In the meantime, the question is: Will the Democrats take advantage of this opportunity for change?
The movement that is forming in opposition to President Trump and the far-right is far-reaching, broad, and diverse. However, in order for that to amount to significant Democratic gains (and hopefully working majorities that can make progress), the leadership of the party must allow local candidates some space to reflect on what constituents want and build coalitions of support that reflect the diversity of the movement that is upon us. This not only improves the quality of representation for the constituents of that particular state or district, it also creates more opportunities for Democrats to compete all across the country. As I’ve written before, the issue of party litmus tests could end up being one of the biggest momentum killers during what should be a good year for Democrats. For example, I personally think Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia represents the people of that state very well and, on a high percentage of the issues, he works well with the Democratic Caucus. Yet, there are Democrats who want him out of the party because he doesn’t toe the line as religiously as some want. Taking this approach going forward only reduces any chance of taking control of Congress and making much-needed political progress in the so-called “red states.”
The word that President Bill Clinton will not be welcome at any Democratic candidate event out of fear that it might signal that Democrats are not going to be pure on recently emerging issues, I also find to be unnecessary. If some candidates see it that way, then those candidates should not invite him. But a blanket statement of “you’re not welcome,” takes away from many quality candidates a voice that just might be the difference between victory and defeat. Obviously, there are examples of his inappropriate behavior that in no way should be supported. But examples of questionable activity from the far past and charges that have had no real confirmation should not lead to a rush to judgment or a complete disowning, especially in cases where Democratic policies have positively impacted people's lives.
Over my years in politics, one word I’ve heard to describe the far left contingent of the Democratic Party is “kamikaze.” Now, I would say the comparison goes a bit far in literal terms, but the basic point has played out many times, where the left has pushed on positions and attacked more centrist Democrats as traitors to the cause. They would rather lose, it seems, than be seen as making a compromise that could lead to larger caucuses and much better results. I have no problem being pushed and educated from the left on issues, but when we’ve compromised to help bring everyone along, then Democrats should use that position to reach out to significant blocks of voters that can make the difference between victory and defeat. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory leaves a bad taste.