George Graham

Sadly, the Democratic Base Seems to be Splintering

I am old enough to remember the Democratic convention in Chicago 43 years ago, when protesters fought a pitched battle with police. As I recall, Democrats were divided between anti-war activists and don’t-rock-the-boat types, and when the shouting and the tumult died, Hubert Humphrey emerged as their presidential candidate.

Humphrey was defeated by Richard Nixon in the ensuing presidential election.

I don’t see the 2012 Democratic convention erupting in violent conflict, but I do see a possible split in the party’s “base.”

A report by Tim Funk and Kirsten Valle Pittman in the Charlotte Observer provides a glimpse of the divisiveness threatening Democrats as the 2012 election approaches. According to the Observer report:

Casting North Carolina as an anti-union bastion with “regressive policies aimed at diluting the power of workers,” more than a dozen trade unions affiliated with the national AFL-CIO have told the Democratic National Committee that they will sit out the 2012 convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Coming on the heels of some liberals’ complaints that President Barack Obama is giving in to Republicans, the unions’ decision is another sign that key Democratic allies are unhappy with Obama and other party leaders as they gear up for a difficult election season.

You may recall that labor leaders earlier threatened to withhold support from the Democrats because of the Obama administration’s tepid support for unions.

If the unions sit on their wallets in the coming election campaign, Democrats will have to rely on corporations for funds. That would mean both major parties in America would be beholden to Big Business.

Of course, there’s the Tea Party. On the face of it, they represent some kind of grassroots revolt, driven by the religious right and various fringe groups. But they talk and act like a bunch of gibbering idiots, and their funding comes from corporate manipulators.

If they get their way, America would have some false prophet like Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry as president. And the corporations would be let loose to ravage the country.

Increasingly, this is shaping up as an election that “we the people” cannot win.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for