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As the GOP unites behind Trump, the Democrats are sliding into chaos

Hillary leaves behind a party split between a go-left movement and hold-the-line centrism

As the GOP unites behind Trump, the Democrats are sliding into chaos

It’s a time­less max­im of polit­ics: Hold­ing power masks a party’s in­tern­al di­vi­sions and con­flicts. It’s a les­son that Re­pub­lic­ans learned all too well dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, with rest­less tea-party act­iv­ists chal­len­ging the scler­ot­ic party es­tab­lish­ment—capped by sev­er­al high-pro­file mem­bers fall­ing in primar­ies to un­likely in­sur­gents. And it’s a les­son that Demo­crats are learn­ing all too pain­fully now, as the party is splin­ter­ing, with pro­gress­ive of­fi­cials (such as Bernie Sanders, Eliza­beth War­ren, and Keith El­lis­on) ur­ging the party to move even fur­ther left, while more-prag­mat­ic voices (such as Tim Ry­an) beg the party to re­tool its mes­sage so it can bet­ter ap­peal to work­ing-class whites.

What’s re­mark­able is that the es­tab­lish­ment-vs.-tea-party fights that di­vided the GOP for the past sev­en years have dis­sip­ated since the po­lar­iz­ing Don­ald Trump was elec­ted pres­id­ent. Even in­transigent con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers are in­clined to fall in line be­hind the pres­id­ent-elect. The Free­dom Caucus, which routinely held es­tab­lish­ment Re­pub­lic­ans to task for com­prom­ising con­ser­vat­ive prin­ciples, now sounds will­ing to em­brace Trump’s big-spend­ing pro­pos­als for in­fra­struc­ture. After threat­en­ing Paul Ry­an with a lead­er­ship chal­lenge be­fore the elec­tion, Free­dom Caucus mem­bers quickly ral­lied be­hind the House speak­er after Trump’s vic­tory. The pop­u­list en­ergy they channeled when out of power is now in Trump’s hands, and if they chal­lenged the pres­id­ent-elect, it would turn against them.

Con­sider Sen. Or­rin Hatch’s re­newed in­terest in seek­ing reelec­tion. Con­ser­vat­ive groups tried to chal­lenge Hatch in the 2012 primary, and to pla­cate the op­pos­i­tion, he sug­ges­ted that he would re­tire at the end of his term. Now, Hatch is spe­cific­ally cit­ing Trump’s vic­tory as reas­on why he should seek an eighth term in of­fice.

And it’s not just Hatch. Ted Cruz can breathe easi­er. Rep. Mike Mc­Caul, who con­sidered chal­len­ging him in a primary, is now fo­cused on the pos­sib­il­ity of join­ing the Trump cab­in­et. Sen. Bob Cork­er, as es­tab­lish­ment as Re­pub­lic­ans come, has got­ten a polit­ic­al boost back home in Ten­ness­ee after be­ing men­tioned as a pos­sible sec­ret­ary of State.

Demo­crats will now be ex­per­i­en­cing the in­tra­party hos­til­ity that dogged Re­pub­lic­ans. House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi re­ceived an early warn­ing sign when 63 of her col­leagues voted against her in a sur­pris­ingly com­pet­it­ive lead­er­ship fight against Tim Ry­an. The battle for the Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee chair­man­ship is already di­vis­ive, with the early front-run­ner (El­lis­on) turn­ing off Jew­ish groups and some labor uni­ons with his far-left re­cord.

This article continues at [National Journal] Republican Divisions Dissipate Now That They’re In Charge

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