Democrats must cease the friendly fire, unite for the people

Democrats must cease the friendly fire, unite for the people
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Many people say that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Pelosi blasts California Republicans for supporting tax bill MORE’s new book, “What Happened,” has opened up old wounds within the Democratic Party. Many believe that it could be the precursor to an all-out civil war between the supposed “progressive wing” of Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDe Blasio headed to Iowa to speak at political fundraiser Yes, spills happen — but pipelines are still the safest way to move oil Why sexual harassment discussions include lawmakers talking about Bill Clinton’s past MORE supporters and the traditional or establishment Democrats who mostly sided with Hillary Clinton.  

It may, but it doesn’t have to be. And it shouldn’t if most Democrats (and I am including progressives in this label) believe that there are much bigger issues at stake than the egos of those who portend to lead either faction.  

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Is there still resentment among some in the Bernie camp about how the primary shook out?  There is. Are Hillary supporters still bitter about how she was portrayed by Sanders, possibly giving ammunition to the GOP on how to run against her? Some are.  

 

All of it is fine. It is all part of a healthy healing process if we comport ourselves constructively, with one thing always and forever in our minds — we are not each other’s enemy.  

We have a much bigger opponent to fight against, that the American people are counting on us to help them fight against, and to whom we cannot afford to give any more ammunition in order to defeat our Democratic values, principles and the hope our party represents to so many.  

Yes, our party: Progressives are part of the Democratic Party. Bernie’s Our Revolution progressives are part of the Democratic Party. Even those who may be threatening to “primary” conservative Democrats are part of the Democratic Party, and most will run as Democrats. As such, Democratic Party bashing in the name of progressive purity only hurts candidates who run under the Democratic Party banner.   

In the end, anyone running as a Democrat should want the Democratic Party brand to be as strong as it can be. They should not be part of trying to weaken it.  

On the flip side, Democrats are progressives. Even Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Overnight Finance: House passes sweeping tax bill in huge victory for GOP | Senate confirms banking regulator | Mulvaney eyed for interim head of consumer agency Overnight Regulation: Senators unveil bipartisan gun background check bill | FCC rolls back media regs | Family leave credit added to tax bill | Senate confirms banking watchdog MORE (D-W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampDemocrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Overnight Finance: House passes sweeping tax bill in huge victory for GOP | Senate confirms banking regulator | Mulvaney eyed for interim head of consumer agency Overnight Regulation: Senators unveil bipartisan gun background check bill | FCC rolls back media regs | Family leave credit added to tax bill | Senate confirms banking watchdog MORE (D-N.D.) stand up for the progress of all Americans regardless of race, religion, sex or economic upbringing. They believe, as all Democrats do, that fairness is a fundamental right in this great country and that when allowed to compete fairly, all Americans have a shot at fulfilling their highest potential. It is the essence of the American Dream.  

But in a political climate where:

  • our dreamers are now living a nightmare;
  • the rights of women to make decisions about their own bodies are being methodically targeted state by state;
  • transgender Americans were deemed not worthy to serve in our military;
  • the president wanted to ban Muslims from entering the country and
  • those who fight for civil rights and social justice are equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK, the country desperately needs Democrats to stand up for fundamental American values.

The president and his Republican cronies certainly are not going to do it.  

We have proven time and again that when we are united, we win; hands down.  

We proved it in 2006 when the first round of anti-immigrant legislation reared its ugly head, giving rise to immigration marches all across the country with chants of “Today we march, tomorrow we vote.” Vote we did. We voted Republicans right out of office that November, proving that our unity is our key to success.  

We did it again in 2008, when majorities of Americans and progressive groups, led by Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaReport: FCC chair to push for complete repeal of net neutrality Right way and wrong way Keystone XL pipeline clears major hurdle despite recent leak MORE, raised record amounts of money and chose “Hope and Change” over fear and division. We did it again in 2010 with the Affordable Care Act, when we passed legislation giving the right to have health care to millions more Americans.  

Did we pay a hefty political price for doing the right thing that year? Yes.  

But that right thing is a shining example, even today, of the difference between Democrats and Republicans.  

We believe in expanding health care. Republicans want to strip it from millions of us.  

Even recently (and ironically, I would add) the Affordable Care Act has proven yet again how Democratic unity — and common sense — helped win the day and win for Americans.  

After years of promising to get rid of ObamaCare and with Republicans controlling every branch of government, ObamaCare could not be repealed. Now that is “power to the people.”  

The people spoke under no uncertain terms, and Democrats and sensible Republicans stood up for them.  

So will there be disagreements in the Democratic Party as we move forward to try to take back the House, Senate and White House? I would expect nothing less.

But make no mistake: Democratic Party unity, and our conviction in our progressive American values, is our strength. Anyone who tries to punch holes in that unity with petty arguments that don't help working Americans make ends meet, pay their rent or mortgage or send their kids to college or trade school, is not fighting for progressive ideals. They are fighting to “progress” their egos.  

Democrats have a stellar opportunity. Republicans are the ones in real disarray, in an ugly civil war and clueless on how to lead and govern. Their president is at an all-time low approval rating. Americans are fed up, fearful, anguished and ready to fight for a country they see slipping away.

Let’s be their partners in this fight. Let’s fight with them and for them, not among ourselves.  

So while we find our way and get our Democratic groove back, while we see and feel the grassroots excitement reflective of the disgust in GOP governance and the occupant of the Oval Office, let’s use our energies to unite and harness that excitement and mobilize it into the voting booths in 2018 and beyond. It is the only way America wins.  

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Espanol political commentator.