Opinion: Democrats, stop complaining about unity

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Opinion: Democrats, stop complaining about unity

Kyle Ashley | @KBAshkid, Staff Columnist

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It’s become pretty common practice to call for unity in the Democratic party in recent weeks. We’re constantly reminded that the “real enemy” is Donald Trump, and that overthrowing him this election should be the first thing on everybody’s mind.

And while I do loathe Donald Trump, and more broadly the Republican vision of the country, such calls for unity always strike me as a cynical attempt to silence emerging left-wing voices within the party. It appears to me that it’s always the responsibility of the “unrealistic” left to compromise their beliefs and meet the “pragmatic” establishment in the middle.

Here’s the punchline: There’s no empirical evidence that a divided party is somehow hobbled on election night. In fact, one only has to look as far back to 2016 to witness a split Republican party win the presidential election, as well as hold the House and Senate.

And I have to ask, as a Democrat, when is it a good time to criticize other Democrats? At the moment, we’re over a year away from an election in a system where elections are held every two years. There’s always another election coming up, and since we’re not allowed to criticize Democrats in the buildup to an election, I guess that means the proper time to critique a Democrat is never.

If you ask me, that’s a pretty sweet coincidence for the current Democrat leadership, who has a vested interest in preserving the power structure of the Democratic party. It’s a freak accident that one of the Democrats I’m not allowed to criticize for unconditionally giving money to ICE is Nancy Pelosi. What are the odds that Chuck Schumer is one of the Democrats I’m not allowed to critique for his connection to Wall Street?

However, I didn’t see any of these “unity Democrats” jump out to defend Ilhan Omar when her criticisms of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee got (dishonestly) conflated with anti-semitism. I didn’t see Tom Perez go out and defend the Green New Deal, as various Republicans lied repeatedly about its contents. Sebastian Gorka, for example, announced at the Conservative Political Action Conference that AOC was trying to “take away your hamburgers.”

So I’m sick and tired of calls for unity. Maybe instead it’s time we start holding politicians accountable for their records in government. After all, they’re supposed to earn our votes; they’re supposed to work for the people that elect them into office. I, for one, would love to hear Pelosi and Schumer explain why they decided to increase funding for ICE. I would be elated to know why Joe Biden, as vice president, stood idly by as the United States enabled the Saudi-led genocide in Yemen. I want to know why Sanders, and Warren, and Harris, supported SESTA, which is responsible for putting the lives of sex workers in direct danger. The people deserve answers, and if we, their constituents, aren’t the ones demanding them, then who will?