July 5, 2019
Elected officials of the Democratic Party are striving to validate the first part of Will Rogers’ dictum: “Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they'd be Republicans." (The lockstep-behind-Trump GOP demonstrates the other part).
The Dems began, after winning the House last fall, not by agreeing on a strategy but arguing about whether Nancy Pelosi should be replaced as speaker. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, rather than displaying the caution appropriate to one who is new to her role, postured like a party leader, abetted by breathless media coverage. She announced a plan to challenge some of her colleagues at the next primary; doctrinal purity over party solidarity. As Rogers also said, "I'm not a member of any organized political party. . . . I'm a Democrat."
There has been consensus in the House on some issues, but surprising discord regarding a formal impeachment inquiry, which would focus attention on Trump’s incompetence, dishonesty and venality. (Here Ocasio-Cortez has the right idea).
The fact that it is idiotic to start the presidential election season this early may be a factor in driving the Democratic candidates into a hyper-competitive, mutually destructive mode. Sen. Kamala Harris may have thought that her angry, self-righteous attack on Joe Biden would be a clever tactic, and would make her the darling of the left, but its primary effect was to help Trump. The media aided in both regards by declaring her performance powerful.
The candidates have other, less ego-driven problems. Many back Sen. Sanders’ Medicare for all plan, but his and their support seems unexamined. Problems include ignoring cost and glossing over, or waffling on, the elimination of private insurance, including employer-provided plans. That would seem to ensure opposition not only by a powerful business lobby, but by many employees and those who suspect that supplemental insurance always will be needed.Republicans’reactionary policies and political immorality must be opposed and defeated, but Democratic disunity will not accomplish that. Democrats must follow a progressive agenda on, for example, economic inequality, but an unthinking lurch to the left lessens the chances of ridding us of Trump and McConnell.