The conventional wisdom is that the Republican Party is badly divided between Tea Party insurgents and the “Establishment.” And while there is some truth to this, consider the following question: What happens to the Democratic Party in 2016 if Hillary Clinton decides not to run? My answer: chaos and ideological infighting you haven’t seen inside the Democratic Party since its suicide attempt in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
On the surface, no one besides Joe Biden (insert guffaw here) is in position to mount a serious campaign at this point. Where are the Democratic governors waiting in the wings to mount a serious campaign? Maryland’s Martin O’Malley is on a short list of one. But we’re just not going to elect another Irishman to succeed O’bama. Okay, that was a corny joke. O’Malley’s real problem is his liberalism. From there you think of Elizabeth Warren, who according to recent polls generates excitement among the Democratic Party base like no one since George McGovern. Oh please, make it so.
But the better evidence of how the Democratic Party could come to blows comes from California, which right now rivals China for one-party control. Never mind the three Democratic state senators all heading for the hoosegow for corruption: the bigger story is how Democratic ethnic factions are viciously turning on one another:
Weeks after some Asian-American lawmakers killed a measure to restore affirmative action in California’s public colleges by withdrawing their support, backlash from Democrats who supported the effort is surfacing in the Capitol and on the campaign trail.
Repercussions of the Legislature’s decision last month to shelve Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 appear to be pitting some African American and Latino Democrats against their Asian American colleagues. Asian American Democrats were the subject of an intense advocacy campaign by opponents of affirmative action, and their decision not to support the measure caused it to fail last month.
Today, several members of the Legislature’s black and Latino caucuses withheld their votes on a non-controversial bill, killing the measure by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi. Last week, six black and Latino Democrats sent Sen. Ted Lieu a letter withdrawing their endorsement in his race for Congress. Muratsuchi and Lieu are both Asian Americans and Democrats from Torrance.
There is no way out of this for Democrats. Once you believe that the pie is fixed and has to be divvied up by the state, eventually you’ll have to turn on one another.