It seems that we are caught in an era of division. The two-party system has created a Us vs. Them mindset, equivocating politics to a sports game. People cheer for their side blindly, not actually paying attention to what their candidate believes in as long as they win.
However, times are changing. The large fissure dividing Democrats and Republicans has branched off to form divisions inside the parties themselves. Specifically, in the Democratic party, sub-parties have formed within itself, their growth exponentially pushed forward by the mad race towards the 2020 election.
Nancy Pelosi recently stated in reference to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s group of progressive pushing Democrats, “That’s like 5 people.” This statement can be characterized as Pelosi saying the leftward push by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and other freshman Democrats is not significantly influencing the party. From Pelosi’s statement alone — whether maliciously driven or not — you can tell that there is a significant division in Democrats’ stances, one that many are conscious of. Even though Pelosi may claim that this leftward push isn’t significant, it’s prevalent enough to be a topic of questioning in a political interview.
While Pelosi herself identifies as a progressive but “reject[s] socialism as an economic system.” There has been an increase in many Democrats who do identify as socialist, the most prominent being Bernie Sanders and AOC. However, why is socialism suddenly on the rise? It may be a direct reaction to Donald Trump’s presidency, as President Trump has openly denounced socialism, saying: “Here in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. Tonight, we resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” in his State of the Union Address.
The Trump administration has caused widespread outrage among the Democrat party, causing many Democrats to more thoroughly educate themselves and examine the injustices that many people face on a daily basis under the United States government. Many people have taken a look at how the government and economy are run and realized that is not working for many people. A Gallup poll this past August found that Democrats had a more positive view of socialism than of capitalism (by 57 per cent to 47 per cent). The favorable views are especially high among younger respondents.
As more young people are able to vote, there has been a move to more progressive politics. Only about three-in-ten Gen-Zers and Millennials (30% and 29%, respectively) approve of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president. But the question is — could this division potentially break the Democratic party in two? A more likely hypothesis is that the entire party will shift to a more left-wing way of thinking, as Washington welcomes the most diverse and progressive Congress in history.
Progressive Democrats aren’t afraid to voice their opinions either. These bold actions could lead to friction among less left-wing thinkers. The Green New Deal is already a huge example of this. This resolution, proposed by AOC, aims to cut Carbon emissions to zero, create jobs and widespread financial security. While the resolution doesn’t fully call for all-out socialism, socialist ideals are apparent in its content, as it aims to spend a significant amount of government money to help fund programs and help the lives of many American citizens.
The Green New Deal has helped forge a division in the Democratic party, as only the most liberal House Democrats have aligned their support with the resolution. Speaker of the House Pelosi has openly denounced the bill, saying “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?” Cleary defining the break between middle ground and left-wing Democrats.
The continuing controversy foreshadows a negative outcome for the 2020 election. Democrats can anticipate an outcome parallel to the previous election, with many more liberal democrats refusing to vote after Hillary Clinton was nominated instead of Bernie Sanders. The upcoming democratic candidates pose a dizzying spectrum of ideologies — from self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders to Moderate centrist Joe Biden. Will Democrats be able to unite behind one candidate to take down President Donald Trump?
However, there is nothing wrong with standing firmly behind one candidate you strongly believe in, rather than the pack mentality habit that many American citizens have fallen into. Division leads to discussion. We are witnessing a radical change in political thinking in real-time, and change is a good thing. As the trend of more progressive thinking continues, future generations will be born into a very different, more accepting world. Out with the old, in with the new.
Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr