Dems lining up in a circular firing squad

There is strong evidence today that the Democrats are heading for a crack-up.  Their coalition of identity politics groups is held together only by the desire for power, and now they face the prospect of the longed for 2018 "blue wave" turning out to be as mistaken as their prediction of President Hillary Clinton winning in 2016 by a large margin.

Yesterday, a prominent practitioner of identity politics called for the old guard of the party's House leadership to step aside and allow for "generational change."  Rep. Linda Sanchez is the highest-ranking Latina in the House and is number five in Democratic leadership in the House as vice chair of the Democratic Conference.  Since the Democrats have made a large wager on an increasingly Hispanic electorate becoming the major base of party growth – the "browning of America" strategy – her views cannot be dismissed.

Rep. Linda Sanchez's official portrait.

Deirdre Shesgreen reports in USA Today:

A top House Democrat said Wednesday it was time for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her two long-time deputies to step aside and make way for a younger generation of leaders. ...

"I think it's time for that generational change," Sanchez told reporters Wednesday.  "I want to be part of that transition, because I don't intend to stay in Congress until I'm in my 70s."

Pelosi is 78 years old.  The No. 2 and No. 3 House Democrats, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, are also in their late 70s.

Sanchez suggested the trio's continued grip on power was stymieing younger Democrats.

"I want to help create opportunities for some of the newer members, who have a lot to contribute but don't necessarily always get the opportunity," she said.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill offered a terse response: "House Democrats are focused on winning in November and if you are rowing in the opposite direction, you are only helping Republicans."

The obvious background factor here is the defeat of the number-four ranked Democrat, Joe Crowley, by Latina glamour girl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a New York City primary election.  The white gerontocracy that holds power in the Democratic Party is on notice that younger and darker-skinned party stalwarts are following through on the destructive dynamic of identity politics.

Ocasio-Cortez is already making waves in the party, despite not even holding any office yet at the age of 28.  Melanie Zanona writes in The Hill:

Ocasio-Cortez plans to hit the campaign trail for at least three other Democratic candidates in primary races this year who are backed by Justice Democrats, a PAC that supports progressives.

That includes Missouri congressional candidate Cori Bush, a former teacher, registered nurse and pastor who is vying to unseat longtime Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay.

"We're trying to take back the House, but it seems like they're just trying to go after Democrats.  It makes no sense," said Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), who vigorously defended Clay's work on the Financial Services Committee.  "I would hope that the new member coming in would ... keep the eye on the prize."

A source close to Ocasio-Cortez said the candidate is not interested in following the conventional Democratic playbook.

What's the point, the source said, or "we're gonna get the same results we have had for the last decade."

Cough, cough: Reps. Clay and Meeks are African-American, though Ms. Zanona is too polite to mention this.  When you base your political appeal on racial identity, then this sort of differences – such as between blacks and Hispanics – is politically fundamental.  When power is leading to resources that can be divvied up, then compromise can take place, as everyone gets his share of the booty.  But when out of power,  blame and conflict come to the fore.

The claim that "intersectionality" binds together identity groups as various as the "transgendered" and African-Americans works only when power is held or in prospect.  When things look bad, then "intersectional conflict" is likely.

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