What about the Socialist Democratic wing?

What about the Socialist Democratic wing?

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with Senator Bernie Sanders, at a campaign rally in February. (Reuters)

© Reuters
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with Senator Bernie Sanders, at a campaign rally in February. (Reuters)

Last January, the United States, like the rest of the world, was a totally different place. The economy grew non-stop for a decade, the coronavirus was a Chinese problem and the followers of the senator Bernie Sanders were preparing to win the Democratic primary, beat Donald Trump and make America a kind of great multicolored Denmark. Tens of millions of Americans of all ages, from the Florida Keys to the Arizona desert, through the Rockies and the Great Plains of the Midwest, were going to throw themselves en masse into the arms of socialism. Only a retrograde or a simpleton would question this reality.But the so-called ‘Bernie bros’, the hard and vociferous wing of the Sanderista bases, accused of intimidating online or in person question the senator’s program, they did not know that the moderates of the party would prevail again. If in 2016 it was Hillary Clinton who was in charge of facing Trump, in 2020 it was Joe Biden, another member of the old guard, who has picked up the nomination baton and tries to guide progressives to victory.

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Carlos BarraganThere are two months left for the “most important elections in the history” of the United States, according to its protagonists. And Trump says he will not accept the results if he loses. What will happen if it does?

There are still a few days to see if Biden has been the right choice, but the party’s socialist ranks seem to have put aside their differences. The Vermont senator was the first to lead by example: “We need you in the White House. I’ll do everything I can to see that happen, Joe,” Bernie Sanders said during a solemn live conversation with Biden last April. .

Unlike in 2016, where Sanders grudgingly conceded Clinton’s nomination, this year the support has been immediate and apparently without doubts. Democrats of all walks of life say the stakes are much higher this time: Four years ago Donald Trump was, despite the rudeness of his campaign, something enigmatic. Now the left considers him the Antichrist: the sum of all the vices and defects of the North American system; a torpedo to the pillars of democracy, to their essences and their freedoms.

Survival or ideals

The young socialist star, the Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (known many times by its acronym, AOC), has summed up these choices in one word: survival. “Voting for Joe Biden is no longer about the extent to which you agree with him,” he said in a video uploaded to his Twitter account, just three weeks before the election. “It’s a vote to make our democracy live one more day“.

The words of the leaders are also noticeable in the streets. Socialist groups like LeftRoots, dedicated to fostering minority political participation and propagating their socialist vision, have turned to Biden’s campaign. “At this moment, defeating not only Trump, but also the forces that he represents, is task number one,” dijo al portal ‘In These Times‘Milena Velis, one of the group’s directors. “This is due to real danger that this authoritarian and white supremacist minority, who wants to take control of the country, represents for our communities. ”

Everything indicates that it is, however, a passing moment. A particular juncture in which the center and the left of the party have signed a truce to end the common enemy. Until six months ago, quarrels were common. Ocasio-Cortez herself openly said that the Democratic Party had, de facto, several parties within. “In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party,” the congresswoman declared in January. And he added that the party was “too big a tent”, with too many currents in its bosom.

Biden also had notes to make: “More than the rule, they are the exception,” he said in 2019 of the nicknamed ‘Squad’, a group of four socialist congressmen and women of color, including Ocasio-Cortez. “We need that kind of energy, but that’s not the majority of the Democrats who were elected last time.”

Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib, nicknamed the Squad in Washington.

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Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib, nicknamed the Squad in Washington.

Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib, nicknamed the Squad in Washington.

The congressional numbers seem to prove him right. Between the media strength of the socialists and their real strength there is a great distance. Solo Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez generate more interactions on Twitter than the rest of the top Democratic leaders combined and many major media outlets. Although, as David Brooks writes in ‘The New York Times’, it is only a mirage.

“The media wing of the Republican Party wants to pretend that AOC, the Squad, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the Democratic Party because he wants you to think that the democrats are a bunch of socialists“Brooks said last month.” Progressive Twitter is much further to the left than the real Democratic Party and also emphasizes AOC, Sanders and Warren because that’s what touches his heart, “when, in reality, it is only a minority fraction.

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Argemino Barro. New YorkThe most populist left has taken over the Democratic primary campaign, with “socialist” measures unthinkable a decade ago in one of the most capitalist countries in the world.

In contrast, the largest Democratic group, the ‘New Democrat Coalition’, formed by 103 members of the House of Representatives, it doesn’t usually fill the front pages or “set Twitter on fire.” Its leaders, such as Derek Kilmer, Val Demings, David Scott or Darren Soto, are often far from the headlines and controversies, but they have their hands in the mass of legislation that is discussed and passed every day.

When the current Congress took office in early 2019, none of its nine great priorities included socialist proposals. The ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘Medicare for All’ garnered their fair share of attention on the networks and on television, but have little chance of being shuffled. The Democratic leadership knows that they would never pass through the filter of the centrists, let alone the Republicans.

The day after D-Day

Even so, despite not having such a significant weight in seats, the socialist wing is the novelty, the growing, charismatic faction and with the ability to dominate the public conversation. An ideology in expansion, especially among the young, and that may come to dispute control of the party in the near future. Now there is a truce, but what will happen when the elections happen? If Biden wins, how are these currents going to collaborate? Will the Socialists have representation in the Biden cabinet? Or more pressing: what happens if Trump is re-elected?

For now, Joe Biden, despite having adopted some socialist proposals on tax or minimum wage, is marking the distance. During the summer Democratic convention, Republican figures like General Colin Powell or former Ohio Governor John Kasich enjoyed ample space to speak and explain their support for Biden. Ocasio-Cortez, on the other hand, had little more than a minute, which culminated in giving his official support to Senator “Bernard Sanders” as a candidate for the US presidency. The congresswoman explained that it was a formality, but the audiences, and especially the Democratic Party, got the message.

Biden’s campaign has promised to be “the most progressive administration since Roosevelt,” but this does not mean it includes socialists.

The Democratic candidate is primarily interested in recover the white worker vote of industrial regions in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. A traditional electorate, particularly averse to socialist ideas that can triumph in Queens or the Bronx. “Look at the history,” Biden said during a rally in Florida. “There is not a syllable that I have ever spoken that could lead you to believe that I was a socialist or a communist.” The candidate responded to Republican attacks that accuse him of being in the hands of the extreme left.

If he wins the election, Biden’s campaign has promised to be “the most progressive administration since FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt]”, but this does not mean that he includes socialists in his cabinet. His associates and possible collaborators are people who have already worked with him and Barack Obama, or moderates like Tony Bliken and the former candidate of the primaries, Pete Buttigieg. The most leftist element that is rumored is Elizabeth Warren, who doesn’t even consider herself a socialist.

If Biden loses and Donald Trump is re-elected, it is almost better not to imagine what can happen in the Democratic Party. In 2016, socialists watched Hillary Clinton bite the dust and reminded her co-religionists that Sanders would have been a better option. If history repeats itself in 2020, and the centrists score two consecutive defeats against Trump, perhaps they no longer have the same patience.


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