The two paths for Democrats

We talked about the two paths for Republicans.  Apparently there are also two paths opening up for Democrats.  Two columns in the Washington Post cite a growing schism in the Democratic Party between old-line pro-union economic liberals and big business Democrats who favor Wall Street.  What the two factions have in common is social liberalism (pro-abortion, pro-feminist, pro-gay, etc.), but the party’s former solidarity on economic issues is coming apart.  (Which may be the opposite of what is happening among Republicans, with the big business faction and the populists agreeing on economics but differing on social issues.)

From Katrina vanden Heuvel: A populist insurgency in New York City – The Washington Post (discussing the New York mayoral race):

In the post-collapse, post-Occupy, post-Obama world, Democrats are headed into a fierce battle over the direction of the party. Obama forged his new majority largely on anti-war, socially liberal causes — aided by Republican reaction in contrast. But the Democratic Party’s consensus around social issues and diversity has masked a growing divide on economic issues between the Wall Street wing of the party and a populist wing that is beginning to stir. The mayor’s race in New York City is an early entry in this debate about the future of the party and the country.

From Harold Meyerson, Whose Side Is Messina On? (discussing Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager who is now advising Britain’s Tory prime minister David Cameron):

The other disquieting aspect of Messina’s misalliance is that it reflects an emerging set of political beliefs among some younger Democratic Party leaders who have grown close to Wall Street, Silicon Valley or both — as Messina did while bringing both big money and technological wizardry to Obama’s reelection campaign. This umpteenth iteration of the New Democrats believes in such socially liberal causes as gay marriage but is skeptical of unions and appalled at economic populism. At times, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel exemplifies this breed of Democrat, but the group’s true poster child is Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who defended Wall Street during the 2012 controversy over Bain Capital’s plant closings (“stop attacking private equity,” he said on “Meet The Press”) and who has actually had a high-tech start-up personally bestowed on him by his Silicon Valley fans.

For Democrats such as these, Cameron’s Tories, in their support for gay marriage, their opposition to labor (and Labor) and their defense of big banks against the European Union’s efforts to regulate them, may look surprisingly simpatico. These synergies probably seem less apparent to the many thousands of Obama volunteers still active in Organizing for Action, but what do they matter? They can’t even keep their chairman from crossing the Atlantic to mock their beliefs.




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