I first caught wind of this story on Morning Joe today and at first it seemed too good to be true. Rumors had been swirling for a while now about some newfound bravado among the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party and how they had begun to fancy themselves as a new and improved version of the Tea Party movement. But would they really go so far as to begin attacking their own for a failure to toe the most liberal party line? It seems that at least some of them have decided that it’s high time for a civil war. A new PAC has popped up and is threatening to launch a primary challenge against any incumbents who are seen as being too wishy-washy when it comes to Donald Trump. Let’s take a look at how they are justifying their mission which goes by the rather obvious name of “We Will Replace You.”
Elected officials tend to take the path of least resistance on most things—unless you create a political cost for them. That’s where we come in. The growing anti-Trump movement springing up at town hall meetings and protests across the country has already pushed Democratic strategy in the right direction—but not nearly far enough.
Three Democratic Senators voted “yes” to confirm Rex Tillerson, a Big Oil baron with close ties to Putin who conspired to destroy our climate by suppressing evidence about global warming. Fourteen Senate Democrats joined with Republicans to confirm Rep. Mike Pompeo to be our new CIA director, despite Pompeo’s past Islamophobic remarks and ties to far-right conspiracy theorists, his position in favor of unconstitutional surveillance on Americans, and his enthusiastic support for torture and secret detention. And Senate Democrats like Dick Durbin, Claire McCaskill, and Jon Tester have all voiced the opinion that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch deserves “a fair shake”—after Republicans refused to even meet with President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland for almost a year and effectively stole a Supreme Court nomination.
This cannot stand. We will only defeat Republicans on the local, state, and federal level if we go on the offensive.
That seems to be it in a nutshell. The new thought crime in Democratic circles is not simply agreeing to vote against Donald Trump’s policies, but rather failing to be sufficiently enraged in each and every public statement. If you are not out there engaging in a scorched earth policy against the fact that Donald Trump even exists you are suspect and in line for replacement.
Their opening statement lays out the battle lines fairly clearly. It reads, “Donald Trump is a threat to America and everything we believe in. Millions are rising up in resistance, but too many Democrats have been enabling and collaborating with him instead.”
I’ll confess that there is an immediate temptation to begin popping the champagne corks when you read something like that. The 2018 midterm elections are already looking like something of a horror show for the Democrats, given the large number of seats they have to defend including several in states that Donald Trump carried handily. Why on earth would anyone want to start a fight inside of the tent under these conditions? Splintering the party even further at the precise moment when they need to be unifying their forces sounds rather suicidal.
But before we get too comfortable with the idea of a Republican supermajority in the Senate, let’s remember a bit of our own history. People said the same thing about the Tea Party in 2010. The GOP was knocked back on its heels in 2008 and was struggling to find a way out of the wilderness. I saw several experts at that time predicting the same sort of doomsday scenario which I just laid out above for the Democrats. Remember what happened next?
The real question here is whether or not the success of the Tea Party among not only conservative but moderate voters in the heartland could potentially translate into a similar level of success when far left liberal tendencies are being placed on the table. Somehow I have a hard time buying that idea. The country remains a center right nation with the exception of some heavily populated progressive enclaves on the coasts. But even with that said, I’m not going to get too cozy with the idea that this effort is doomed to failure. In any event, it’s going to be something to watch.