Last updateThu, 02 Apr 2020 1pm


Tensions Rise Within Party Factions

Tensions Rise Within Party FactionsThe 2016 elections resulted in the Democrats without the White House and with 71 fewer seats in Congress, giving Republicans the majority.

Consequently, Democrats are eager to find a new image for the party—while many Republicans are trying not to get lost in the shuffle of a vast right-wing movement.

After decades of wavering from left and center, the party’s division culminated in the 2016 Democratic Primaries.

With former-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, representing the party’s center and Bernie Sanders embodying its burgeoning left, the party endured a battle over which faction would hold regency.

“[Bernie] didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House. He got in to disrupt the Democratic Party,” Clinton aptly says in her book, What Happened.

With more than a third of Senate Democrats co-sponsoring Bernie’s “Medicare for All”, and over half of Democratic representatives supporting the House version, it is becoming more evident that Congressional Democrats are walking a very thin line toward the left.

Although the Democrats should not falter in the middle of tepid centrism, these kinds of impractical, half-baked proposals cooked up by Bernie Sanders et al are not substantial alternatives—especially not for something as sacrosanct to Democrats as healthcare.

Dr. Katherine Parkin, a professor in the History Department and Vice President of the Faculty Association, explains how pivotal former-President Bill Clinton was in reshaping not only the Democratic Party, but also the landscape of modern-American politics—lending way for candidates, who would otherwise not be considered, to run for President.”

“The Second World War gave us Presidents from Eisenhower to George H.W. Bush, who either served in the military or in the military reserves,” Parkin explains.

“The election of Bill Clinton in 1992, however, was the first to break that pattern, and it was an opening that allowed many more [unconventional candidates] to be contenders for the Presidency,” she adds.

“Most significantly would be the greater likelihood that women would be able to run for President, given that they had not historically been allowed or encouraged to enlist,” Parkin says.

“The election of Bill Clinton is also significant because…he ran as a centrist,” Parkin says, “Others in the Democratic Party, such as Jesse Jackson, encouraged movement to the left, but it was the center that led to a 2-term presidency.”

Although American politics finds itself in a similar situation to that in the 1990s, such a strategy would be deemed heresy to Democrats on the left-wing fringe—such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, who insists the party will not go back to the political center.

“We are not the gate-crashers of today’s Democratic Party… We are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party,” Warren exclaimed at a grass-roots event in Atlanta.

These siren calls to polar extremes resonate with Republicans as well, as factions in the party are vying for dominance.

Although many Republicans were quick to embrace him, most were left disconcerted with the President’s electoral win last November.

Parties seldom challenge their incumbent president in primaries; however, Kentucky-senator Rand Paul told MSNBC “There could well be a primary,” further evidencing the friction within the party.

Republicans also disagree over the party’s current direction: “There may not be a place for Republicans like me in…the current Republican Party,” senator-Jeff Flake told The Arizona Republic last week.

Additionally, Tennessee-senator Bob Corker told CNN in an interview, “I think the debasement of our country will be what [President Trump will] be remembered most for.” Both senators have announced they will not seek reelection in 2018.

Other Republicans have followed suit: Senator John McCain, former-Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, and former-President George W. Bush have recently condemned the present party’s militant nationalism.

However, this brand of Republicans is becoming more elusive.

“I think both parties are in a little bit of a bind because of these [intra-party] divisions,” Alexis Borrino, a sophomore education major, says.

 “In my opinion, in order to win future elections, both parties need to find acceptable candidates who are moderate rather than far-right or far-left in order to avoid another election that is a choice between ‘the lesser of two evils,’” Borrino adds.

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