Opinions: A hole in the big tent

Trent Gautney, Opinions Reporter

On Tuesday night, the Democratic primary candidates held their seventh and last debate before the Iowa caucuses in Des Moines. Though the dialogue between candidates remained fairly cordial, a tension loomed over the stage.

The most obvious culprit of this was the ongoing feud between Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. The battle between them has centered on Sanders’s alleged comment in a 2018 meeting with Warren that a woman could not win the presidency.

This has caused outrage on both sides of the dispute, leading to a battle on Twitter and the hashtag #NeverWarren to begin trending. Much of this online vitriol has been spurred by bots and aggravated through the social media platform’s problematic algorithm

However, the fact that people have pledged not to vote for a particular candidate based on their own personal grudge or ideology is a terrifying prospect.

An even worse prospect is that this feud is not the only split in the party that threatens the outcome of the election. 

While there has been a considerable split in attitudes between progressive and moderate Democrats since the 2016 primary between Sanders and Hillary Clinton, the tension within the party has seemingly reached a boiling point in the 2020 primaries. Despite the fact that most of the candidates agree on fundamental issues (such as the right to healthcare) and only differ in the implementation of such policies, many people have created a false dichotomy between the so-called progressives and moderates. 

While it is perfectly healthy for our party to have a rigorous primary, it won’t do any good for individuals to let these debates steer them away from supporting the nominated candidate if they do not entirely agree with them. 

At the end of the day, no ones’ agenda (moderate or progressive) is going to benefit in any way if Trump is re-elected. If we want to have any chance in winning this election, Democrats will have to work as one unified party. 

While I respect standing behind your beliefs, refusing to vote is not the correct way to go about this. Abstaining from voting is not some form of righteous political protest; it is an act of pettiness that demonstrates a remarkable ignorance to the suffering of many groups at the hands of our current president.

If Democrats do not come together to win this election, we have only proven that a big-tent, ideologically diverse party will fail when it matters the most.

We cannot let our small ideological differences be the downfall of the party and this nation; especially when it should be our biggest strength. 

With this in mind, it is every Democrat’s responsibility to knock on doors, make calls, and work as hard as they can to ensure that whoever the Democratic candidate may be wins in November.

It is imperative that the Democratic Party stop focusing so much on what divides it, but instead on winning what may well be the election that decides the future of the party and this nation.

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