Nice taxonomy of the Democrats

Pasted from Quora. Best summary of the Rats I’ve seen for a long time.

The New Progressives (NPs) - These are the strong champions of social democratic politics, woke culture and anti-capitalist rhetoric. At one point they existed on the fringe of the Democratic Party (and often outside the party) but have made tremendous gains since the Obama era and indeed exhibit a great deal of forward momentum. More so in fact then any other faction. This was evident by the strong showing of the Bernie Sanders ticket in 2020 and the high profile accolades given to the vocal members of the so called ‘Squad’. Their strength resides with younger voters but they have an added dimension that taps into the various intersectionalities.

NPs weaponize the politics of catastrophic climate change and generally support more open borders, grievance politics and class warfare to further their transformative agenda. They have picked up strength courtesy of the left’s long march through the institutions (especially education and academia) and although they are still under represented on a national level in Congress they enjoy far greater support within the party base. They demand attention and get it.

AOC - the face of the NP faction although not its most powerful player (for the time being that is Bernie Sanders) picture source : The Guardian

The Identitiarians (Is) - Have a very similar platform to the NPs although they tend to focus on the politics of the specific Identity group that they are associated with. They are usually splintered along lines of race, gender and sexual orientation. Political motivations often necessitates alliance formation with the NPs (for which there is much overlap).

Identitarians to a fault are extremely hostile to dissenting voices within the Identity group (just ask Larry Elder). Unlike the NPs they aren’t as critical of capitalism (so long as the money is flowing in the right direction) but definitely fall on the same side of the wealth distribution continuum debate as the former.

The strength and influence is demonstrated in the numbers game as they have the ability to deliver a substantial political block to a chosen candidate. Identitarians make effective use of guilt and grievance issues to attack the mainstream and are strong advocates of the mechanism of cancel culture. Like the NPs they are open to the use of rage politics but often run into problems when intersectionalities collide (eg. race vs gender vs religion). They have a significant footprint in the urban political machines.

Source: Maxine Waters - one of many Identitarians. picture source: The Black Wall Street Times.

Globalists - The Globalists have largely dominated the elite of the Democratic Party since the Clinton era and indeed without globalist backing no Democratic Party hopeful can secure the Presidential ticket. Many globalists see themselves as world citizens and often espouse a type of superiority that envisions the rest of the country as being ‘lost’without deference to their expertise (a sort of skewed version of Platos’s cave).

While this is incredibly patronizing it has broad appeal in the world of the Big corporations who for the sake of enhancing their international footprint and securing cheap sources of labor are strong backers of the Globalist faction. At present the greatest threat to the Globalist domination of the party hegemony comes from the NPs. However Globalists have the backing of the bulk of the Democratic caucus in Congress and can usually mobilize establishment money, big tech and political back room deals to outflank inconvenient challenges (as they did for Joe Biden against Bernie Sanders in 2020).

Globalists rely on the backing of the Democratic Party friendly mainstream media and draw heavily from the confluence of super powerful PACS and corporate donors. However they still need the support of Identiartians or NPs on the national front to make up the numbers. This explains the need to virtue signal or ‘grift’ while delivering only a toned down version of the agenda of the other factions.

Globalist figurehead Joe Biden picture source: Politico

The Old Progressives (OPs)- These were your mom and dad’s Democrats. They still envision the party as that of FDR, Harry Truman and JFK even though that ship has sailed some time ago on that descriptor. Many but not all have a Blue Collar working background and see themselves as the little guy/gal fighting against the man. They vote Democrat as they always have and are generally well meaning people who still see the United States as a great country. If called to, they will defend the nation with earnest.This flies in the face of many of the New Progressives and Identiarians who regard the United States as tarnished at birth by a smorgasbord of isms.

The greatest weakness of OPs is that they are a dying breed. Many still cling to the belief that the party bigwigs care about them and others refuse to acknowledge that their beloved Democratic Party has shifted all the more to the left since the 1960s. Some have woken up over time with many breaking rank to become Reagan Democrats or Trumpists.

At one time the OPs were the base of the Democratic Party. That is no longer the case. However they still possess historical inertia and exhibit strong support in many grassroot Democratic Party organizations at the local level.

Old Progressive Kansas City governor Laura Kelly picture source: Wikipedia

Realist/Moderates - If the Realists dominated the Democratic Party the country would be in a far better place. Calls for unity for one would not ring as hollow they currently do. Even though I am not a Democrat I believe that it is important for the nation to have two healthy parties and the realists would have the best chance of delivering that from the Democratic front. However since the Obama era realists have been losing more and more ground. Realists tend to fuse Keynesian economics with a strong support for the institutions of the United States. They still believe the country is a force of good and genuinely care for small business and the challenges facing the eternally shrinking middle class.

Their thinking is not wedded in doctrinal purity and they are the most likely group to reach across the aisle to bring about a necessary compromise. However the radical shift of the party nucleus and its internationalist bias has relegated the Realists in the Democratic Party to a no-man’s land.

They do have one key utility in that they allow the Democratic Party to be competitive in Purple and some Red States and can survive by playing this card.

Oddly enough it has been by experience that most non-Americans who are not familiar with the nuances of American politics still see the Democrats as being dominated by the realists. This has not been the case for several decades now. Only Tulsi Gabbard and to some extent Andrew Yang espoused the reality position with any political traction in 2019/2020. The party establishment marginalized both of them.

Joe Manchin Realist Picture source: Time Magazine

So indeed there are serious fault lines within the Democratic Party (the GOP to a lesser extent has points of fission as well). However when brought together against a common enemy (the evil Orange Man Trump) this can ensure electoral success.

In the more challenging role of day-to-day governance and policy formation tensions inevitably flare up. At the forefront is the divide between those who see the United States as a nation to be transformed along various ideological and internationalist lines and those who fundamentally believe in the goodness of a country, whose structures while largely solid can always be improved.


As a blue collar (light blue to be accurate) older American, I make custom cabinetry and builtins for primarily well to do clients. For the most part the people I work with voted for Trump, the people we all worked for voted for Biden — at least I assume so judging by the lawn signs. Not scientific of course, but this was not the case only a few years ago.


Strange isn’t it? Somehow the world got turned upside down. We have a corrupt billionaire seducing working people while Man Of The People Bernie (and AOC, etc) draw in the very well off.


Not “Kansas City” but just the state of Kansas, and I don’t know much about her. It’s an interesting breed, though, and it does happen, here and there in solid red states, that and Old School Progressive can be elected governor, as a democrat. The one Senator who I think fits the category is Jon Tester of Montana. Montana, compared to states in the Mountain West, has remained competitive for Democrats, because it has long history strong unions in the mining sector.

I don’t know the details of any of those guys. I’ve never minded being called a paleo-socialist and being a realist has to be a good thing. But the wokies and the globalists – who seem very happy to play woke – are my enemies.

I guess I’m a realist cuz Gabbard/Yang or Yang/Gabbard would have been amazing.


Seemes to me Yang is the best thing to happen in American politics since Perot.

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The thing about those Old Progressives, like the author said, is that they are a dying breed, but they aren’t willing to die and hope to regain control of the party some time. But that’s one of the worse parts – because they hope to rebuild their group, they won’t alienate themselves from the leftist wings. So in the end they go along to get along; their votes are guaranteed.

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Everyone’s playing the angles. Except, dare I day, Liz C. Dunno, maybe she has an angle too, but she sure fakes integrity very convincingly. The GOP under Trump is comparable to Russia under Stalin – almost nobody sticks their neck out. Not quite the same reign of terror in the Rat’s nest, but hardly more integrity. Slightly more tho, but it’s a dismal choice.


Well, yes, Liz Cheney does remain true to whatever breed of republican she is, the neo-cons with roots in the Military-Industrial complex, who can always support a far-away war


At least they sound as if they like their country.

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I hesitate to associate the proponents of UBI too closely with ‘realism’. It’s an extension of Old Progressive ideas, rearranged in a new technological environment. The role of a Realist is to call BS when they see it, not to work in a lab and perfect the bullshit and its description, which is where I would place Yang.


Well, I doubt even if elected, his UBI would have gone anywhere- but it might have led to far more productive and healthy ideas like this one:

When most people encounter this idea they automatically think ‘well, it’s a disincentive to work’, but what they miss is that it is far less of a disincentive than the current system. Think of it in terms of the Laffer curve, because welfare is stopped instead of removed incrementally as people earn more, those who shift from welfare to work face an effective tax rate of between 50% to 70%, depending upon their level of earnings and the added money they actually see in their pocket from withdrawing from welfare. And that’s before one considers all those incidental costs to working. If that isn’t a disincentive to work, I don’t know what is.

Plus, we have to consider the money the taxpayer would save in bureaucracy, as well as the moral benefits of partially shifting money from freeloaders to the working poor. I was reading the comments on another site recently, and someone quoted a source which said that since the War on Poverty employment in the bottom quintile had reduced from 70% to 36%. I don’ think it’s feasible to recover to previous levels but with welfare transformed into an NIT (or poverty supplement) I don’t its unreasonable to suggest that over time this figure might recover to 50% or 60%.

Here in the UK we have lots of people who engage in benefits fraud- working casually and claiming at the same time- if the system was as I suggest, many would decide to declare their income if they only lost all 25 to 30p per pound earned- then they wouldn’t have to scarper across fields when anyone they suspect of being on the fraud team turns up at whichever farm for which they were working.


Andrew…is that you? :slight_smile:

Removing the disincentive to work, and reducing the bureaucratic redundancy, are 2 of the things often mentioned by Yang.

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Well, I did buy an unofficial Yang T-shirt during the presidential primaries (living in the UK, buying the official merch might have been inappropriate- plus there were shipping costs). :smiley: I liked his ideas in other ideas, he wasn’t necessarily against nuclear, charters and although his Tobin-style tax on financial transactions didn’t get much coverage it deserved, it’s one really effective way of taxing the super wealthy for the type rapid cycle speculative trading which can end up harming smaller and longer term value investors. The campaign estimated $60 billion in revenue per year. Invested in French-style nuclear with its associated costs, that’s money could go along way towards providing cheap, safe and clean nuclear energy, which could provide America with a competitive advantage.

This is an interesting analysis and I strongly agree with this sentiment in particular. However, the same point applies with even more force to the Republican party, which has more or less surrendered to its pseudo-populist authoritarian wing. Plenty of sane politicians remain in the GOP (for now), but they’re forced to dissemble and genuflect to appeal to the Trumpist majority – much as Dems do to the Woke mob. American politics would be far healthier if it offered a centrist alternative. Yang is trying, but his Forward Party faces the same insurmountable obstacles as every other alternative to the ruling duopoly. At least he’s pissing of the socialists.


Yes, there is that. Not forgetting that she’s the daughter of a criminal, I find her ballsy and patriotic.

But even Yang talks about it as something that should be tried out – an experiment that might not work. It does not follow that a realist has no aspirations for the future or that he is not prepared to look at new ideas. You’re describing a fundamentalist conservative.

Both ideas are interesting. As the article points out, they are different ways of doing about the same thing. A debate between alternate proponents would be informative. I myself lean very lightly to UBI – something about the cheque every month being more useful in an emergency than a refund on your taxes next year. Of course there’s the ‘leaky bucket’ problem, as the article points out. Dunno, what’s the actual cost of cutting a cheque and then, basically taxing the money back? There will be a cost of course.

I once heard someone claim that the financial worries of the entire West would be over if speculative trading were taxed at 0.1%. A tenth of a percent? Yup, I like it, tho 2% sounds better. Put a damper on various trading scams. Suck a little money back from the banksters.

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Interesting to compare the two. The smell of a rotten egg vs. the smell of a dead cat, which is worse? They’re quite different tho. It would take an artist to really paint the difference properly, but as a first splash of text, I’d say the Reps stink of cowardice worse than the Rats but the Rats are more in the grip of insanity. In one trope I like to say that the GOP is evil, the Rats are crazy.


They way I heard it was voting is trying to decide between the nuts or the creeps

Got that by email, why did you delete it? Never said better.