California’s Democratic Party is in the midst of what the mainstream media has begun to call a “civil war” as the younger, socialist-leaning “BernieCrats” challenge the older, establishment ‘corporate’ wing of the ruling party.
And former liberal firebrand Gov. Jerry Brown is emerging as the unlikely “peacemaker,” attempting to tamp down the flames of discord.
Politico’s David Sider has written a lengthy expose on “California Democrats plunge into ‘civil war,’ noting that progressives are growing increasingly frustrated as the moderate wing of the party tries to keep them in check:
Stoked by a contested race for state Democratic Party chair and the failure of a single-payer health care bill, activists are staging protests at the capitol. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon reported receiving death threats after shelving the health care legislation late last month, and security was tightened at the statehouse after activists disrupted a floor session last week.
The rancor, a spillover from the contentious Democratic presidential primary last year, is aggravating divisions in a state regarded nationally as a lodestar for the liberal cause. Establishment Democrats fear the rhetoric and appetite for new spending could go too far, jeopardizing the party’s across-the-board dominance of state politics.
All of it has taken on new significance as California embraces its role as the focal point of the anti-Trump resistance.
After a single-payer health bill was allowed to die by Assembly Speaker Rendon, progressives have been going through the stages of grief: denial, depression, and anger. Acceptance is still a long way off.
The 79 year-old governor — who has refused to sign a ban on hydraulic fracking, but did push for a $15 minimum wage and a $5 billion per year gas tax increase — has counseled patience and moderation to progressives who’ve made it clear they want a war.
Brown told Politico, “Look, you can always go too far. Trump’s obviously gone too far in one direction. It’s possible to go too far in the other direction.”
This week, Brown led by example, making compromises on the state’s rigid “cap-and-trade” program to secure possible Republican votes for its renewal.
Progressives are going the way of conservatives within the California GOP — digging in for a long, pitched battle with their party’s establishment — and not just in California.
On the national level, the far-left blog Salon is advocating: “Yes, Democrats need a civil war: Believe it or not, it’s the only real path back to power.”
Their example of how it could work? The 2016 primary, where the GOP civil war played out publicly, resulting in the victory of Donald J. Trump as President.