The Three Faces of the Democratic Party Are Coming to a Head

This article first appeared at The Orange County Register.

In the wake of President Trump’s first official State of the Union speech, and the positive momentum in the economy, the putative “party of the people” now faces a much under-addressed internal crisis. United against Trump, the factions which dominate the party increasingly operate at cross purposes.

Ultimately all parties are coalitions of disparate groups and interests. Much attention has been on the divisions within the ruling GOP — libertarians, social conservatives and populist/nationalists. But with the Democrats poised to make a comeback this year, and perhaps gain control of all three branches by 2020, perhaps it’s time to analyze divisions that may determine the extent of their ascendancy.

Three different, and often somewhat hostile, tendencies now define the Democratic Party. These include the corporate oligarchs, causists obsessed with particular hot button issues and arguably the most critical to long-term ascendency, populists, who bear much of the party’s social democratic message and legacy.

The oligarchs

Republicans still retain the allegiance of certain, older industries — pharmaceuticals, energy, home-building, agriculture and manufacturing — but the post-industrial information age moguls are almost entirely Democrats. This trend has been building since the time of Bill Clinton, and remains even more evident in the Trump era.

Much of this has to do with geography and culture. Tech, media and entertainment firms are almost entirely concentrated on either the west or east coast, where being a Republican identifies you as “uncool,” or if you dissent too openly, potentially unemployed. Heavily dependent on imported labor, these firms particularly seek to expand their already large numbers of HIB indentured servants, something Trump, and for his part Bernie Sanders, have opposed.

Under attack for their pervasive abuse of women and ignoring non-Asian minorities, these industries seek redemption by financing the anti-Trump “resistance” even as they cash in on GOP economic policies. Their increasing control of media makes their pretense seem plausible; everything from football and awards shows now come with a blatantly political agenda. Unprecedented wealth — the top five tech giants are worth together more than $3 trillion — allows these “hip” plutocrats to transcend most regulatory excess, as long as it keeps them safe from anti-trust enforcement and Bernie Sanders-style redistribution.

Read the entire piece at The Orange County Register.

Photo: Senate Democrats (Budget) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons