As the primary season for the 2020 Presidential election has rolled off to such an early start, I’ve done a lot of reading and thinking about what seems to be two factions of the Democratic Party and where I fit in to the current state of the Party. The media says that we have broken apart into the progressive left and the moderate centrist wings of the party. I bought that at first. Until I talked to some of both my progressive and moderate friends and examined my own beliefs. I don’t see those factions as clearly as others tend to see them.
Take myself as an example. I’m a baby boomer and we’re less likely to be progressives (they say) than millennials. For example, I don’t label myself as a Democratic Socialist as the Bernie Sanders people, and some of the other progressives do. I don’t believe in the idea of guaranteed incomes, for example, which one of the candidates does. I’m a capitalistic and strongly believe that everyone should work for their money. Even if you are ill or disabled, the power of the internet gives you the power to work from home unless you are very ill. I also don’t believe in late-term abortion. But mostly, I don’t believe in the label “Democratic Socialist.”
I went to school for a long time and ended up teaching business. I define the word “socialist” very strictly. There is but one definition of socialism. It is an economic system where the government owns the means of production as opposed to companies owning the means of production. To call yourself a socialist because you believe in programs to help the elderly and the disadvantaged is misusing the term. Even if you throw in your desire for free college and Medicare for all, you are still not a “Democratic Socialist” unless you believe in the government owning the means of production. You are simply a liberal Democrat. The liberal Democrats who are labeling themselves are contributing to a party split.
The Democrats have a lot of candidates to choose from this primary season. Some of the moderate candidates may have a more restrictive agenda than some of the progressive candidates. For example, if I were running for President, I probably could not endorse free college tuition. There isn’t enough money in the federal budget at this time. I could support parts of the Green New Deal, but probably not all of it. However, I could support Medicare for all. I suspect that many of the candidates think like I do.
Right now, I see two issues emerging that may determine the outcome of the primary. The first is who can beat Donald Trump. If we don’t nominate a candidate who can do that, then all the rest is lost. Second, health care is once again emerging as an important issue. Of course, Trump’s big, beautiful wall (barf) is always an issue.
I plead with you not to make an artificial split in our party. Our number one goal should be to stick together and defeat Donald Trump. If our party is split, we won’t be able to do that.
Just my two cents. What’s yours?