Every election cycle, the tension between moderate and evangelical conservative voters in the Republican Party becomes the subject of hand-wringing speculation: Can a moderate who might end up president win the Iowa Republican caucuses, where evangelicals dominate? Should they even try? Jeb Bush already signaled he’ll skip the straw poll that Michele Bachmann won in 2011, and now a growing libertarian element has further complicated matters for Republicans.
But the big story this election cycle is shaping up to be the factions within the other party, where an increasingly vocal left wing is demanding Democratic standard-bearers to act against economic inequality, the distorting role of money in politics and diminishing worker clout.
Not only is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the only self-described socialist in Congress, running for president, but also a left-wing Democratic faction in the Senate found its voice this week. They rejected a move to give “fast track” authority to the president to negotiate foreign trade deals. President Barack Obama wants the authority to move forward a Trans Pacific Partnership with 11 other countries, including Japan, Vietnam, Canada and Mexico. Senate Republicans mostly sided with him.