In the fall of 2016, the political ground shifted. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. At the time, political commentators on both sides of the aisle predicted how that would affect the Republican Party for years to come. And for the most part, they were absolutely correct. Since Trump took office, the Republican Party more or less coalesced around Trumpism. Sure, there were some Republicans who distanced themselves and even publicly rebuked the President, but fast forward to today, and you can probably count on one hand how many of the Trump policies are not currently embraced by the Republican Party.
The reason for this is largely due to the way the Republican Party is organized. Political commentator Nate Silver once broke the Republican Party into five groups: Moderate, Establishment, Christian Conservative, Libertarian, and Tea Party. The thing about Donald Trump was that he was able to appeal to each classification in some way. None of these groups thought that Trump was the perfect candidate, but he appealed enough to each of them that he was able to gain their trust and mold the party into his image.
This is much the same way that President Obama was able to unify the Democrats. That same Nate Silver analysis divided the Democratic Party into its own five groups: Party Loyalists, The Left, Millennials, Black Voters, and Hispanic and Asian Voters. Barak Obama had this same unique ability to appeal to all of these groups in some way. In fact, he was probably better at coalescing his party around him than Trump was.
The problem is that ever since Obama left office, the Democratic Party has been unable to replicate his magic. The Democrats claim diversity as one of their key strengths. However, it is also one of their key liabilities. When you have a generational talent like Obama running the show, he can unite the extremely diverse sectors. But ever since his departure, that cohesion has obviously splintered. The Left and the Millennials have merged to some degree, while there has been a sharp decline of support from the Black, Hispanic, and Asian voters, especially since President Biden took office.
But this deep fracturing of the Democratic Party can lead to another problem down the road. Joe Biden is seen as a moderate, especially by his party’s Left. This has become extremely clear over the last few months, starting with his tempered responses to gun control and abortion rights, and continuing last week with his warm embrace of Israel and his visit to Saudi Arabia. Combine this with his dismal approval ratings, and there is not only a clamoring for change in the country, but in Democratic leadership.
Following this logic, if the moderate leader is not working out, Democrats are not going to look for another moderate replacement at the top. The next leader of the Democrats will have to be someone very different from Joe Biden – someone who represents the anger of the Democratic Party. Someone who will yell and scream and get angry and rally the base behind something more than just the fact that they hate Republicans.
Democrats need their own Trump.
That’s the weird outcome of a failed Biden presidency. The next successful Democrat will likely be someone who will do to the Democratic Party that which Trump did to the Republicans. And judging from how Democrats are lambasting Biden these days, that’s exactly what they are looking for: Someone who will reflect the anger of the base, and someone who is much more to the Left of center than Biden is.
If Joe Biden were a good president with a high approval rating, the Democratic Party would be able to embrace its moderate wing. His failure pushes them further to the Left. And those Republicans out there screaming that Joe Biden has not governed as a moderate fail to realize that in comparison to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Gavin Newsom, and Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden is almost conservative. The failure of Biden as a president will have as drastic long-term effects on the Democratic Party as the Trump presidency is currently having on Republicans.
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.