This photo provided by the White House shows Vice President Dick Cheney bidding farewell to Vice President-elect Joe Biden, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008, following their visit at the Vice President's Residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington. (AP Photo/White House, David Bohrer)

It Is Joe Biden’s Fault. And Dick Cheney’s.

Rewind the tape to 2008. George W. Bush’s Vice President did not run for President. The Republican Party, as a result, went back to 2000, refought the same fights, reopened the same wounds, and passed the torch to the man who Bush had beaten and the party rejected. The party base wanted to pivot to the right, but the establishment of the party stacked the deck against them.

The wounds did not really heal the second time. The base got pissed off. The tea party movement rose. It began waging war within the primaries against Republicans who kept breaking promises to move right.

Now it is the Democrats’ turn. Joe Biden is not running for President. The Democratic Party, as a result, has gone back to 2008, refought the same fights, reopened the same wounds, and passed the torch to the woman who Obama had beaten and the party rejected. The party base wanted to pivot to the left, but the establishment of the party stacked the deck against them.

The wounds will not really heal the second time. The base is pissed off. It’s only a matter of time. We ain’t seen nothing yet.

The GOP wobbled toward the right, the grassroots started fighting, and the goal posts kept moving. The Democrats are doing it now. The GOP saw, as Bush was winding down, the rise of guys like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee. The Democrats are now seeing Elizabeth Warren’s wing of the Democratic Party rise. And there will be more left-wing Democrats to come.

The modern political party system demands an internal referendum on the direction of the party after a President steps back with term limits. The Vice President running gives that referendum. Without it, the party has to refight old battles and risk opening old wounds that the outgoing incumbent, because of the needs of unity and comity within his party, cannot himself engage in.

The Democrats will now head down the road the GOP headed. It may hold back the dam for four years if Clinton wins. But that will only build up the pressure.

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Erick Erickson

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