Last week a liberal pundit criticized President Trump for speaking at the annual Right to Life March. That’s a little odd since it implies that while people who oppose abortion are dividing America, while those who favor abortion unite us. Well, that’s not so much odd as it is plain silly. “Divisive” is used as a political accusation because there appear to be lots of voters who have a vague, amiable yearning to see the American population working together for common goals. It doesn’t work in real life, because of a commonplace observation among the political pundits that America is sharply divided between Trumpophiliacs and Trumpophobes. There are many reasons for disagreement between these two factions about goals, but the one about which they can never agree is whether the man should be re-elected, or imprisoned.
So the “you’re divisive…no you’re divisive” charges and counter-charges are mostly meaningless rhetoric. The word, however, is applicable when divisions arise within a group, not between different groups. Last week the New York Times published “A Major Fear for Democrats: Will the Party Come Together by November?” The article reflects the findings from over 50 interviews with Democratic voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Conclusion? A number of those interviewed were seriously uncomfortable with the choices available at this stage of the race. There is a clear reluctance among some to vote for candidate whom they found too liberal, or too centrist.
The NYT reporter, Jonathan Martin, concluded that most Democrats hope that the incendiary loathing for Donald J. Trump will rally support behind the eventual nominee. He turns to Kathleen Sebelius, former Kansas governor, daughter of a former governor of Ohio, and Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2009 until 2014 to sum up the problem. “This primary is a reflection of the politics of the country at large,” she explained. “There are clearly differences among people who still feel incremental change is the best way of getting things done, and folks who say we need more to pursue more radical change.” She admits she would be worried if the Democrats didn’t have hatred for Trump as a rallying cry. Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking House Democrat issued this warning to all his party comrades: “Nobody can afford to get so angry because your first choice did not win. If you stay home in November, you are going to get Trump.”
There we have the paradox which we should spend a couple minutes to savor. Donald Trump, who the liberals have denounced and damned repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly for dividing our country is the man they rely on to unite the Democratic Party. And yes, that’s the same Donald Trump who cast a spell that has united the Republican party so decisively that he faces no serious primary opponent.
Some progressive opinion-makers clearly fear party unity if it gathers around Senator Bernie Sanders. Last week the NYT’s star columnist, the ever-venomous Paul Krugman, wrote a flaming denunciation of the ever-venomous Vermont socialist. I quote “There has always been an ugly edge to some of Sanders’s support, a faction of followers who denounce anyone raising questions about his positions — even Warren! — as a corrupt capitalist shill. Until now, however, you could argue that Sanders himself wasn’t responsible for the bad behavior of some of his supporters. You can’t make that argument now. The dishonest smears and the doubling down on those smears are coming from the top of the Sanders campaign; even if they aren’t coming directly out of Sanders’s mouth, he could and should have stopped them. The fact that Sanders isn’t apologizing to Biden and replacing the people responsible says uncomfortable things about his character.”
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll seems to show Biden and Sanders in the lead nationally, with Warren, Buttigieg and others now clearly behind. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning registered voters, Biden is favored by 32 percent with Sanders at 23 percent.
This is ominous news for Democrats who fear that a Sanders primary victory could lead to a general election disaster. Biden may have a temporary lead but his campaign fumbling must cause a great deal of anxiety.
Even as they hammer their competitors the candidates all swear that they will rally around the winner of the primary. I cannot speak for their sincerity, but I’m on solid ground in saying that they don’t wish to burn their bridges ahead of them. They will need party unity to win a general election and they know it.
A recent Emerson College poll found that only 53 percent of current Bernie voters said they would definitely support another Democratic nominee. This reflects the commitment of liberals (a.k.a. “progressives,” a.k.a. “socialists,” a.k.a., “social justice warriors”) to ideological goals, as opposed to a particular party. Readers don’t need to rely on newspapers reporters, or me, to find out about these fanatics. Check these three webpages:
JusticeDemocrats.com, founded after the 2016 defeat that they blamed on Hillary.
ourrevolution.com, this was created by people who ran Sanders 2016 campaign.
democracyforamerica.com, founded in 2004 by former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean.
All three of these organizations spend most of their energies attacking those they choose to call “corporate democrats.” Their preferred targets, in other words, are not Republicans but incumbent Democrats. They aim to reshape the Democratic Party in order to reshape America.
John Frary of Farmington is a former candidate for U.S. Congress, a retired history professor, an Emeritus Board Member of Maine Taxpayers United, a Maine Citizen’s Coalition Board member, and publisher of FraryHomeCompanion.com. He can be reached at [email protected]

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