Republican Divisions Pale In Comparison To Democratic Rifts

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: May 26, 2010 8:21 AM
Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner makes a very good point: Republicans shouldn't be the ones that are worried about the principle of "divided we fail." The Democratic Party is home to far more conflicting voter blocs than is the Republican Party, and this year, Democrats are the ones that are on the defensive.
The Democratic Party at its best is a group of disparate constituencies united in support of a common program able to win large majorities around the country, as it did in November 2008. The Democratic Party at its worst is a collection of panicked politicians engaged in civil war. Which one does it look like now?
Barone points to the Arkansas Senate election, where incumbent Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter will go into a runoff on June 8 because Halter ran to the right of the union-friendly Lincoln, causing neither candidate to earn more than 50% of the vote. Then there's Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, who is being threatened in his June 22 primary by a supporter of the health care bill. Others have also picked up on the divided-Democrat trend as well.

Does this represent the polarization of American politics, or simply the expression of a healthy Democratic system where large numbers of people can express their views? I'll go with the latter. It's a positive thing when constituents make their own choices about who they want in office as opposed to simply following their established party leaders, regardless of whether they call themselves an R or a D.