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Tags: Democrats | midterms | Congress

Rifts Evident Among Top Democrats After Midterm Trouncing

By    |   Friday, 28 November 2014 09:11 AM EST

In the wake of the midterm election defeats, tensions that have been simmering within the upper echelons of the Democratic Party are coming to the surface as the party struggles to find the right way forward in its public positioning, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Several examples emerged this week.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer publicly denounced Obamacare on Tuesday, saying it was too narrowly focused on the uninsured and should have aimed to assist the wider population of the middle class.

On the same day, Democratic leaders in the Senate were caught off-guard when the White House threatened to veto the restoration of tax breaks for businesses that had been agreed by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. The White House has taken issue with it because it doesn't include provisions to make permanent enhanced tax credits for the working poor.

"The twin developments were among fissures within the party that, at their broadest level, show Democrats at odds over what economic message to present to voters ahead of the 2016 presidential race," the Journal said.

"Worried that they lacked a compelling position in the midterms, Democrats are split over whether to advance a centrist message or a more populist economic argument that casts everyday families as victims of overly powerful corporations and benighted government policies."

Rep. Jerry Nadler confirmed to the Journal that there are splits between the progressive wing of the party and centrists who are concerned that liberal economic policies will alienate mainstream voters in 2016.

"You're going to get a fight within the Democratic Party," Nadler told the Journal. "There is a substantial disagreement coming up."

Tensions within the party are not necessarily new, but the party has kept a lid on it as a show of unity under President Barack Obama, leaving public in-fighting among Republicans to take center stage.

Schumer's comments, in particular, have caused anger among those loyal to the president, the Journal reported, but the intraparty fighting has also manifested itself in other ways.

Following the defeats, the chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid publicly blamed Obama for the Democratic losses, a notable violation of the principle of unity.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are at odds with their Senate counterparts over immigration. Some in the House believed the president should not have waited until after the midterms to take executive action, but Senate Democrats had asked the president to do so in the hopes of protecting vulnerable Democrats.

One senior house Democratic aide said that many House lawmakers in the party believe the delay hurt Hispanic turnout.

"Hindsight is 20-20," the aide told the Journal. "All that effort was for nothing. Clearly, the strategy failed."

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Tensions that have been simmering within the upper echelons of the Democratic Party are rising to the surface in the wake of the party's midterm losses, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Democrats, midterms, Congress
Friday, 28 November 2014 09:11 AM
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