If you have spent any time on social media, you have seen it. There is a split between Bernie Sanders supporters and Elizabeth Warren supporters. It is as if this could have been predicted, or something. But here are the cliffs notes: Something was said at a meeting between the two of them. Somebody leaked something to try to paint one of them as a misogynist, and partisans for both sides are at each other throats.
In the meantime, the centrist in the party, though their own spokespeople in the media are magnifying what should remain a personal matter into a big rift. Again, I could have called this. Why? The split between the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and the centrist wing is deep.
There is more, the centrists are very good at manipulating the at times paranoid progressives. We saw this exact pattern in 2016. Full disclosure, I had a first-row seat to this dynamic, since I was a member of a centrist site. So the tactics are very familiar.
What we are seeing through are progressives taking the bait, the hook, the sinker, and the fishing rod. In fact, they have swallowed this all the way to the elbow, or worst. And it is not like we have not seen this movie before. The reality is that there is a very real war for the future of the Democratic Party, and the centrist wing is far better organized, and less paranoid, than progressives. Partly it is a function of who has held the reins of the party for over a generation. They took over in 1980, and have not let go. Clintonism is still alive within the center-right of the party. The neoliberalism of the Democratic Leadership Council remains, and the progressive left, like the left all over the world, has yet to figure out how to deal with the traps and honey pots in their path.
I am not placing my endorsement behind any candidate, and I also know that in the current environment Joe Biden should do very poorly. I do not expect him to win the nomination. However, Hillary Clinton should not have won either. The conservative wing of the party, which holds control of the levers of power, is back at its old games. They are hard trying to divide the party and make sure that a neoliberal (not necessarily Joe Biden) will get the nomination.
Sadly, the left is falling for the same old game and is spending a lot of time on social media throwing bromides at each other. However, late this afternoon this broke:
Eighteen progressive organizations including major supporters of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are launching a unity pledge in the middle of the most contentious week of the primary between the two progressive candidates.
The effort, dubbed “Progressives Unite 2020,” is centered on a three-part pledge that includes focusing “our fight for the nomination against candidates supported by the corporate wing instead of fighting each other.”
The campaign is made up of some of the most dominant organizes on the political left. The groups involved include Our Revolution, which is closely tied to Sanders, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is closely tied to Warren. The Working Families Party, which has endorsed Warren, is also involved, as is the Sunrise Movement, which recently endorsed Sanders. Democracy for America, which is unaligned, helped organize the campaign.
The groups are also asking members to vote strategically for the two candidates in early voting states like Iowa. The campaign asks voters in Iowa to move to one of the two top progressive candidates if their preferred candidate doesn’t reach 15% viability threshold on caucus night.
This means that at least some people have learned the lesson from 2016 and are stepping back from virtual warfare. It is a good thing because this broke at a critical moment. It also was driving a deep wedge that threatened to suppress the vote in both the primaries and the general election.
If you are still going but Sanders, but Warren…step back. Because there are people who love this partisan warfare. Oh, and do ask yourself, who benefits?