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.