The revolt of the ‘moderate Democrats’

The effort posed by progressives to get the Democratic party to adopt more progressive polices has clearly alarmed the so-called moderates within the party who are now trying to launch a counter-offensive to retain control. They have organized a ‘summit’ to discuss how best to do so, and in the process they are revealing why they should be rejected.

[T]he first-ever “Opportunity 2020” convention, organized here last week by Third Way, a moderate Democratic think tank, gave middle-of-the-road party members a safe space to come together and voice their concerns.

The gathering here was just that — an effort to offer an attractive alternative to the rising Sanders-style populist left in the upcoming presidential race. Where progressives see a rare opportunity to capitalize on an energized Democratic base, moderates see a better chance to win over Republicans turned off by Trump.

The fact that a billionaire real estate developer, Winston Fisher, co-cohosted the event and addressed attendees twice underscored that this group is not interested in the class warfare vilifying the “millionaires and billionaires” found in Sanders’ stump speech.

“You’re not going to make me hate somebody just because they’re rich. I want to be rich!” Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, a potential presidential candidate, said Friday to laughs.

Ha, ha, Ryan! Great line. You just showed how out of touch you are. There are people whose goal in life is not to be rich but to live in a society that treats its people justly and well. Very few hate the rich just because they are rich. They hate those greedy rich who become wealthy at the expense of everyone else and your statement shows that you are sucking up to just that group.

So what is this Third Way? They are the usual Democratic big business and Wall Street friendly types who want to make sure that voters never have a real choice.

For the left, Third Way represents the Wall Street-wing of the party and everything wrong with the donor-driven wet blanketism they’ve been trying exorcise since 2016. Thom Hartmann, a liberal talk radio host and Sanders friend, once called the group’s warning about Sanders “probably the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard,” before ticking through all the investment bankers on Third Way’s board.

“Republicans have chosen the far right, which means that they have ceded a good portion of the middle of the road,” said former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who is considering a presidential run. “The Democrats, in my opinion, would make a big mistake if they decide to run a base election and just say, ‘Our base is bigger than your base.'”

As I argued earlier, having a theoretically larger voter base is useless if they feel that you do not represent them enough to get them to vote.

Some of the people at this summit brought forth other tired arguments.

Single-payer, government-run health care may be a popular party plank in New York City, where Ocascio-Cortez, a Democratic Socialist, recently won a high-profile primary, Danielson said, but added, “it does not work in the rest of America … and I’m tired of losing.”

He says this despite single–payer gaining popularity, so much so that many prominent Democratic politicians like Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker have seen the writing on the wall and signed on to it.


  1. johnson catman says

    Maybe it is time for Democrats to have their own “tea party” and break the back of the republican-lite people who are totally out of touch.

  2. invivoMark says


    I’ve been saying this for years. I’m ready to march in the streets as soon as it happens.

  3. Holms says

    More than this, there needs to be a total restructuring of how parties exist. In USA they are organisations that work with the government by providing it with voting candidates, without being of the government. Instead, they are autonomous, private organisations with private funding, which has two obvious consequences:
    -- They are beholden to those rich donors,
    -- The two that exist have created a duopoly.
    America needs to take lessons from the Westminster system.

  4. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    The USA doesn’t have parties in the same sense as many other countries. Dems and Reps are coalitions of smaller movements, which are roughly equivalent to European parties. E.g. the Tea Party is close to the right wing populists in Europe, and Sanders&co are close to social democrats.
    If you want to restructure the bipolar party setup, you have to move to proportional voting. Good luck. The duopoly sees a third option as an enemy.

  5. lanir says

    I dont think there are moderate republican voters tobbe convinced of anything. Either they know what their party has been doing lately and are fine with it or they’re so low information that they’re basically living in a fantasy world. The former is out of reach and the latter is not practical to reach. You would have to overcome a reluctance to be wrong, skepticism that you are telling the truth rather than lying to promote your own interests, the idea that their party is fine and democrat obstructionists are somehow responsible for all the ills in the world, and overcome the larger and more organized republican publicity campaign. All this in sound bites and short videos of generally less than a minute at a time.

    This feels like another smoke screen to distract from their efforts to steal my vote again and give me a choice between bad and worse. I have no interest in playing that game.

  6. Science Rhebel says

    The only way to win for the dems is to embrace the progressive wing and grow a spine as they do so. My House Rep is a conservative Democrat, and I hold my nose every time I have to vote for him, yet all of our state assembly and senate reps from the area are progressive. Please, dems, move to the left a significant margin and see what it can do.

  7. machintelligence says

    Quite a few of us long term Democrats are quite progressive in our views. We tend to be older and are willing to do the grunt work necessary to keep the party running. Four years ago I attended the precinct caucus near my new residence and found I was all alone. I elected myself precinct committee person. Two years ago there were 48 folks in attendance. We voted for Bernie by a 2/3 margin, but no one wanted to be the second precinct person. Just voting isn’t enough if you want to affect party politics, you have to attend the meetings, work the fundraisers and the phone banks or walk the neighborhoods knocking on doors. No one is being excluded, but volunteers are thin on the ground.

  8. polishsalami says

    The myth of the Sensible Moderate Republican has been debunked, so I’m not even sure if these GOP Lite types believe it themselves, anymore. The belief that politics is a game for rich people seems entrenched in the Dem Establishment. Clean them out.

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