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California Democrat: Infighting Could ‘Tear The Party Apart’

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California Progressives and Centrist Democrats are engaged in a “civil war” over the future of the Democratic Party, and some lawmakers are unsure if the party can stay united, according to a Sunday statement.

“We’re on the same team,” assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer told Politico about the infighting. “We should not be fighting one another. We should argue with one another … It should not devolve into something where it could tear the party apart.”

Protesters stormed the state capitol after a state-led single-payer health care bill failed. Top Democrat and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon reported that he got death threats after he killed the measure due to a lack of supporting votes.

The progressive California Nurses Association announced it would invest in advertising against Jones-Sawyer, and promised “action” against Democrats who didn’t vote to support the single payer plan.

The Democratic Party controls a supermajority in both the State Senate and the State Assembly. Progressives in the statehouse want to use that advantage to pass meaningful reforms, but so-called “establishment” Democrats stand in their way.

Liberal Democrats pushed for more spending on social services, as well as harsher environmental and campaign finance rules, among other causes in the months after President Donald Trump won the election in November.

Activists tried to pressure Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to ban fracking, a step he’s so far refused to take.

Progressives statewide called the failures a collective disappointment.

“It’s more than a disappointment, watching how it plays out there in California,” Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America Donna Smith told Politico. “For Democrats, for progressives, [health care] really encompasses everything that’s going on in the country at the moment. And California … is so critical, and California is this incubator of what happens in Democratic politics.”

The California problem illustrates the ongoing rift between opposing members of the Democratic Party nationwide. Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders strongly supported Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello in Virginia, but he lost in a landslide primary in June to Ralph Northam.

The progressive-backed candidate for chair of the Democratic National Committee Keith Ellison appeared poised to take control of the national movement, but Clinton-backed Tom Perez ended up taking the lead in the end, earning 54 percent of the Committee’s vote in February.

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