In Donald Trump’s America, it seems the rule is “with me or against me.”
The Republican tribalism, and the respective Democratic response have divided the country in such a way that it is difficult to even contemplate internal differences between them.
While in the GOP dissent is a ground for expulsion –just ask Justin Amash — among Democrats the differences seem to be subtler — at least at first sight.
You only have to take a look at the policy proposals of the candidates who threw their hats in the presidential primaries to see that, from the progressivism of Senator Bernie Sanders to the white conservatism of former Vice President Joe Biden, there were options for every taste.
However, seen through a magnifying glass, these differences are in themselves quite important.
Bronx Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed this out in an interview with New York Magazine last Monday, where she said bluntly, “In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party, but in America, we are.”
And the young congresswoman is right.
Since Biden entered national political life as a Delaware senator in 1973, where he served seven terms with a 60 percent approval rating, his reputation as a speaker has always preceded him in political debates, despite the fact that he has no academic or purist language in the exercise.
But it has been his label of moderate Democrat that has allowed him to navigate between the two political currents with some ease.
While he supported deficit spending for fiscal stimulus or increased infrastructure spending, he also supported same-sex marriage and the proposed reduction in military spending in the budget of the Obama Administration, in which he served as vice president, in fiscal year 2014.
However, especially in the post-Obama era, Biden’s third run for president has proved an interesting comparison experiment.
Alongside candidates such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Julián Castro and even Corey Booker, it is not difficult to place Biden at the more conservative end of the new Democratic landscape.
The radicalism of the Trump campaign makes it easy, in one way or another, for Democratic candidates to opt for two strategies: trying to seduce Republican voters with compromise proposals or putting all the weight on their more progressive plans. Among them is the Green New Deal, a proposal that has the Ocasio-Cortez trademark.
While Biden’s proposal on the climate issue is to reincorporate the United States into the Paris Climate Agreement and maintain the regulations of the Obama era, Ocasio-Cortez, as well as Senator Sanders, have made it clear that this is not enough.
“I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act then are going to try to come back today and say we need to find a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives. That is too much for me,” Ocasio-Cortez said about Biden’s proposal.
The movement of new, young, progressive ideals that the congresswoman represents is no stranger to this debate, and has its collateral in civic organizations.
According to Politico, grassroots political groups such as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have been part of a powerful wave of rejection of the former vice president during his campaign for 2020, which has been joined by other organizations such as Indivisible and the Sunrise Movement.
After last quarter’s fundraising figures were published — where Biden raised nearly $23 million — criticism of his hobnobbing with corporate interests only added to the noise his campaign had already made due to inappropriate physical contact or his lack of commitment to bold proposals on immigration, Social Security, and bankruptcy legislation.
Still, the former vice president continues to lead most polls nationally, and if the trend materializes, it remains to be seen whether the political base that Ocasio-Cortez represents and Biden’s conservatism will be able to compromise.