The NY Times published a piece today based on interviews with more than 50 Democratic voters across the country. A common theme is that the Democratic Party is now made up of two sub-parties that don’t really get along. For instance, a lot of Sanders’ supporters are absolutely not willing to settle for Joe Biden.
A new CNN survey showed that about as many Democrats under 50 would be upset or dissatisfied with Mr. Biden as the nominee as they would be enthusiastic…
Interviews with Sanders supporters at his events in New Hampshire and at the King Day gathering in South Carolina revealed a group of progressive activists who were as dedicated to him as they were in 2016 — and who were uneasy about his rivals, especially Mr. Biden. That was borne out in a new poll of New Hampshire primary voters this week from Suffolk University, which indicated that nearly a quarter of the Vermont senator’s supporters would not commit to backing the party’s nominee if it was not Mr. Sanders…
“I just couldn’t morally,” Laura Satkowski said, explaining why she would not canvass or make phone calls on behalf of Mr. Biden. “I don’t like his policies.”…
“Hell no,” Ms. McKay said about the prospect of backing Mr. Biden. Reminded that North Carolina could be a pivotal state in the general election, she said: “I don’t care. My vote is not going to an establishment Democrat.”
On the other hand, a lot of Democrats still see Sanders as too far left and say voting for him is a line they will not cross:
“No, I’m more of a Republican and that’s just a little bit too far to the left for me,” Ms. Birkett, a retiree. She said that she’d like to support a Democrat this November because of her disdain for Mr. Trump but that Mr. Sanders would “be a hard one.”…
Phil Richardson, a farmer who came to the Biden event in Fort Dodge with his wife, Christy, said he’d be happy to vote for Mr. Sanders.
But Mr. Richardson said his worry is that others in his community would find it harder to support somebody so liberal.
“I’ve had some of my farmer friends tell me they could probably live with Biden but he couldn’t go for Bernie,” he said.
This is really a rerun of the dynamic we saw in 2016, with the far left rallying to Bernie and the center-left rallying behind Hillary. But the Overton Window has shifted quite a bit in the past four years. At this point, Medicare for All, free college tuition, even a wealth tax are all solidly on the table for the left while the more centrist portion of the party hasn’t moved very much at all. Far left leaders like AOC are even funding primary candidates to oust more moderate Democrats.
And if history is any guide, it’s going to get a lot uglier before it gets better. Remember how Sanders supporters behaved at the Democratic National Convention?
Pro-Bernie Sanders delegates disrupted the California delegation breakfast as the Democratic National Convention kicked off on Monday, chanting “Lock her up!” and “Count our votes!” during speeches.
The chanting reached its peak when California Secretary of State Alex Padilla spoke. At the mention of names such as Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Sanders supporters erupted in boos, quickly drowning out Padilla’s words.
And the reaction when Hillary won the nomination?
Several demonstrations pulsed through the Democrats’ convention host city here on Tuesday after the party formally nominated Hillary Clinton for president, attracting at least 1,000 people by nightfall as angered Bernie Sanders voters joined supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement for a wide-scale march.
Just before 10 p.m., the crowd stirred outside the grounds of the Democratic National Convention. A handful of protesters started a fire beside a security fence, feeding the flames with papers and placards.
Well, the gap between left and far left is even bigger this time around so it seems likely the anger will also be greater and harder to smooth over whichever way this goes. And that’s obviously a big problem because it would only take a small portion of supporters for Biden or Bernie to decide to stay home to make it much more difficult for the party to mount a real challenge to Trump.
The left is clearly already aware of this problem, which has cropped up in the increasingly bitter contest between Sanders and Warren, but it’s still early. The really nasty part of this, where the left and far left finally face off, is yet to come.