Iowa is only the first round in what is shaping up to be a battle for the future of the Democratic Party between its establishment and progressive factions. According to conventional political wisdom, the Democrats’ dislike of Donald Trump is so strong that the party will unite to support its presidential candidate. This is a mistaken assumption. The differences between these two factions are far wider than understood and far more existential in nature.
In the 30 years I have worked with the Democratic party, I never witnessed as much vitriol and hatred among its establishment as that directed towards Sanders and his supporters. The dislike is deep as it is personal and is primarily driven by the enthusiasm generated by his campaign.
Ultimately what bothers the party establishment is the kind of raw authentic politics which the Sanders movement represents. A politics that speaks of class and concrete political demands, rather than the politics of profile and identity. A politics that at its core challenges the legitimacy of the American economic and political power structure.
Most damningly on a personal level, this brand of politics holds a mirror to the professional political class exposing them for what they really are – the very well compensated court eunuch’s of the oligarchy.
The reason the Sanders and Warren insurgencies are so problematic to the Democratic establishment is because they are an ideological attack on the legacies of the last two Democratic presidencies. Both candidates have argued that the Clinton and Obama administrations were tarnished by corporatist and Wall Street economics and militarist foreign policy that social liberalism could not remedy.
In addition, Sanders and Warren have accused the party of losing touch with its base by being unwilling to adopt more progressive policies, despite evidence that Americans support them. They have advanced the argument that the party has, either by design or incompetence, lost all the economic and foreign policy battles of the last 40 years.Print