against the Establishment
Sanders’ speech was full of the usual socialist platitudes: Free everything for everyone and don’t worry about how we will pay for it. Also, it contained the typical “Orange Man Bad” talking points: Trump is a racistsexisthomophobicxenophobe who eats kittens for breakfast, well done, with ketchup. But, interestingly enough, he directed some of his harshest rhetoric against those in the Democratic Party who question his radical proposals.
First, he taunted those Dems who believe his positions are too extreme. “I’ve been hearing, you know, the establishment is getting a little bit nervous about our campaign,” Sanders exclaimed. He continued, insisting that moderates are afraid of the progressive movement:
“Their nightmare is when they see, not only in Austin but all over this country, millions of people standing up for decent wages, standing up for quality education, understanding that healthcare is a human right, not a privilege, understanding that we must take on climate change and the fossil fuel industry that is the establishment’s worst nightmare.”
Then, the socialist senator went after the other Democrats vying for the nomination. “My opponents will tell you Medicare-for-all is a radical idea. It is not a radical idea,” he quipped. “All we are doing is expanding the most popular health insurance program in America, which is Medicare to every man, woman and child in America over a four-year period. That’s it.”
Who Is Winning the Democratic Civil War?
Some in the Democratic Party’s establishment wing have dismissed the progressive faction, implying that it does not have the numbers or support necessary to mount a challenge. But ongoing efforts to oust moderate candidates in the primaries continue. Moreover, Sanders’ recent victories in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada indicate that many on the left are “feeling the Bern.”
The upcoming South Carolina primary is critical — especially to Biden, who has been sinking in the polls. The former vice president leads Sanders by a mere five points, and there is every indication that the socialist candidate could close that gap. In fact, barring some shrewd political maneuvers by the establishment, it seems likely that Sanders will secure the nomination.
If Sanders succeeds, that represents a clear victory for the progressive faction. Even if he loses to Trump in November, Sanders’ campaign would signal a fundamental change in the party.
Read more from Jeff Charles.