As Bill Clinton prepares to address the delegates of the party he led to two consecutive electoral victories, he’ll be addressing a caucus not entirely unified behind the man who bested his wife for the Democratic nomination. Â Part of the reason Democrats have has such difficulty coming together is the shadow he still casts over the party.
At their last such gathering, the party chairman was Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton loyalist whom the former president succeeded in installing as he was leaving office. Â Most presidents exited the stage gracefully, ceding control of their party to the next generation of leadership. This one determined to hang on.
I think part of the hatred of his wife stems from the frustration of party activists that their family is trying to take over the DNC. Â They resent him in part from steering their party away from its leftist moorings, the moorings they taken such pains to establish in the 1970s and 1980s.
It’s not just the Clintons’ continued presence in their party which causes these divisions. Â It’s also the tension which the Clinton ascendancy represents, between his pragmatism and their left-wing ideology. Â Clinton knew that ideology couldn’t win elections. Â But, some of the left would rather be “right” in their view than win. Â Or maybe they’re so deluded that they believe they can only win by moving left.
But, the reality is that Republicans win when they stick to their conservative principles. Â And Democrats who lose when they affirm their left-wing ones.