After weeks of struggle amongst Senators, mainly Democrats appeasing their moderate counterparts, President Joe Biden signed into law the 1.9 trillion dollar COVID-19 stimulus bill on March 11th, 2021. This came after moderate Democrats in the Senate, such as Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), struggled to settle with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) over the fifteen-dollar minimum wage add-on to the bill.
The add-on was not popular and had eight Democratic Senators and all 50 Republicans opposing the bill, meaning it did not pass at 42-58. In the end, Sanders’ add-on was removed and the moderates all voted in favor of the bill, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote to make it a 51-50 win.
The fallout from the week led to many of Sanders’ and the more progressive—or dare I say radical—wing of the party to act out against the senators who voted no on Sanders’s add-on.
The major problem the farther left has is they are so unbelievably politically ineffective. They called to “primary” people, like Manchin and Sinema, who hold valuable seats for the Democrats in the Senate. Both are Democrats in Republican states: when a Justice Democrats (Progressive Political Action Committee) backed candidate ran in the West Virginia Democratic Senate primary race, Paula Jean Swearinger was blown out by a margin of 70%-30%. The answer is not to primary moderate Dems in purple states, it is to win more seats in the 2022 midterms to where you do not rely on Joe Manchin’s vote in the Senate.
This is also quite possible: the president has a 57% approval rating, and the Democrats are only defending fourteen seats in the Senate in 2022, compared to the 20 the Republicans are defending. Senator Pat Toomey’s seat is a must grab for the Dems here in the great state of Pennsylvania.
When the farther left wing leans into primarying moderate Dems, they have only shown the capability to win in districts such as NY-14 district of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez where Democrats usually win by 40+ points.
Congresswoman Abigail Spangenberger was leaked on a call after election day talking about buzzwords such as “socialism,” “ACAB,” and “defund the police,” all phrases parroted by those on the far left and an active detriment to any moderate Dem trying to win in any swing district. They also actively hurt the movement towards their goals when they let Republicans take seats in our legislative bodies.
If the progressive wing wants to implement the change they believe will help Americans in their everyday lives such as Senator Sanders’ fifteen-dollar minimum wage, they must figure out how to actively engage with the Democratic Party without being a detriment to the goals of the Party itself.