Over the last couple of years, there is one common passion that all Democrats seem to share: Donald Trump is really bad for this country. Beyond that, the Democratic Party appears to be a convoluted mess, as evident at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego last weekend, Feb. 23-25. Even 25-year-veteran U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein couldn’t rally enough votes from the convention delegates to win the party’s endorsement, losing to State Senate President Kevin De Leon, 1508-1023.
While the event didn’t spark much controversy, major seats, including governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and U.S. Senate didn’t receive a high enough percentage of votes — 60 percent — to get the official endorsement of the party. The problem: highly impassioned candidates apparently won’t yield for the good of the party. Worse, in a top-two vote-getting system, Democratic hopefuls may split the vote and give up seats to Republicans. Daraka Larimore-Hall, vice chair of the state Democratic Party, told candidates who received less than 10 percent of the votes at the convention: “If you step aside today to make sure we don’t send two Republicans to the general, you will be my hero.”
But this state of disarray is even more dismaying for Democrats, given a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, which had Feinstein leading De Leon for the June primary, 46 percent to 17 percent, among California voters. If there is one thing we have learned, it’s that delegates’ votes matter.
On a local level, the fracture within the party is also evident, with older, more moderate Democrats butting heads with young liberal Democrats, the proverbial Hillary-versus-Bernie-crats. A willingness and actualization of compromise and understanding of each other’s points of view seems to be low on the priority list, at least when discussing infighting at party meetings. Unfortunately, there is a very real disconnect among baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials. The opportunities for improving the quality of life have changed substantially but there is a series of blame-game antics going on, where older generations seem to think younger generations aren’t trying hard enough to succeed. And that is where the fight continues to divide what was the party for the people.
Good leadership has often been recognized by the ability of one person to unify a group of people. At this time, the future of the Democratic Party seems shaky at best. A house divided will fall. The question is, what or who will it take to get both the moderate and liberal Democrats to unite? Perhaps only another embarrassing loss will shake up the party to force both sides to find a realistic compromise.