Thursday, January 25, 2018

The shutdown exposed divisions among Democrats

Image result for democrats divided cartoons

Senator Charles Schumer decided to shut down the government over DACA. He found out very quickly that many Democrats decided to do something else that weekend. It was this lack of unity that contributed to the failure of the shutdown. It’s a tough fight when many of your partners decide not to show.
Last week, I saw a post about “between the coasts” Democrats:  Heartland Democrats to Washington: You’re Killing Us!    
This is the story of Terry Goodin, a Democrat who must feel very frustrated with the party of DNC Chairman Tom Perez and Senator Dick Durbin:    
“I am a Democrat. I am a Democrat from rural Indiana.”
That Goodin, 51, who has held political office for more than 17 years, felt the need to say this out loud speaks to the divisions bedeviling the Democratic Party. A father of three and the superintendent of a 500-student school district, Goodin is the last Democrat in Indiana who represents an entirely rural area. A member of the Indiana Farm Bureau, the National Rifle Association and the Austin Church of God, he’s an anti-abortion, pro-gun, self-described “Bible-poundin’, aisle-runnin’” Pentecostal. 
This unusual profile for a Democrat makes him a species nearing extinction within the national party, but it’s also the very reason he keeps getting reelected here. This paradox is why he is prominently featured in a report to be made public Thursday by the leadership PAC of third-term congresswoman Cheri Bustos.
The report, “Hope from the Heartland: How Democrats Can Better Serve the Midwest by Bringing Rural, Working Class Wisdom to Washington,” lands at a moment, of course, when Democrats are riled up with activist energy but also wrestling with themselves about the direction of their party—their most reliable areas of support having receded to cities, coasts and college towns. In contrast, this report is based on interviews with 72 Democrats who hail from none of those places but rather largely agricultural, blue-collar areas in the vast, eight-state center of the country. It will be distributed to local and regional party leaders as well as the most important Democrats on Capitol Hill. 
This is exactly the kind of Democrat represented by the Democrat senators who did not join Senator Schumer in the shutdown.   
This weekend’s shutdown exposed a schism between the party of Los Angeles, a left-wing party that talks about dreamers and transgenders, and the party between coasts who made up the electoral force that elected men like FDR and JFK or even Carter.   
My guess is that the national debate over DACA has exposed differences among Democrats. It will make it very difficult for Senator Schumer to negotiate with President Trump over DACA.
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