The division between in the Democratic Party between the Hillary Clinton, even though I don’t believe she’s that strong of a Democratic leader anymore, but her New Democratic Theodore Roosevelt progressive wing of the party and the Bernie Sanders social democratic wing of Social Democrats/Democratic Socialists, is not new. Which might be the only thing that I agree with Paul Jay and Peter Kuznick on.
There were Socialists in the Democratic Party in the 1930s and the 1940s which was a Dixiecrat party with some Northern Progressives led by Franklin Roosevelt, but there were people even further left than FDR and his wing of the Democratic Party led by Democratic Socialist Henry Wallace who was President Roosevelt’s Vice President from 1941-45. But there were also Neo-Confederate right-wing Dixiecrat Democrats who represented the Bible Belt South of the Democratic Party. That fought against desegregation, civil rights laws, and even the New Deal, but supported President Roosevelt’s liberal internationalist anti-Communist foreign policy.
The extremely unfortunate assassination of President John Kennedy, is where you see the Democratic Party change. The Democratic Party up until the 1980s or so was never a pure left-wing party that was dominated by Social Democrats. They always had a Far-Left which was made up of Socialists, but they also had a Center-Left of JFK Liberal Democrats and the FDR Progressives. And I mean liberal and progressive both in the classical and real sense. Not the stereotypical sense of someone who believes in big government across the board and doesn’t believe in national defense or law enforcement and sees individualism and freedom as dangerous. But liberal and progressive in the sense as people who believe in individual rights, equal rights, and progress.
The 1960s and 1970s is where you see the old Henry Wallace New-Left Socialist wing of the Democratic Party come to life. Thanks to the Baby Boomers growing up and becoming very politically active. And they were so powerful in the Democratic Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s that Senator George McGovern (the Bernie Sanders Democratic Socialist of his generation) wins the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Gets trounced by President Richard Nixon, but that is only because there weren’t a lot of Socialists in America back in the early 1970s.
The Democratic Party is exactly that. People who believe in democracy. In some cases that means liberal democracy, the JFK Liberal Democrats which is the wing of the party I’m from. But you also have Democrats who believe in social democracy and democratic socialism. Which is the wing that Bernie Sanders now leads, that Henry Wallace led in the 1940s and George McGovern led in the 1970s. But the Democratic Party has never been a purely liberal democratic party or social democratic party and pre-1960s or so the Democratic Party was a Dixiecrat Neo-Confederate party. Which is one reason why the Democratic Party has always been fairly divided.