the coming progressive explosion in the democratic party
Right now, it is clear that the Republican party is experiencing internal conflict. But I believe that there is a coming blow up in the Democratic party. Maybe not this cycle, but definitely by 2020. Right now, the Clinton-Sanders competition is being framed as Clinton’s successful defense against a challenge from the base.
There’s a good chance that this narrative will turn out to be correct. But it overlooks some serious trends that indicate the DLC coalition, Bill Clinton and other centrist Democrats of the 1990s, is slowly losing its grip on the Democratic party, in much the same way that the Nixon-Bush establishment lost its grip in 2016.
For example, look at the Massachusetts’ 2016 Democratic primary. Correctly, it is described as a much needed, but narrow, win for Hillary Clinton. But look at the long term trend:
- In 2000, Al Gore beat Bill Bradley with almost 60% of the vote.
- In 2004, John Kerry beat Howard Dean with 72% of the vote.
- In 2008, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama with 56% of the vote.
- In 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders with 50% of the vote.
In sense, 2016 is even worse than it appears in that Hillary Clinton got only 50% of the vote against a single far left candidate. But the pattern is clear. Massachusetts, the bastion of Democratic party liberalism, is slowly sliding away from the establishment and toward challengers.
I don’t know why. It might be cohort change or a Tea Party style anger toward the establishment. But the trend is clear – the progressives aren’t going to take it anymore. The only question is how long it will be until the storm arrives.