As presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton continue to vie for Democratic donors, voters, delegates, and endorsements, a battle over their party's core dogma is also playing out.
From regulations on Wall Street to foreign policy and social welfare, their policies diverge but each has its roots in different eras of the Democratic Party. How do New Deal Democrats compare to "Clintonian" Democrats? As Thomas Frank opines in “The Guardian:”
“The figure that brought triumphant closure to that last internecine war [among Democrats] was President Bill Clinton, who installed a new kind of Democratic administration in Washington. Rather than paying homage to the politics of Franklin Roosevelt, Clinton passed trade deals that defied and even injured the labor movement, once his party’s leading constituency; he signed off on a measure that basically ended the federal welfare program; and he performed singular favors for the financial industry, the New Deal’s great nemesis.”
However, in op-ed in “The Hill,” Sanders is branded as a “neo-progressive” and “socialist” rather than a Democrat, by Joshua Block - the CEO of The Israel Project and a former Clinton administration official. He argues:
“During the Obama presidency, this rising band of isolationist neo-progs have seen their ideas nourished and been drawn to the Administration’s rationalizations for shirking America’s role as leader of the West. These deliberate choices, which Sanders applauds and would accelerate, have increased human suffering, war and famine, deepened instability, and undermined trust in global systems that we need to constrain behavior by bad actors and maintain a system of enforceable mores.”
In your opinion, how do the respective Clinton and Sanders campaigns represent the Democrats’ historical ideologies?
Peter Dreier, Professor of Political Science, Occidental College; Activist
Michael Tomasky, Editor, "Democracy" - a quarterly journal focused on the progressive movement; Contributor, “The Daily Beast”