ChrisWeigant.com

Don't Believe The Pundits -- Democrats Are Indeed United

[ Posted Monday, March 11th, 2019 – 17:22 UTC ]

This week, the political party in control of the White House and the Senate is going to have a vicious intraparty fight over a broad constitutional issue. Last week, Democrats in the House unanimously passed a resolution condemning hate, and 23 Republicans astonishingly voted against it. Democrats stayed absolutely united in their fight against Trump's border wall funding during the longest shutdown in U.S. history, and they've remained united in the House to pass the first gun control measure in decades and the strongest elections and governmental ethics reform package since Watergate. Democrats have only held power in the House for a little over two months, and yet they've stayed absolutely unified to accomplish these major achievements. In the presidential race, it's actually pretty hard to differentiate between the announced Democratic candidates, because their platforms are all so similar that they defy attempts to find much daylight between them.

Sigh. You'll forgive me for being snarky, but at times the groupthink of the punditocracy really bugs me. Obviously, this is one of those times.

At a time when the Republican Party is -- slowly, timidly, to be sure -- beginning to stand up for all those vaunted principles it once held sacred, by casting a vote against a naked presidential power grab, the media is obsessed over an intraparty spat within the Democratic Party that wound up with a meaningless "sense of the House" resolution -- that every Democrat wound up voting for. The exaggerations which accompanied pretty much every article about this spat were pretty monumental, because the media really would like to start using the "Tea Party of the Left" label, no matter how much of a misfit it may be. Notably, the rightwing Tea Party has, since its birth within the Republican Party, wielded its power in one way and one way alone -- by voting as a bloc against many bills that the GOP leadership wanted to see passed. The Tea Party (or, as they call themselves these days, the "Freedom Caucus") were the ultimate legislative wrecking ball, refusing to vote on any measure they deemed not 100 percent pure to their goals. In fact, Democrats should really send them a giant thank-you card and a bouquet of flowers, because they very effectively prevented both Paul Ryan and John Boehner before him from getting much of anything done while Republicans held the House.

What is going on now among the House Democrats doesn't even come close to this intraparty obstruction. After all was said and done, every Democrat voted for the anti-hate measure, while 23 Republicans voted against it -- and all the media could talk about was how Democrats were splitting. On the face of it, it makes no sense whatsoever.

Meaningless resolutions aside, the progressives and the freshmen in the House are not obstructing Nancy Pelosi's agenda. Instead, they are merely urging her to be bolder in what that agenda includes. This may lead to a split later on, if Pelosi resists some of their bigger and bolder items, but we are nowhere near that point yet. Watch how they vote, not what they tweet, in other words.

Meanwhile, in the presidential race, Democrats are nowhere near as divided as they were four years ago. Back then, there was a huge and bitter split among the rank and file about whether to back the person who could become the first woman president or whether to get behind a man who was urging an all-out political revolution. The differences between the two sides were stark. This split was noticeable in many ways, in fact -- women voters and men voters, younger voters versus older voters, and perhaps most importantly, pragmatists and incrementalists against those who demanded a radical realignment of what the party stood for. Those are big ideological battles, and they left scars that are still visible today.

But compare 2015 to 2019. The primary fight between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton was divisive indeed, but so far this time around the wide field of Democrats haven't bothered to attack each other much at all. Now, it is very early in the process, so this could change soon, but so far Democratic voters are remarkably unified behind one burning desire: defeating Donald Trump. Poll after poll shows that Democrats are not particularly inclined to see such an intraparty split this time around, because they all share the overarching goal of beating Trump and sending him packing. Voters tell the pollsters that it isn't even all that important to them whether the eventual candidate perfectly aligns with their own agenda and goals, they instead just care that whomever the Democrats nominate has the best chance possible to defeat Trump. In other words, the party is strongly unified in a way we just didn't see four years ago.

In a few days, we're going to see the Senate vote to void Trump's declaration of a non-existent national emergency. Democrats are expected to remain unified for this vote, but already four Republicans have crossed the aisle and said they'll vote against their party's leadership and against a sitting president from their party. More Republican senators might vote for the measure as well, as several have expressed their deep misgivings about allowing any president to do such an end-run around Congress and the power of the purse. This will force President Trump to issue his first-ever veto.

That is a party that is not united. That is a party that is in disarray. That is a party divided. These are serious constitutional separation-of-powers issues, after all, not some "sense of Congress" resolution. At the start of Trump's re-election campaign, some in his own party are going to rebuke him very publicly. Over a dozen did so in the House when they voted on the measure. That's pretty astonishing when you think about it. So where are all the stories and the punditary handwringing over this schism within the Republican Party? Trump's veto will survive -- there aren't enough Republicans who remember all those principles they used to say they stood for to overturn it in either house -- but it will be a gigantic embarrassment for him nonetheless. Because his own party will be forcing him to issue his first veto. After all, if Republicans were as united as the Democrats demonstrably now are, then the measure wouldn't even arrive on Trump's desk.

What happened last week within the House Democrats is nothing more than a few growing pains. They've made the jump from the minority party to the majority party, and that is going to mean more scrutiny of what they do and what they say (and what they tweet). There are a huge number of freshmen in the Democratic House, and they have not had years of experience on how to perfectly politically phrase things so as to get their idea across without causing unnecessary offense. This will be a learning process, but please remember that it has only been a little over two months since they hit the ground running. Give them time, and they'll smooth out some of the rougher edges, one should assume.

Out on the campaign trail, the unity between all the Democratic candidates will move in the other direction, because it eventually will have to give way to some sharper elbows being thrown. They're all in it to win it, assumably, which means they've all got to vie for the same universe of Democratic primary voters. Remaining positive and pushing your own agenda is only going to get the candidates so far, and it's going to be very hard indeed to stand out in such a large crowd this time around. The ones who are polling in the single digits right now will all be looking to make a name for themselves if they have any chance of landing in the frontrunner ranks. So over the course of the next year, some divisions in both tactics and strategy will become apparent.

But that hasn't even happened yet. Right now, I'd be hard pressed (if given the problem as a pop quiz) to match each candidate's posted agenda with the correct candidate's name. If you read to me (off their campaign website) one candidate's platform, I probably would guess it was from the wrong person, in other words. That's how closely their agendas match -- which is another way of pointing out how unified the party has become overall.

So please feel free to ignore (or at the least, discount) all the ink now being spilled on the always-favorite mainstream media trope: "Democrats in disarray!" Because from where I sit, the very concept is ridiculous. For anyone who remembers how divided the party was during the George W. Bush years, or how the Blue Dogs held congressional Democrats back when Barack Obama was in charge, or how vicious the Democrat-on-Democrat attacks got in the 2016 primaries, we seem now to be in some sort of a golden age of Democratic unity. The party is energized (and perhaps even a little exuberant) and there have been a few disagreements within the ranks because of this, but once they settle into their jobs a bit that will likely disappear. Because Democrats can have minor disagreements while still wholeheartedly agreeing on the biggest issue facing the party today: fighting against Donald Trump and everything he tries to do. In fact, it's hard to even remember a time when Democrats were so united behind one single overarching goal. That unity exists both within Congress and out on the presidential campaign trail, and it truly is a wonderful thing to behold.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

20 Comments on “Don't Believe The Pundits -- Democrats Are Indeed United”

  1. [1] 
    Kick wrote:

    Brilliant observation and so factual... so far. :)

  2. [2] 
    Paula wrote:

    Yep.

  3. [3] 
    TheStig wrote:

    The next to the last paragraph deserves an award for "Best Thought Experiment Used In A Political Context." Well done!

  4. [4] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I just finished watching "Behind the Curve" on Netflix. It's a fascinating look into The Flat Earth Movement and the marginalized, mostly Caucasian, people who populate it on the screens of planet Social Media. A kindier, geekier version of MAGA, but with more infighting. A few of the more ambitious and technically proficient undertake some experiments to disprove the rotating sphere hypothesis - only to get results that are completely consistent with a rotating sphere as described in a middle school earth science class. They are puzzled, but undeterred. Another layer of conspiracy must be the problem.

    Expeditions to Antartica are planned to find the wall of ice girdling the disc. The wall keeps the oceans from flowing off the edges of the disc. I foresee two potential problems. The first is funding. The second is navigating to Antarctica without using rotating sphere based protocols. The first hurdle will probably be sufficient to kill the adventure before it kills the adventurers.

  5. [5] 
    neilm wrote:

    TS[4]

    The first hurdle will probably be sufficient to kill the adventure before it kills the adventurers.

    Thanks, I needed that laugh.

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i always thought flat earth was figurative. you mean there are people right now who actually believe the earth is flat?

  7. [7] 
    neilm wrote:

    you mean there are people right now who actually believe the earth is flat?

    Not only are there believers, they have conferences!

    http://fe2018.com/

  8. [8] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    The one thing that is good advice is the part of the title that says don't listen to pundits.

    It is ridiculous that some pundits will write aboot some bullshit theory which has nothing to do with reality and other pundits write aboot how it's not reality by saying something else that has nothing to do with reality.

    This is done to keep people from paying attention to reality and remaining within the parameters of the narrative that the Big Money interests want promoted- that citizens can only choose between the choices offered by the Big Money interests which isn't really a choice at all.

    The flat earth-er reference reminds me of the Bill Maher movie "Religulous" when they show a scene from one of his stand up shows when he mentions Scientology and the audience chuckles.

    He says something along the lines of:
    Oh right, the snake in the garden, the virgin birth, that all makes sense- but those Scientologists are CRAZY!
    (I can't believe the spellcheck makes me capitalize Scientology as of it is something real)

    And I can't believe you keep spouting this nonsense distraction bullshit as if it were something real while ignoring a REAL ISSUE like pointing out the difference between a small contribution candidate and a small donor candidate.

    Or maybe an occasional look outside your bubble to the well over 50% of eligible voters that are not currently being suckered by the CMPs (read Big Money interests) and the pundits that shill for them.
    (45% of voters are independents plus the 40% of those eligible that don't vote in case you're wondering aboot the well over 50%)

    After all, while these citizens are not in agreement on everything- they agree that the CMPs are not something they want to be a part of.

    And 80% of all citizens want the Big Money out of politics.

    Even if it is only once every week or two, it would be nice if this blog which boasts a claim of being reality-based would actually address reality.

  9. [9] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,

    Your spell check is right. If Scientology were an actual branch of science it would be lower case. That said, why does it still let you keep on misspelling 'about' all the time? What did Canada ever do to you?

  10. [10] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    [4] I watched the same Netflix show, these folks remind me of the '221B Baker St' crowd. They're harmless enough, unlike the 'Uranium one' or 'child sex slaves on mars' who disgrace the interweb with their ludicrousness.

    LL&P

  11. [11] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    8

    I can't believe the spellcheck makes me capitalize Scientology as of it is something real)

    I know, right!? It reminds me of that DH on this blog who keeps capitalizing "Big Money" like it's a proper noun or a trademark or "something real" beyond just existing in DH-nutia... which he'd obviously understand if he would only take "maybe an occasional look outside his bubble." :)

  12. [12] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    I've been tracking the "Captain Marvel" thing since its inception. Apparently, the attempt to make it Marvel's worst outing resulted in its best outing.

    Might've been the Marvel strategy all along. (wheels within wheels)

    Nevertheless, I'm counting it one for the good guys.

  13. [13] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Paul Krugman today calls out conservatives for the "snowflake" charge, claiming that the real 'on the edge' guys are them.

  14. [14] 
    Kick wrote:

    Balthy
    13

    Straw police, hamburger paranoia and the state of the right.

    This is awesome. Krugman nails it. The rhetoric and cluelessness from the righties grows ever more nonsensical on a regular basis. It truly takes a special kind of stupid to buy into their ridiculous spew. I mean, c'mon... what kind of moron honestly believes they're going to take away all the "hamberders"? :)

  15. [15] 
    Kick wrote:

    TS
    4

    I just finished watching "Behind the Curve" on Netflix. It's a fascinating look into The Flat Earth Movement and the marginalized, mostly Caucasian, people who populate it on the screens of planet Social Media.

    I just want you to know your description forced me to watch this. Reminded me of the QAnon silliness.

    Expeditions to Antartica are planned to find the wall of ice girdling the disc. The wall keeps the oceans from flowing off the edges of the disc. I foresee two potential problems. The first is funding. The second is navigating to Antarctica without using rotating sphere based protocols.

    The third problem is that this "ice wall" they seek was destroyed by the ice dragon with haunting blue eyes at the end of last season. :)

  16. [16] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    A special class. I mean you have those that:

    - are honest. They honestly believe the stuff they do is holy and right. Unfortunately, you can't look to closely at this group lest a chill go up your spine.

    - aren't honest. And don't care, either. "All's fair" is their motto, and prisoners are no option. One just hopes they get caught.

    - don't know. They just know that they don't like democrats, much. Usually boils down to some sort of soft bigotry. They troll a lot.

  17. [17] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Saw this posted somewhere the other day and really liked it. Hope you will, too.

    There is a famous Twilight Zone episode called, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, in which aliens manipulate a neighborhood into thinking that their friends and neighbors might also be aliens, until the neighbors violently turn on each other.

    In the end, Rod Serling says: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices – to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill – and suspicion can destroy – and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own – for the children – and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is – that these things cannot be confined – to the Twilight Zone."

    The way to fight this is to remember what America stands for: truth and justice, equality and tolerance, compassion and fairness. Even if we fall short of those ideals, they are what we strive for.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Very nice, Russ.

    The promise of America is not lost.

  19. [19] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Kick-15

    I confess I have never watched Game of Thrones. Or read the books. I intend to. Rome, Deadwood, Pacific, Vikings, Marco Polo Last Kingdom and God only knows how many PBS Masterpieces just got in line first. I'm hoping to fit G o' T in sometime before 2020.

    Masterpiece has the best sound quality. They throw sounds behind your head. I have no idea how they do this. I do not have rear speakers. Just excellent studio monitors and a near perfect listening space.

  20. [20] 
    Kick wrote:

    [19]
    TheStig wrote:
    TS
    19

    I confess I have never watched Game of Thrones. Or read the books. I intend to.

    I too came late to GOT when I was "forced" to watch because my "crew" began to refer to me as "Khalessi." I had to figure out what they were prattling on and on about, and it was worth it. Give it 4 episodes. :)

    Rome -- Fun with revisionist history but loved it. Hard to believe Lucius Vorenus is actually a Scottsman with a thick accent, and Titus Pullo is the father of Caesarion and not Julius Caesar... who knew?!

    Deadwood -- Oh, the series ended too soon, just like the town. Most repeated word on Deadwood: I double-dog-dare you to post it!

    Pacific, Vikings, Marco Polo Last Kingdom -- Sounds like a laundry list of my SO's favorite shows!

    PBS Masterpieces -- Too numerous to list! :)

    I'm hoping to fit G o' T in sometime before 2020.
    Masterpiece has the best sound quality. They throw sounds behind your head. I have no idea how they do this. I do not have rear speakers. Just excellent studio monitors and a near perfect listening space.

    No rear speakers!? OMG: Get yourself some rear speakers, 4K, and turn on Netflix... Planet Earth and Planet Earth II. We literally wore ourselves out the other night screaming "run, run" while watching the newly hatched baby lizards being chased by snakes trolling (they are so fast) for little snacks. It'll curl your hair. Good times! :)

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