You know there’s truly a bit of a civil war brewing inside the Democratic Party if you can hear calls from leading liberals for its storied leadership to step aside.
Washington Post columnist and outspoken progressive Dana Milbank is by no means the only one sounding the alarm, but his recent case for why it should happen, made in one of his most recent columns, is one of the most direct challenges to the existing party leadership.
Milbank suggests that the advanced ages of the key Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives…Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim Clyburn…are an element of the Democrats’ problem. His point there is that they’ve long ridden shotgun on a party happy to have fully immersed itself in cultural and identity politics, and that in order for the party to regroup, it is in need of new leadership that re-prioritizes economic populism.
On that note, Milbank, in his piece, expresses some appreciation for the challenge of Ohio’s Tim Ryan to Pelosi’s position as head of the House Democrats. While a law school grad, Ryan’s orientation is that of a classic, Midwest, blue-collar white guy…the very demographic that has long been on the outside, looking in on the Democratic Party.
Both Ryan and Milbank see economic populism as a message that was lost long ago by Democrats, and economic populism is the primary language spoken by the aforementioned blue-collar white guy.
Hillary Clinton essentially crowed that she was going to put coal workers on the unemployment lines. Ryan? He goes in exactly the opposite direction, saying that Dems need to “get rid of the perception, that we’re tied to Wall Street, that we’re coastal elites and that we’re more concerned with the donor class than the working class.”
Will Democrats, at large, pay attention? Only time will tell.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large