Unlike the Republican Party, which is a rock solid alliance between big business and cultural conservatives, there is a deep contradiction at the heart of the Democratic Party. On one side, you have affluent, mostly older liberals, feminists, parts of Wall Street and the military industrial complex, the corporate media, the permanent bureaucracy in Washington, and the African American elite that was bought off by the ruling class after the collapse of the Civil Rights Movement. On the other side you have millennials, downwardly mobile members of the middle-class like myself, the more culturally liberal part of the “white working class” in the Midwest and the Northeast, and younger, more radical blacks and Hispanics. As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a rising star on the Democratic Party left, remarked, “in any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party.”
Long simmering, this class-contradiction inside the Democratic Party exploded into open view during the Democratic Party debate on January 14th. A few days ago, Elizabeth Warren’s campaign went to CNN, which hosted the debate, with a report that last year, in a private conversation, Bernie Sanders made a remark to Warren that a woman couldn’t be President. CNN, a reactionary cable news network, which is as biased against the Democratic Party left in 2020 as they were against Michael Dukakis in 1988, not only featured Warren’s charges, they dismissed Sanders’ denial out of hand, maintaining that “it’s not he said she said but reported news.” The next morning, both the Sanders and Warren camps were in damage control mode, trying to suppress a debate that Warren initiated and Sanders knows isn’t going anywhere.
To me, Sanders no longer seems a viable candidate to drag the party back to its New Deal roots. He’s too old, too tired and apologetic in the face of the “woke,” cultural left represented by Elizabeth Warren. The right way to have responded to Warren’s attacks would have been the way Trump would have responded. “There you go again lying Liz.” Instead, Sander’s stuck to his usual script. He defended Medicare for All, declared that he opposed the Usmca, the successor to NAFTA, and made a few lukewarm criticisms of American militarism, all good positions but none of which are going get Warren’s highly educated, wealthy supporters to support his working-class agenda.
While Sanders is reluctant to admit it, the cultural left is not an ally. Upper-class white feminists no longer care much about publicly funded abortion. Like Bill Clinton, they believe that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” Amy Klobuchar has been praised for arguing against “free college.” Your plumber, she maintained, doesn’t need an English degree. The professional managerial class, that stratum between capitalists and the working class, those lawyers, bureaucrats, lobbyists and professional activists who can afford rent in the Bay Area or District of Columbia, see Medicare for All and other “universal” programs like social security and tuition free higher education, not only as “racist,” but as being against their own class interests. It not only means higher taxes. It means a loss of employment opportunities for their own kids, who will eventually become the lawyers, bureaucrats, and professional activists who will maintain means tested social programs like Obamacare.
In the end, the winner of the Democratic Party debate on CNN, not surprisingly, was the Republican Party and the American ruling class. While anything’s possible — Joe Biden might actually die in mid-campaign and still beat Trump in the general election — the Republicans, whether led by Trump or by Mitch McConnell, will retain control of the government. Indeed, at this point, Biden and older African American voters in the South, seem like the only thing holding the party together. A Warren victory in 2020 is likely to have the same result as the Clinton victory did in 2016. She may take the popular vote, but she’s unlikely to win back Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, or the electoral college. A Sanders victory in the primary will almost certainly mean mass, upper-class liberal defections to Trump, and active sabotage by the swamp in Washington, which, as of yet not drained, will see any further movement to the left as a threat to their livelihood.
The best outcome for the American people would probably be the end of the Democratic Party and the birth of a genuine left. A Trump Presidency, as bad as it is, is not likely to be as damaging as whatever “grand bargain” Biden makes with Mitch McConnell to destroy Social Security. So let the fight between Warren and Sanders rage on. Burn baby burn.