By Joe Sixpack
President Donald Trump touched a few third rails during his State of the Union (SOTU) address. He also dared utter one word which showed the American people the nexus where the old and new Democratic Party meet.
That word? Socialism.
When Trump boomed, “America will never be a Socialist country”, one side of the aisle stood and applauded loudly. The Democratic establishment – represented by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remained seated while half-heartedly applauding, as if they were sitting on a fence. On one side of the fence sits a significant percentage of their voting bloc, which openly supports Socialism. On the other side of the fence sits the Reagan Democrat base that has not yet defected to Trump.
The modern-day Democratic Party is represented by Socialists Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, otherwise referred to as AOC, who could be seen sitting on their hands, scowling when President Donald Trump spoke those words. The Washington Post posted a humorous video compilation of blank stares and fidgeting as Democrats gave a noble attempt not to listen to the address.
If Trump did anything in his speech, he visibly demonstrated the proverbial wedge being driven through his opposing party.
The 2016 presidential election seemed to give birth to this disparity. Socialist Sanders shockingly did so well in the primary against Hillary Clinton that charges of fraud were levied against the DNC itself, headed at the time by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and for a short time, Donna Brazile. Hillary Clinton certainly didn’t foresee someone like Sanders capturing the imagination of so many young Democrats, many of whom don’t know the difference between social media and Socialism. Bernie Sanders, an aging and always disheveled-looking Socialist, inspired millions of young people.
In fact, according to the Washington Post, more young people voted for Sanders than for Clinton and Trump combined, and by a huge margin.
Those who were “feeling the Bern” very much resented what they perceived as a rigged process but most eventually fell in line with their Party and voted for Clinton.
However, one of the people seemingly given political birth by that process was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a very young and charismatic politician who – like Sanders – openly embraces Socialism. Sherebuked Trump for attacking her ideology as the old guard tried to straddle that fence. Oops, did I are say fence?
Like it or not, ‘OAC’ is capturing the attention of those same young Socialist Democrats Bernie inspired in 2016. Only this time, if it be possible, there appears to be even more anger among that base.
The establishment Democrats know this. But knowing something and knowing what to do about something are two entirely different matters.
Rest assured that young Socialists did not like the fact that Schumer and Pelosi applauded a call to reject Socialism. And the Reagan Democrats did not like the fact that the new OAC Democrats didn’t stand. The ‘wall’ between them was palpable.
If there is one thing the Democratic Party has constantly prided itself on, it’s the ability to close ranks and always present a unified front against its opposition. In fact, up until now, they’ve been much better at this than the Republicans.
However, what Trump did in his speech – even if unwittingly – was highlight and more deeply drive the wedge that is dividing the Democratic Party like nothing has before.
That wedge is separating a Democratic establishment that espouses Socialism in closed quarters from a youthful contingent that is demanding for Socialism be shouted from rooftops.
Meanwhile, President Trump and the Republican Party continue their ever-more-entrenched position that Socialism sucks money from the pockets of working Americans. Time will tell how many centrists will tilt toward the OAC wing of the Democrat Party or the newly united Republican Party in lockstep with Trump’s clarion call of: “Here in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country…America was founded on liberty and independence… We are born free, and we will stay free.”