Appearing on MSNBC, former Democratic presidential candidate and DNC chairman Howard Dean lashed out at Democrats who value progressive ideological purity over winning elections.
“There has always been a section of the Left which I call … the whiny party, the party that doesn’t really want to win,” Dean told MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid Sunday. “They just want to be pure. And if they go down swinging purely, then that’s fine,” he continued. “Well, the problem with that is it leaves behind the people who really need their help.”
“What Howard Dean is referring to is the staunch, ideological Left,” Eddie Zipperer, an assistant professor of political science professor at Georgia Military College, told LifeZette. “Most people don’t differentiate between the party’s ideological base and the pragmatists in the party because the numbers are so lopsided.”
“Almost the entire Democratic Party is one of demagoguery and ideological purity,” he continued. “That’s why Republicans had to nuke the filibuster to get an absolute Boy Scout of a Supreme Court justice confirmed. That’s why not one Democrat would help Republicans repeal Obamacare.”
Dean returned to MSNBC on Monday morning for a conversation with Joe Scarborough and Nicolle Wallace. He reiterated that the “whiny party” is composed of “the members of the party who complain all the time.”
“We don’t have a perfect candidate, no matter who we have — left, right, or center of the Democratic Party — they’re not going to be perfect, and people are going to complain about them,” said Dean. “We can’t beat the Republicans who are incredibly well organized unless we hang together.”
And indeed, despite having harsh words for the whiners in his party, Dean was optimistic that, if those whiners can be silenced, the Democratic Party could see significant electoral success in 2018, even taking back the House and Senate.
“I do think we can take the House, and I’m probably one of the few people in Washington who believes we can take the Senate back in 2018,” he said.
Zipperer, however, believes the “whiny party” has become a far bigger faction of the party than Dean realizes. “The Democratic Party abandoned the ideological middle,” he said. “That’s why someone like Jim Justice had to leave the party.”
“Here’s the paradox of the Left: They want the party to be exclusive,” Zipperer continued. “If you differ on any issue or you make nice with Republicans, they want to ostracize you. Meanwhile, they lose voters, they lose seats, they lose the presidency,” he said. “Until they learn to play nice with others, they will not recover from their current free fall.”