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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: September 2020

Chapter 5 - The Persistence of Faction


As the evidence in the past few chapters suggests, divisiveness within the Democratic Party was a source of substantial concern among party leaders and activists following the 2016 election, and many of the party’s decision in the wake of that loss were motivated by a desire to mitigate such factionalism in the future. These concerns were bolstered by media coverage following the election that suggested that internal divisions would likely plague the party for many years to come. “It’s clear that the party is divided, split on issues including free trade, health care, foreign affairs and Wall Street. They even disagree over the political wisdom of doing deals with Trump,” wrote Philip Elliott.1 Supporters of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and those of her primary rival Bernie Sanders continued to mistrust each other and blame each other for the party’s presidential loss.