Contrasting Coalitions On the Left: Why Biden Can’t Govern as a Moderate
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TargetPoint Consulting assessed the American electorate after the results of the November 2020 election and found insights into both the general political sentiment and fractures across coalitions within the Democratic Party.
America Remains a Right of Center Country
While their votes might not always reflect it, a plurality of voters nationwide identify on the Right of the political spectrum. When given the choice to self-identify as one of five left-spectrum coalitions: Socialist, Progressive, Liberal, Environmentalist, and Center Left, as one of four right-spectrum coalitions: Conservative, Tea Party Conservative, Trump Conservative, and Center Right, or as Moderates, 38% of voters classified themselves within the Left of the political spectrum as compared to 45% on the Right. And when looking across all ten categories, Conservative was the most popular selection with 21%.
Less than 1 out of 6 voters identified as Moderates, but the majority of moderates indicated they are closer to the Democratic Party than the Republican Party – and only 1 in 5 identity as true Independent voters.
Without Trump To Focus On, The Democratic Party is Ideologically Fractured
Despite the narrative focus on the Republican Party’s ruptures post the Donald Trump Presidency, the left has distinct contrasting factions susceptible to further divisions. These contrasting factions are clearest among demographic groups and favorability of the Democratic Party and its leaders.
Although the majority of all left-spectrum factions have a positive favorability of the Democratic Party and Joe Biden, a closer look under the hood reveals fractures poised to frame future intra-party struggles. For instance, Socialists, Environmentalists, and Progressives all have double-digit unfavourability of Joe Biden and have the three lowest favorability ratings of the Democratic Party among left-leaning ideologies. On the other hand, the Center Left and Liberals view Joe Biden and the Democratic Party at the highest rates across all factions. While both wings of the party are overwhelmingly united in their disdain for Donald Trump, the more left-leaning wing of the party is evidently not as content with the current Democratic Party’s status and leadership.
Despite their discontent with more establishment Democratic Party leadership, Socialists are the coalition most likely to describe themselves as strong Democrats, by nearly a double-digit margin. Coupled with the point that Socialists are the youngest among the left-spectrum factions, their higher unfavourability of the Democratic Party and Joe Biden but simultaneous allegiance to the Democratic label suggests a desire to push the party leftward at the expense of the more moderate factions.
Demographically, the power to combat the leftward drive of the party primarily lies with the Center Left. Liberals are the oldest left-spectrum coalition by nearly a 2:1 ratio, whereas the Center Left’s proportionate age group distribution equips them with a required means of influence to determine the ideological future of the party, if they choose to do so. The American people may have thought they elected a “moderate Democrat” to power, but the leftist wing is more fervent and is clearly carrying the day on the First 100 Day Agenda. As the Biden administration progresses, the fissures in the party outlined by our research will further intensify, as will the hastening drift towards the Left.