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The Dem-on-Dem attacks have begun

A donkey kicking back and hitting another donkey while getting kicked in the head by a donkey
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The niceties have ended: 2020 Democrats are breaking their own pledge not to go after one another. The attacks of the past week show what a long primary they're in for.

Why it matters: These jabs and skirmishes show a fracturing Democratic Party — exactly what some top Democrats wanted to avoid in order to maximize their chances of defeating President Trump.

Driving the news: Progressives and centrists are going at each other before any of them have stepped onto a debate stage. Virtually the entire field went after Joe Biden this week for supporting the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions in most cases.

  • Elizabeth Warren said he was wrong at her MSNBC town hall, and Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted that Hyde should be repealed.
  • Biden clearly felt the heat. He announced Thursday that he no longer supports Hyde because Republicans have taken “extreme laws in clear violation of constitutional rights" of Roe v. Wade.
  • "If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code," he said.

John Hickenlooper and John Delaney got booed by a room full of progressives at the California Democratic Party convention for criticizing socialism, the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.

  • That landed Delaney in hot water with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted a hint that he should drop out of the race.
  • Soon after Delaney responded by asking to debate AOC, Rep. Ilhan Omar stepped in to tell him (after AOC had already declined): “No means no.”

And don't forget the candidates vs. the Democratic National Committee.

  • Jay Inslee went after the DNC when they denied his request to have a presidential debate solely about climate change. (He's making the issue the central focus of his campaign.)
  • “The DNC is silencing the voices of Democratic activists, many of our progressive partner organizations, and nearly half of the Democratic presidential field, who want to debate the existential crisis of our time,” he wrote in an email to supporters.
  • Warren quickly joined in, saying Inslee is “exactly right,” and Beto O’Rourke jumped in, too.

Between the lines: Of course there’s a difference between calling out fellow Democrats for thinking they’re not progressive enough and disagreeing with the DNC on debates.

The bottom line: But if the last week is any indication, the gloves have come off and we should expect more Dem-on-Dem attacks to come. And the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee will enjoy every minute of it.