Even though the Democratic Party's loss of the White House and the Republican control of both Houses of Congress resulted in pundits bemoaning the lack of unity in the party, the chasms among Democrats are actually quite small compared to what has divided them in the past, the HuffPost's Rich Rubino wrote Monday.
Although there are differences in the ideology of those establishmentarian center-left Democrats who mostly supported Hillary Clinton and insurrectionist liberals who for the most part favored Bernie Sanders, both sides largely agree the federal government should be used to intervene where the free market fails, as well as in supporting abortion rights and stricter federal gun control measures, Rubino said.
Socially conservative Democrats from rural areas are almost negligible, with rare exception such as Sen. Joe Manchinm, D-W.Va., and Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn.
These differences among Democrats, however, pale in comparison to the chasm in ideology that once split the party, such as the 1972 nomination of George McGovern that caused some in the party of form a "Democrats for Nixon movement."
That came on the heels of the split over the Civil Rights Act in 1964, when more than 90 percent of Southern Democratic congressmen opposed the legislation and more than 90 percent of non-Southern Democratic congressmen supported it.
And perhaps the greatest chasm in the party's history came when the unpopular Grover Cleveland, who believed providing federal government assistance "encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character," announced he would not run for another term as president in 1896, and was replaced as party head by William Jennings Bryan.
Bryan's message of an activist federal government marked a radical departure for the Democrats as he became the party's first progressive candidate.
This conservative/populist schism in the party remained for much of the 20th century, largely along geographical lines and is much more pronounced than the difference which exist today, Rubino argued.
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