The Democratic Party is beginning to fracture around the key issues of Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Keystone Pipeline. In addition, its D.C. leadership is seen by many Democratic officeholders as rigid and out-of-date for the challenges of 2014.
As the Florida Special House election demonstrated, Democratic candidates are rejecting the President’s and congressional leaders’ position on the ACA. The survival response (i.e., “mend it, don’t end it”) of the embattled candidates is to acknowledge the law and its implementation is a mess and it must be revised. Democratic leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and the White House have consistently rejected that formula – no amendments, no hearings, no discussion of changes.
Another major division is now visible on energy policy, with the White House and the Democratic left holding firm in opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, using global warming and anti-hydrocarbon rhetoric versus a host of moderate Senators, progressive business leaders and 50 percent of rank and file Democrats wanting it built primarily for the economy and jobs. Colorado’s two senators are divided on the issue, with Michael Bennet in favor of building the pipeline and Mark Udall against it.
Not only has the ACA unity ended, but President Obama is now not welcome in many states with competitive races, accept in the most targeted (read low visibility) events and activities. Harry Reid has his own mini-revolt over this autocratic-style, with senior members of both parties going around his control of the Senate floor to develop bipartisan coalitions and pass legislation. Nancy Pelosi is also watching power ebb away as candidates ignore her position and her key allies, Congressmen Waxman and Miller, retire.
Local Colorado Democrats are fighting over fracking, with Governor Hickenlooper leading the Democratic ticket favoring regulated use of fracking and Democratic Party environmental activists and numerous Democratic officeholders, including Congressman Jared Polis, actively promoting ballot measures to limit and, if possible, ban it.
See Colorado Observer: Democrat unity crumbles over fracking