Throughout modern American history, the Democrat presidential nominee has almost always – if not always – been more towards the center than much of their party.
After all, who can forget President Obama ascending to the White House proclaiming his support of traditional marriage? “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix,” was the campaign platform of the last Democrat to hold the presidency strange as that may seem merely one administration later.
Hillary Clinton – putting her extensive myriad of faults aside – was also far more moderate than the growing far left sect of her party in 2016; the same sect that has taken the stage in bombastic fashion, to say the least, since her defeat.
In fact, it’s quite arguable that it was only with the help of superdelegates – a DNC establishment failsafe – that Hillary managed to emerge from the 2016 primary victorious. A primary ran against – at the time – the most outspoken and far left high-profile politician there was, Bernie Sanders.
Now, nearly 4 years after the overt and enthusiastic socialist Sanders lost to the establishment moderate, he’s back on the primary stage again. Though unfortunately for the longtime politician he’s far less prominent amongst a veritable clown car of 20 candidates, all of whom are younger, many of whom are more diverse, and thus more appealing to the Democrat electorate.
But while Bernie Sanders is facing a substantial and unlikely uphill battle to obtain the nomination this time around the Vermont Senator’s *platform* – long considered fringe and radical – has found itself in the policies of nearly every candidate in the running. The Wall Street Journal explains,
“President Trump is a lucky man. Typically a re-election campaign is a referendum on the incumbent, and Mr. Trump is losing that race. But the Democrats are moving left so rapidly that they may let him turn 2020 into a choice between his policy record and the most extreme liberal agenda since 1972 (which may be unfair to George McGovern).
That’s the most significant political message from two nights of debate in Miami this week among 20 Democratic presidential candidates. The party hasn’t merely moved to the left of Bill Clinton’s New Democrats of the 1990s. Democrats have moved to the left of where they were in 2010 when they last ran the government. Bernie Sanders lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016, but he has won the ideological debate.”
The same leftward lurch is apparent on issue after issue.
- Climate change is now an urgent crisis that demands eliminating not merely the coal industry but all fossil fuels.
- Enforcing immigration laws that were once passed by bipartisan majorities in Congress is now inhumane. Joe Biden is attacked because the Obama Administration deported millions of undocumented migrants.
- Free health care for Americans isn’t enough; now it must also be an entitlement for any foreign migrant who enters the U.S.
- College loans must be forgiven in part or whole, and tuition now must be free.
- Taxes must be raised to rates unheard of since the 1960s because, as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio put it, money is “just in the wrong hands.”
- The Electoral College must be killed to save American democracy, and the Supreme Court must be packed with more Justices because the left now sometimes loses decisions.”
Onwards and Leftwards
The unmistakable reality is in the era of Trump the mainstream policies of the Democrat party have sharply pivoted to the left. Whether this be a counter-reaction to the Republican populist awakening that ushered Trump in, or more simply a referendum on the failure of Hillary and the center-left to take him down, the result is the same; hardline progressive platforms across the board.
DNC primary debates – limited available sample that we have – are no longer about the merits of vast redistributive programs like universal public healthcare, widespread loan erasure, and the taxes necessary to fund such policies.
Instead, the argument amongst the 20 presidential hopefuls is who has the biggest and best plans to do such things. In some instances, the policies aren’t differentiated from Bernie’s longstanding ones whatsoever. Take, for example, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren who have simply endorsed implementing Sander’s pride and joy ‘Medicare for all’ bill.
A public option couldn’t pass through a Democrat-dominated government in 2010, but now, less than a decade later, there is hardly a candidate who *isn’t* endorsing it. And liberal voters, for the most part, seem elated to oblige.
Progressives are clearly hoping this hard turn to the left will reinvigorate a party that fell to shambles following the crushing loss of their most establishment candidate in recent memory.
More likely, however, at least if history is any indication, this substantial shift towards more radically progressive US policy within the DNC ranks will harm rather than help their 2020 bid.
Audacious redistributive policies might be highly popular among voters on the blue rolls, but for centrist independents – ever the key to presidential electoral victory – this bold new look for the DNC likely is far from appealing.
When all is said and done it is more than a slight possibility that Trump will be able to turn this radical platform shift against them when one of 20 candidates is finally anointed the Democrat champion for 2020.
Whatever the outcome, the coming presidential election will be more than a battle of parties and individual candidates, it will be a referendum on socialism in America; something Bernie Sanders has been fighting for his entire career.