Democrats are facing a widening breach in their party, as liberal activists dream of transforming the health care system and impeaching President Trump, while candidates in hard-fought elections ask wary voters merely for a fresh chance at governing.
The growing tension between the party’s ascendant militant wing and Democrats competing in conservative-leaning terrain, was on vivid, split-screen display over the weekend. In Chicago, Senator Bernie Sanders led a revival-style meeting of his progressive devotees, while in Atlanta, Democrats made a final push to seize a traditionally Republican congressional district.
It may be essential for Democrats to reconcile the party’s two clashing impulses if they are to retake the House of Representatives in 2018. In a promising political environment, a drawn-out struggle over Democratic strategy and ideology could spill into primary elections and disrupt the party’s path to a majority.
On the one hand, progressives are more emboldened than they have been in decades, galvanized by Mr. Sanders’s unexpected successes in 2016 and empowered by the surge of grass-roots energy dedicated to confronting an unpopular president and pushing the party leftward.
Mr. Sanders rallied his youthful, often-raucous coalition Saturday night at a gathering named the “People’s Summit,” where supporters hailed him in worshipful language. One Colorado couple hauled a small banner through the hangar-size McCormick Place, pleading with Mr. Sanders, a still-independent Vermont senator, to create a new “People’s Party.”
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