The State of the Democratic Race: February Edition

It is clear that the Democratic Party is divided. The results of Iowa and the polls in New Hampshire tell us that the two factions are settling. For the center-right neoliberal wing of the party, it is Mayor Pete Buttigieg, to the eternal annoyance of the Clinton wing.

The progressives are settling on Bernie Sanders, the self-described Social Democrat. Calling him an FDR Democrat is also accurate. In fact, I hope he will abandon the social democrat monicker and just go all-in on Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That, of course, is his decision.

Of course, none of this is settled. We will need to see what happens tomorrow with the New Hampshire primary. But this looks like the top tier.

What about Joe Biden? I think at this point we can almost say goodbye to Joe. His firewall is South Carolina, and his argument is that he is the most electable. However, I suspect he is done. He is already having trouble with the donor class. And they are turning towards Mayor Pete…and Mike Bloomberg. Even if Bloomberg is using his own money.

Elizabeth Warren is also in the second tier. She may also start to fade away. This is going to depend on what happens in tonight’s primary.

The battle is between the present and the future. The present is a nation dominated by corporations and money. It is a captured government, with authoritarian tendencies. The future looks more like the past of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That was a nation that not only took on Nazis but also was told that the only thing to fear was fear itself. It was not a nation scared out of its wits and its freedoms.

It was also a nation of we, not the I. And while this appeal to the past is a powerful tool of the fascist, that past that it seeks is not what once was. Don’t get me wrong. That was also the nation of Jim Crow and deep racial division. It was a place where more people had trouble voting than not in certain areas of the country. It was a country that was not idyllic, nor great. However, it was a country where we mattered. It was a place where corporations were not people, and money was not speech.

Do I pine for that past? No, it’s just part of the future we need. It is one where institutions are stronger, and where people do not go bankrupt from medical debt. We are the only advanced nation where that still happens.

This is the inherent conflict in the Democratic Party. This is we of a past that Democrats claim allegiance to, or the I of the 1980s. It is a society that will educate its people, keep people healthy, build the roads and bridges we need, and invest in the future. Or it is a nation where all that can is in the private sphere, regulations go away, and yes, even Social Security. This is the wet dream of conservatives since the Social Security Act was signed into law. This is where we are.

And for the moment, this race is symbolized by Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete. It is ironic that the younger man likes that Neoliberal vision. However, the race will not become a two-man one until after Super Tuesday. Yay, this means that states that usually have no say, will.

Written by

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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