Symposium 2016: Former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman cautions that the Democratic Party needs to find a leader who will keep it from being completely overtaken by the far left wing of the party. Should tried and true Democrats prevent this kind of takeover, or should they simply let the party further deteriorate into something far more left wing?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent- As we’ve seen with the Republican party in recent years, change in party philosophy begins more at the grassroots level than with party leadership. The core Republican is now much more conservative than he or she was a few decades ago. And we shouldn’t forget that back in the first half of the 20th Century, Republicans were the more dovish of the two major parties, reluctant to go to war during both World Wars.

The Democrats have also changed over the decades. They used to have a strong base in the South and were popular with whites until the Civil Rights era. Now the party has more representation among minorities and white Southerners have more or less abandoned the party.

Leaning to the far left is also nothing new to the Democrats. Even though the Kennedy and Johnson administrations got the country mired in the Viet Nam War, peace-loving Democrats rebelled against the party establishment. This resulted in the 1968 Democratic convention protest and riots in Chicago and led to the nomination of one of the more far-left presidential candidates, George McGovern, and spurred a movement by ultra-left candidate Eugene McCarthy.

Democratic leaders will do whatever it takes to maintain maximum party membership, so if most Democrats begin to lean farther to the left as a reaction to more conservative Republican positions, the party will move farther left.

As both sides become more polarized, there will likely be the ascension of a viable third party comprised of the moderate factions of Democrats and Republicans. This party may eventually ascend to dominance and reduce the Democrats and Republicans to role players in American politics. If the Democrats want to remain valid, the party leadership should do everything it can to include more mainstream American voters.

 

Gastonia, NC Correspondent- Both parties are in serious danger right now of being taken over by their extremist wings.  While the tea party has largely shot its bolt and is fading, other far-right forces are pulling the GOP off course.  Lieberman is dead right about the Democrats as well, with the Black Lives Matter bunch and various environmentalist and other very loud but largely substance-free groups sinking their hooks into the body politic and heaving the donkeys hard left.  What will happen, I do sincerely hope, is the emergence of a viable third party to occupy the vacuum left in the center.  The Democrats in the post-Clinton/Obama era have an absence of leadership that will embolden the radicals, and I honestly don’t see anyone on their slate with the force of will and personality to stop the swing.

 

Prescott  Valley, AZ Correspondent- If tried and true Democrats want to remain a political force or continue to exist, they must find a leader who will keep the party from being overtaken by the far left wing of the party. If the party is allowed to further deteriorate, it will most likely be finished or descend into something unrecognizable and ultra radical.

A far left takeover can be stymied when Democrats come to the realization that they actually need a centrist leader who will defy the cries of the far left, clean up the party and lead with reform and reorganization in mind as well as admit to its past and present indiscretions and conflicts.  The party has faced serious issues in its long history and existence, and it simply has to own up to its citizen voters and the rest of the country as  to what has occurred  within the party  and how party members and leaders  can come together to resolve these problems.

Finding a leader competent and strong enough to do all that will be difficult as the Democrat party simply cannot resign itself to the facts and truths about its party’s past and the changes that have occurred within its ranks.  Any future leader will have to make amends with its party members and followers and admit to its mistakes and break the bonds with special interests, the corporate world, Wall Street investors, bankers, lobbyists, and other interests that may have enriched the party but have damaged its reputation as a party of the people.  Party leaders have abandoned working people in order to serve wealthy, white-collar professionals. That broken alliance was a major mistake and probably cost Democrats the 2016 election.

The Democrat party is at a crossroads and Democrats from the old school of thought are asking, “What does the Democratic Party stand for now? At the present, it stands for whatever any Democrat is asked, and that answer ranges from “nothing,” to “the party of inclusion,” “justice for all,” “progress,” “changes that America needs now,” and other similar symbolic replies.  The party has no clear cut agenda but has rather chosen to identify itself with the concept of “goodness.”

Without a clear program, an investment in competence, organization and management, and an effective leader to pull it all together, there is little incentive for current party members and potential party members to buy into what the party has been promoting in a symbolic and figurative way. Without a brass tacks platform and agenda that has some meat to it that people can understand, participate in and support, there is minimal hope of an instantaneous comeback of the Democrat Party.

With the current Democrat party consisting of mostly progressives, centrists, and a small minority of conservative Democrats, the party’s philosophy continues to be one that promotes modern liberalism, social and economic equality attached to an ever growing welfare state. Government intervention and regulation of the economy are high priorities as are social programs, free to affordable college tuition, universal health care, and consumer and environmental protection, all of which have done little but cause deeper debt, overzealous regulating, welfare program dependency, demoralization of the middle class, and favoritism to corporate constituencies.

The Democrat’s negligence to honor its original motto of “the Party of the People” and its lack of compassion and support of the working class, in favor of the support of wealthy corporate elites  should be  giving them a lot of worry and concern.  Without new leadership input and talent, they are likely to continue on the same unclear path promoting their symbolic good intentions minus the necessary sacrifices that come with rebuilding a party and winning elections.

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