During the last four years, the Democratic Party has been united under the theme of anti-Trump, and now, when Trump has finally fallen, the divide in Democratic Party over generational and ideological differences is imminent.
The Democratic Party consists of two wings, namely, Moderates and Progressives. These two wings have been working under the single aim of defeating Donald Trump for the last four years, and hours after Biden’s victory, fault lines have again started to emerge between these two wings.
Moderate Democrats claim credit for Biden’s victory in the Midwestern states that won him the presidency and did the same for President Trump in 2016.
Progressives believe that they brought President Joe Biden ahead in the Democratic primaries and won him the swing states with their climate change agenda and healthcare.
This tug of war in such a situation when President Trump is still reluctant to concede is a newly emerging challenge for President-elect Biden that he has to overcome to form an effective government. and it can create a divide in Democratic party
In this article, we will discuss how Biden will rule with a divided Democratic party and explore the reasons behind the basic differences among these wings of the party.
Eliminating a divide in Democratic Party: A Challenge for Biden:
President-elect Joe Biden will inherit a divided country facing COVID-19 and economic loss, along with a divided Democratic Party. His first challenge will be to eliminate an imminent divide in Democratic party, after which he would be able to unite the country to fight the challenges being faced.
Democrats at this time need to look for the answer to why they were not able to get an absolute majority in the House of Representatives and why the Senate probably will remain in Republican hands.
Biden and his administration will have to take some extreme measures to reverse the damage done during the Trump era. This task cannot be achieved with a divide in Democratic Party, which does not hold a majority in the Senate, and will likely need help from the Republican Party in the House of Representatives.
The imminent Divide in Democratic Party:
Many moderate Democrats spent the last week blaming progressives for taking the party too much to the left. Progressives should pursue policies like healthcare for all. The division between these two wings is ideological and generational.
They hold separate ideologies of what to do and what not to do.
Moderate Democrats blame the progressive members for the party’s disappointing performance in congressional races. They believe that the Democratic government should focus on urgent issues like COVID-19 and the economy before moving on to progressive issues like healthcare and climate change.
At this point, it would not be wrong to say that from the very beginning, Biden’s campaign was charged with the help of progressive issues and helped him secure victory in the Midwestern industrial states.
At the same time, moderate Democrats played a pivotal role in swing states with promises to get the economy back on track and fighting the virus with a scientific approach.
Representative Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, who is a moderate, said that many people in his constituency do not like the idea of defunding the police and prefer fixing the core problem before moving towards jobs or energy.
In her statement after Biden was declared the winner, Senator Elizabeth Warren said that the party has the mandate to go for the bold plans ”to meet these twin health and economic crisis.”
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading figure of the progressive wing, said in her phone interview that the incoming administration ought to be a balanced one to send a “very powerful message on the intention to govern.”
This division among the party members has raised concerns on several campaign promises, including climate change legislation, expanding the Supreme Court, and a progressive healthcare policy.
Republican Dominated Senate: Another Challenge for Biden:
In addition to the crystallized division within his party, Biden and his administration will also have a hard time in the Senate, as the Republican Party currently holds control of the Senate.
However, this situation could be altered if the Democrats manage to win the Georgia runoffs in January. Nevertheless, if the party does not manage to win those seats, Biden will surely face a hell of a time during his presidency, as Republicans will take revenge for the historic defeat they suffered in the presidential elections.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are looking for cooperative Republicans to get their bills passed from the upper house of Congress. Their biggest fear is the current Senate majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, could retain the position of the majority leader and maintain a significant role in the Senate.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, during a phone interview with NBC News, hinted that McConnell would create an “instantaneous constitutional crisis” by blocking Biden’s attempt to appoint cabinet members.
Although McConnell has hinted that he would like to see a cooperative atmosphere in the Senate, Democrats are still skeptical about him. Still, things may work out as Biden himself holds good relations on both sides of the Senate, with an experience of a Senator himself for decades. Additionally, as vice president, Biden was successful in getting several policy deals from McConnell.
Progressives demand “big roles” in the Biden administration
President-elect Joe Biden has not yet made it clear who will serve in his administration. Meanwhile, the emails and phones of his allies are filled with messages from Democrats looking for roles in the administration.
Most of these messages are coming from the progressive wing, who claims that they got the presidency for Joe Biden and should be given big roles in his administration.
The Progressive Change Institute, with the help of Senator Elizabeth Warren, has sent a list of 400 names that the president-elect should consider for key roles in his administration.
Progressive group Justice Democrats and other organizers like the Sunrise Movement have also sent lists of names for administrative officers.
These groups are also calling for the formation of a White House Office of Climate Mobilization. Biden has pledged not to include corporate interests and lobbyists in his administration as an attempt to move away from the Trump administration’s friendly relations with large business owners.
However, the president-elect also desires to have people with White House experience to face the current challenges.
Bridging the gaps between the deeply divide wings of the Democratic Party:
Biden needs to come up with a balanced administration that will have members from both the progressive and the moderate wing to run things smoothly. A divide in the party will not be a good thing at a time when there is the need for immediate actions with a Senate that remains in the Republicans’ hands.
Some moderate Democrats are suggesting facing the issue by adopting the policies from both sides. The former governor of Pennsylvania suggests that the first thing President-elect needs to do is raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, as both sides will surely agree on this.
Experts also suggest that by making urgent issues like the pandemic a priority, Biden may save the party. Others say that the pressure will continue to develop no matter what Biden does.
President-elect Joe Biden made it clear that his administration will be diverse regarding race, sex, color, and ethnicity, but the progressives are pushing for key roles, making the situation complicated.
Amid all the divide in Democratic Party, Biden will have to find a way to take both wings of his party on board to save any kind of divide in the party, as he will need support from every side to face the challenges that he will face immediately after Inauguration Day.