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Democrat: Finding the Balance

On top of a deadly pandemic, the largest global recession in decades, and the violent aftermath of Trumpism, an ideological crisis now plagues the Democratic Party. Despite Joe Biden’s presidential victory, the 2020 elections exacerbated the sharp divide within his party; after losing 15 seats in the House of Representatives and 225 seats in state legislatures, the progressive new guard and the moderate old guard now openly point fingers at one another. Progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY-14 dismissed defeated Democratic incumbents as “sitting ducks,” blaming their lack of outreach and digital campaigning. In response, moderate Conor Lamb of PA-17 accused the association of all Democrats with “unpopular” progressivism, such as “defunding the police,” that caused Democratic losses in swing districts. The true reason for the Democrats’ loss lies somewhere in the middle: while traditionally centrist (and even right-leaning) voters chose Biden to oust Donald Trump, they still honored their conservative preferences by voting Republican on legislative and congressional ballots.