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OPINION: Time to Shut Out the Extremist of Both Parties

The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is a win for those in the political arena looking for governing not tied to the extremist wings of either party.

Democrats should be joyous as they control two of the three houses in Washington with an opportunity to capture the third in a state where President-elect Biden was the first Democrat to win since Bill Clinton.

But here we are, nearly a week after the Biden-Harris ticket was declared the winner—by the same metric we have used in all other modern elections—and Dems are already fighting among themselves.

The battle is between the centrist and the extreme left wing parts of the party, personified by recent interviews of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Brian Lamb of Pennsylvania.

Exemplified by North Jersey’s Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Mikie Sherrill, moderate Democrats believe not only did the party lose an opportunity to expand their majority in the House but lost seats because of extreme views such as defunding the police.

As Rep. Gottheimer said Democrats win when the issues are kitchen table topics such as healthcare and the economy. 

“On our side, we are not interested in socialism, or any talk of socialism. My colleagues have made it pretty clear that those words should not be uttered in the halls of the Democratic caucus. I think that it is critically important,” said Gottheimer. “It’s clear that we did very well with our message of healthcare and clear leadership on COVID.”

But the leaders must find a way to work with the left-wing activists of the party. The grassroots of the party enabled key victories in such states as Georgia and Arizona. They deserve a seat at the table and a larger voice when policy decisions are being made by the Democartic National Committee.

As for Republicans? The fact is they are being led by a man who always says the result was fixed if he lost or just walks away with carnage of lives and businesses in his wake. New Jerseyans know this first hand from the bankruptcy of his casino in Atlantic City to his running the USFL into the ground as owner of the New Jersey Generals.

Their baseless claims about a stolen election are corrosive to America, a continued attack on the institutions that have served the United States so well. As we have made the point before, the Republican Party is fully engulfed in Trumpism and it is not going away anytime soon. Just look at the action of Mitch McConnell who is more concerned about control of the Senate that he will not move on any COVID relief until after Georgia holds their Senate elections.

The veering to the extreme right—especially the use of language inciting right wing militias and hate groups like the Proud Boys—is not just bad for Republicans but for the country.  

The Democracy best practiced in the U.S. has been built on a two party system that looked to work together in the best interests of the nation. The truth is that one party is now run by extremists who have a nihilist view about governing and building coalitions to better the country we all love. 

If the Democratic party is not careful, this could happen to them as well.

14 comments

  1. Sorry, Rep. Gottheimer, but the Democratic base is progressive and DOES want democratic socialism. Seventy percent of Americans support Medicare for All, including many Republicans. Every incumbent Congress member who supports Medicare for All and the Green New Deal won re-election while many incumbents who don’t support it didn’t win. As for economics, we need to prioritize reversing the huge income and wealth disparity in this country. Bernie’s agenda is the way of the future.

    1. Thank you. I could not have said it better myself. Our great nation has drifted to the so far to the right that Ronald Reagan would today qualify as a lefty.

    2. Thank you, but the centrist Dems with the power would rather cave to Republicans than care for Americans!

  2. Fighting needs to stop on both sides. These people represent our country it’s a disgrace. Help the American people that is your job!

  3. Is the word “socialism” so scary? Does this rule out Social Security, Medicare, Healthcare, Education, minimum wage?
    Don’t confuse the Dictatorship of Russia and former dictatorships of El Duce and of Hitler.
    What about the democratic socialism of Scandinavian countries with higher standards of living than US?
    Don’t run a fear campaign. Don’t cater to corporate socialism.
    Ted Williamson

  4. The refusal of the republicans to accept the American people’s vote for Biden is more than disappointing, it’s disgusting, it is a demonstration of self serving, selfish thinking instead of trying to harness this virus and move forward the republicans who we elected to serve the people are serving Trumpism.the Trump administration dismantled our democracy, foreign relations, public schools,undermined immigration and turned its back on the poor, health coverage and climate change. As a Republican, I say good riddance and if our Republican representatives don’t watch out they won’t get my vote next time either.

  5. Socialism doesn’t exist. This is a term to replace communist as the next republican boogie man. I don’t see republican seniors sending back their social security checks, or denouncing their Medicare. The extremists among us have taken over the Republican Party. Even conservative Charlie Sykes says it.

  6. “Socialism” is not a curse word, nor a synonym for “communism,” as Sen Perdue of Georgia claimed mendaceously. Republicans are more than happy to “socialize” the costs of their salaries, perks, and give-aways to the have-mores on the backs of the great majority of Americans who are not affluent.

    Trump is NOT rich but has pissed away an inherited fortune and millions given to him by his father under the table, resulting in six bankruptcies. He is a welfare queen, and he and the GOP are drama queens as well.

  7. Josh buys into all the GOP B.S. Republicans have called SOCIALISM everything from public schools to Social Security and Medicare. The GOP even opposed the G.I. Bill after WWII that gave working class kids returning from the war a chance to attend college and buy a first home. Guess what they called it? Right! “SOCIALISM”. Sorry Josh got COWED by Republicans. Democrats did NOT use the word “socialism”, Republicans did so why is Josh telling Democrats not to use the word when it’s Republicans who are using it. Ask Americans about those programs and they almost all say YES WE LOVE THEM. Then ask them about “socialism” and they do not want it. The lesson is to CALL OUT Republican NOT admonish Democrats for advocating good programs Republicans call socialism!

  8. I agree with this opinion piece completely. If believe the Democrats are a centralist party that leans liberal especially in terms of social policy. The old Republican Party years ago before they went far right was a centralist party that leaned conservative. The art of moving forward was debating the differences and taking the best aspects of each argument. We should not let things evolve into a one way or the other thought process because history has proven neither side has all the answers. I always viewed the Republicans as the Party of right now, they live in the moment while the Democrats are the Party of what if, always looking forward to what could be. Protecting what’s good now yet looking how to improve the future for all is what we need to take more seriously and screaming at each other doesn’t cut it anymore.

  9. First of all…”Democracy works best when our two parties work together”? That has literally never been the case. The New Deal and Great Society (a.k.a. socialism) only happened because Democrats had the presidency, super-majorities in Congress, and favorable Supreme Courts. All of that only happened because they were actually willing to fight for these things rather than this belief in the mythical center. Could you imagine Roosevelt saying, “Now come on we really just have to work with the economic royalists who caused the Great Depression,”? No. He said, “I welcome their hatred,” and then did what he needed to do because he had the support of the people.

    What country have you been living in for the last 25 years? Do you remember the Gingrich revolution? How about anything after the first two years of Obama? How did that “oh let’s work together” crap play out? Seriously…pick up the books “Democracy in Chains” and “Daring Democracy” if you really want to learn the dire straits our democracy is in. I assure you it is far more nuanced and diabolical than the mindless simplicity of “we just need to get along again”.

    Secondly, literally ALL of the Democratic House candidates who ran on Medicare for All and all but one of who ran on the Green New Deal won their elections. The House seats the Democrats lost were all candidates who ran on this mythical centrist ideal. FACTS: The majority of Americans support Medicare for All, raising the minimum wage, doing whatever we can do fight the climate crisis, massive investments in public education and infrastructure, AND substantially raising taxes on the rich to pay for it all. Democratic socialism is the true American center. And if Democrats refuse to grow a spine and actually fight for these things, it is they, along with the rest of us, who will be consigned to the trash been of Earth’s history.

  10. I am so sick of this kind of “both-sides” mealymouthed reporting and opinion writing. The constant comparison of bigotry on the right with imagined extremism on the left is what has made the Democratic party a timid joke for at least the last 50 years. There is no equivalency. Gottheimer is wrong, and will accomplish very little with the attitude he is taking. I am very grateful for the rise of smart, courageous Democrats like AOC.

  11. To my knowledge not one Democratic candidate fro any office ran on a platform of “socialism”. OTOH a Republican Congressperson-Elect has supported the QAnon lunacy. Dems shhould have labeled every Republican with that. But Dems insist on “going high”.

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