Gallup poll: Majority of Democrats want more moderate party

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi concluding their joint response to President Trump's prime time address, on January 8.

A brief follow-up to yesterday’s post, which was (sort of) about the question of how far left the Democratic Party might be moving. “Left” and “right” are imprecise terms, as are “liberal” and “conservative.”

But Gallup recently asked Democrats and Dem-leaning independents this question:

“If you had to choose, would rather see the Democratic Party become more liberal or become more moderate?”

And they asked Republicans and Repub-leaning independents:

“If you had to choose, would rather see the Republican Party become more conservative or become more moderate?”

I don’t claim to know what issues and positions go through people’s minds when they are asked such a question. But here are the results:

Gallup found that by a fairly solid-looking 54-41 percent (with five percent expressing no opinion) of Democrats would prefer that their party move toward the middle.

But among Republicans and Repub-leaners, by an even wider 57-37 percent margin, want their party to move further to the right.

It’s just a poll question, without much history to compare it against. Don’t take it too seriously. And 54-41 is no landslide. Nor is it clear what issues respondents thought about when they considered the difference between a moderate and a liberal (or, on the Repub side, a conservative).

But I would say the response from Democrats rubs somewhat against the notion that Democrats are craving leaders who will be arguing for single-payer health care or an aggressive round of taxing the rich to help the poor. If so, that might be good news for liberal-but-somewhat-more-centrist Democrats who are considering running for president, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Minnesota’s own Amy Klobuchar.

In the age of Trump, fine differences among liberals, like whether to focus on saving the Affordable Care Act or moving toward single-payer, tend to get lost. All of the Democratic contenders are united by their opposition to Trump and all things Trumpian. There are undoubtedly people on the left who favor things like single-payer, who will be energized by a bold progressive agenda. And there will be moderates who might be scared away by the same things.

And, in the age of Trump, whose ideology is incoherent, especially on traditional markers of liberalism versus conservatism, it’s even harder to speculate what Republican respondents may have had in mind when they were asked to choose between moderation and strong conservatism as the future direction of the party.

It’s also true that, as Edsall noted in the piece I linked to yesterday, the more liberal wing of the Democratic electorate are often more engaged and more likely to turn out in lower-turnout elections like primaries.

Some version of this argument will play out during the primaries. And, presumably that outcome will feed into the general election. Nothing new in that, but the Dems may have a more energized left than they have had for some time.

Comments (45)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/25/2019 - 10:25 am.

    “Moderate” is a word that focus groups well.

    • Submitted by Josh Lease on 01/25/2019 - 11:06 am.

      absolutely correct. the word “moderate” as a political position has been singled out for praise by the media over the last 25 years, particularly as it applies to Democrats to the point where it’s been fetishized. of course it polls well.

      What else polls well? liberal policy positions.

  2. Submitted by Doug Ellingson on 01/25/2019 - 10:34 am.

    “Left” and “Moderate” and “Right” are abstract terms and are not easily translatable into concrete policy preferences. In other words, I can easily see a “Moderate” Democrat who supports both single payer healthcare and the ERA.. It is probably more useful to use policy preferences as a measurement of a person’s political views rather than trying to use the criteria presented in the article.

  3. Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/25/2019 - 11:08 am.

    No real surprise here. While the left-wing firebrands like Ocasio-Cortez get a lot of attention, the reason the Democrats won back the house was because a lot of moderates won in suburban districts.

  4. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/25/2019 - 11:09 am.

    Become more moderate? That means move left, correct?

    After a generation a of Dem Presidents who pushed corporate negotiated free trade agreements, deregulated Wall Street, slashed capital gains taxes, de-formed welfare, boosted military spending again and again, failed to arrest even one individual for crashing the global economy, and then compromising right out of the shoot by proposing a Heritage Foundation healthcare plan, the national Democratic party is already right of center, just not as far right as the GOP.

    How about asking if Dem and Dem leaning voters support the party shedding those Gucci loafers and slipping on the Red Wing work boots again? Let’s see how that polls.

  5. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/25/2019 - 11:25 am.

    “Moderate” is one of those words in the political lexicon that has become absolutely devoid of meaning. Most people, in either party, will self-describe as “moderate,” but that description is often belied by the specific policy ideas they support.

  6. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/25/2019 - 11:31 am.

    I’m inclined toward Mr. Phelan on this one. We had eight years of a moderate Republican, and are now suffering with a 5th-grade bully of no particular ideology except that of self-aggrandizement. A “moderate” Democrat, by historical standards, would be supporting Ms. Octavio-Cortez’ efforts to raise the tax rate for the wealthy, indicting the financial leeches who crashed the economy a decade ago and were rewarded with bonuses instead of prison, reducing military spending, fixing Social Security so that it would be self-supporting once again, and insisting on re-regulating Wall Street while raising the capital gains tax rate. And, single-payer or not, a “moderate” Democrat would discard our broken shell of a health care system, replacing it with taxpayer-supported health care for everyone, having nothing to do with one’s employer, income or employment status, ethnicity, etc. We can call it Medicare or we can call it “Gloria,” but the current system, even with the ACA, doesn’t work for huge numbers of people, though health insurance executives probably think it’s just fine.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 01/25/2019 - 12:45 pm.

      Gloria – funny!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=355Fk8drgZE

    • Submitted by Betsy Larey on 01/25/2019 - 05:17 pm.

      A moderate ( either Demorcrat or Republican ) would generally not support policies on the far left/right. The ones Ray mentioned that moderates would support are left positions. Medicare for all and raising cap gains are not moderate positions. What we need is politicians that are willing to negotiate with the other side. Each side gives a little, and we end up somewhere in the middle. Otherwise this disfunction we currently have will go on forever. I am a moderate, and could support a moderate candidate from either party. I’m a registered Democrat, but would not vote for Berniie or Warren. The problem we have now is every politician on both sides of the aisle have to cater to the loud and obnoxious party regulars. The rest of us in the middle are largely ignored, but as the Democrats found out you can’t assume people who have voted the party line will continue to do so. Ignore us at your own peril.

  7. Submitted by Eric Black on 01/25/2019 - 11:48 am.

    Of course, you’re all right. “Moderate” is just a word. Who knows what people who chose it were thinking about. (Although it’s slightly interesting that this vague term is more attractive to Democrats than Republicans at the moment.) Perhaps the other problem is that the right has done a pretty good job of turning “liberal” into a pejorative.

    • Submitted by John Evans on 01/28/2019 - 01:13 pm.

      And spent a lot of money in that sustained, coordinated propaganda effort.

      Medicare for all actually polls pretty well. I think it qualifies as a moderate position; where a government-run health service would be the left-wing option, and does not poll well.

      Raising taxes on Capital Gains is favored by most mainstream economists, and polls pretty well too.

      The press obsession with Ocasio-Cortez is and effort to create a boogie man.

  8. Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/25/2019 - 12:18 pm.

    Ah yes, the idea that this country is actually secretly really progressive. That if the Democrats would only move to the left they would have incredible electoral success.

    We got the ACA – after decades of talking about healthcare reform – instead of something more comprehensive, because of incredible resistance. And this was with huge Democratic majorities, that soon went away, largely as a result of passing the ACA.

    People got upset because the government told them they had to have health insurance. How do you think its going to work when they find out the Democrats tell them their health coverage must come through the government? Actually, I can tell you – Colorado put single payor on the ballot and it lost 80-20. “Medicare for all” is popular until people figure out what it actually means.

    I actually really like Ocasio-Cortez. She is smart and funny and I think it is good to have someone pushing ideas from the left. But people are nuts if they think she represents the thinking of Democrats generally. She won because she outworked her out-of touch opponent. But that same district overwhelmingly voted Clinton over Sanders in 2016 and Cuomo over Nixon in the govenors race.

    You can say moderate doesn’t mean anything or however you want to discount what this poll says. And maybe its a bogus poll. But again, the Democrats didn’t win the house by replacing very liberal Democrats in safe seats in the Bronx with even more libera Democrats. They did it by replacing Republicans with moderate Democrats in the suburbs.

  9. Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/25/2019 - 12:27 pm.

    I think the polling is on the mark – the vast bulk of votes, and especially the votes that can be influenced by political ads, campaign themes, etc. – are for the most in the center – left-center, center, right-center, and independents (an almost ignored but large block right there!).

    Those with more extreme views I think tend to take over leadership roles in both parties because frankly they are more dedicated -moderates are at home raising the kids, developing a career, etc.

    But if you want your party to WIN elections, which ironically is the only way those more extreme programs have a chance of passing – I think it’s smart to go for that big, often somewhat undecided center and independent block of votes.

    Great example – Amy Klobuchar for president versus Kamala Harris for example.

    Amy, with her moderate, reasonable, sane, let’s-work-together style and integrity and honesty even has many Minnesota Republicans admitting, at least in private, that they like her and might be tempted to vote for her.

    She’s not going to galvanize Republicans to defeat her in the way that Harris might, or the way that Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

    Yet, she is a believer in most of the same things as Harris, and so anyone who supports Harris would probably be pretty happy under a Klobuchar presidency.

    Or at least, WAY happier than with another 4 years of Trump!

    So I would say that the poll does mean something, more Democrats do prefer a more moderate style, and most importantly, the winning strategy IMO is for appealing to the moderates and the independents.

    After all, someone with very left-wing views is probably already committed to voting Democratic, if only to defeat Trump, and the Repos.

    Just as those on the far right are already committed to voting Republican.

    Not only are there WAY more votes in the center and independent voter camps, they are not as committed to one party or the other – SO THAT IS THE BIG, FAT BLOCK OF VOTERS TO GO AFTER – assuming you actually want to win, as opposed to just ‘making a statement’ by running – and probably losing.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/25/2019 - 02:46 pm.

      If you think the right wing machine will not vilify Sen. Amy “Lead From the Middle Once I See Which Way the Crowd is Headed” Klobuchar, you’re in the running for the most naive quote for 2019.

      That said, I think plenty of Democrats can win in 2020.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/25/2019 - 04:19 pm.

        Read my post again Frank – I never said anything about how the ‘right wing machine’ won’t attack Amy – of course the right campaign will attack ANY Democratic candidate no matter who they are.

        Just as Democratic campaigners will attack any republican candidate.

        I said that I didn’t think Amy would galvanize the republican voters themselves to oppose her the way Hillary Clinton did, and some of the crowd in the running for 2020 might.

        If you ask many republicans why they voted for Trump, many, and I mean MANY of them will say “well, I sure wasn’t going to let Hillary win”.

        That’s someone who voted AGAINST Hillary, as much or more than voting FOR Trump.

        I’m saying I don’t think Amy Klobuchar would generate that kind of antipathy – of course the Republican campaigners will try to tear her down, that’s what campaigns try to do – I’m saying that it will be a pretty tough sell, and probably not that successful, at least to people in that middle of the spectrum I talked about that is UP FOR GRABS.

        Actually, I’d say YOU’RE the one maybe being naive if you think ‘plenty of Democrats’ can win in 2020.

        I think realistically there are ‘plenty’ without much hope of winning, because they don’t appeal enough to that huge block of Americans somewhere near the middle of the political spectrum to win.

        You might hate that, most on the edges do rail against the middle as you just did, but that’s the truth of the matter..

        That’s because elections are won with big vote totals, and the bigger blocks of votes are nearer the middle of the spectrum, than the edges.

        This despising of the middle you’re demonstrating is also how we end up with someone like George W. Bush or Trump – the far-left votes for Ralph Nader instead of Al Gore in 2000, or Jill Stein instead of Clinton in 2016.

        Those votes would have swung the election for Gore and Clinton!

        And because of that we have the Iraq war fiasco, the ISIS fiasco, and all the messes Trump is creating.

        Gee, thanks for that, far-lefties. So glad you voted for your purist principles (not!).

        Yes, Al Gore wasn’t perfect, and Hillary Clinton was very, very far from perfect, but they were way ahead of the republican alternative.

        The irony is that the far left loses big time (along with the rest of us) when they insist on a far left agenda and a far left candidate.

        They cause the Democratic party to lose elections, and then we end up with republicans who are closer to being fascists than supporting the far left agenda they believe in.

        And that’s not being ‘naive’, just the opposite – that’s seeing the political world as it actually is.

        • Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 01/28/2019 - 10:28 am.

          When on a national scale did the Democrats last run a candidate with a far left agenda? Clinton, Obama, and Clinton were not particularly progressive in many areas. Count me as someone that believes the Democrats need to show a clear difference between the right and the left, not just a muddied up middle ground. Frankly, take back being “liberal” as a good thing. The problem with the left is it posits ideas and policies, but never contacts them with how the electorate is feeling. If someone feels threatened by immigration, simply stating the fact that immigrants commit fewer crimes does not address how that person is feeling. Find out why they feel that way and address that, don’t just tell them they are wrong.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/28/2019 - 10:48 am.

            The Republicans are making it easy.
            They’re moved so far to the right that ANY Democrat is going to be clearly to the left of any Republican.

  10. Submitted by Jim Marshal on 01/25/2019 - 01:07 pm.

    To me, the term ‘moderate’ as it applies to politicians just means someone who doesn’t pose a threat to the existing power structures of this country. A politician who won’t speak out or vote against the security/surveillance state, growing wealth inequality, the drug war, corruption or the ongoing corporate crime wave. A good moderate sits in his DC office, takes pictures with his constituents and does whatever his/her party chieftains tell them to do.

    • Submitted by John Evans on 01/25/2019 - 05:09 pm.

      Definitions of Left and Right are very slippery, shifting things in the American imagination. Therefore, Moderate sounds safe. But in reality, it has no firm ground to occupy.

      You have presented the only sensible definition of a Moderate that I have seen.

  11. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 01/25/2019 - 02:11 pm.

    This is nothing new. The dems will run toward the far left during the primaries -each one trying to spend more money than the other candidate. They will push 70% marginal tax rate, free college for all, green new deal, repeal and replace failed Obamacare with single payer, wealth tax, and walls are immoral.

    The dem base (2nd definition) will be energized.

    Once nominate and if elected they will move to a more realistic or moderate position because, as always, the rich do not have enough money and the poor and middle class will be hammered by paying yet more and more in taxes.

    The real question is will the Media or the taxpayer subsidized journalists use the “L ” word then or is there already a quiet understanding that the dems are already lying.

    • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 01/25/2019 - 02:25 pm.

      Yes, thank goodness, the Republicans aren’t pushed to the right in their primaries. Or that Republicans who, you know, actually want to govern for the good of the country, don’t go along with the extremists on the right because they know what will happen to them in the next primaries. Otherwise we could have the most corrupt President in … oh, wait, never mind.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/28/2019 - 11:29 am.

        “Otherwise we could have the most corrupt President in … oh, wait, never mind.”

        The four most corrupt/lawless administrations in history (Grant, Harding, Nixon, Reagan) have all been Republican. The Trump regime is just continuing that tradition.

        Think of it as the equivalent of a confederate statue. It’s heritage!

  12. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 01/25/2019 - 04:26 pm.

    The media acknowledge that the Republicans have moved so far to the right that they’re in danger of falling off the edge, but in order to maintain the unspoken “equivalency” rule, they have to say that the Democrats are as far to the left as the Republicans are to the right.

    This notion, although demonstrably false–the so-called “far left” figures in the Democratic Party are much closer to FDR than to Karl Marx, and the Democratic Establishment types are somewhere in Nixon country–has permeated the minds of less-informed voters.

    In that sense, given the narrative that says we’re dealing with fascists on one hand and Marxists on the other, “moderation” sounds nice. Aren’t we told, “Moderation in all things”? Aren’t “moderate temperatures” pleasant?

    Yet, if one of today’s Republicans read about the policies of Eisenhower, Nixon, or even Reagan without seeing any names attached, he or she would assume that the text was describing a Democrat. That’s how far in the direction of fascism the Republicans have gone.

    For all the talk of his being a wild-eyed radical and pupil of Saul Alinsky, Obama was actually the most moderate of moderates. He continued the Republican wars in the Middle East, told the auto workers they had to make concessions after letting the finance industry executives keep their bonuses, and proposed an adaptation of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts Care as a solution to the nation’s health insurance problems. We needed an FDR in 2008, and we got a Tony Blair.

    Moderation is no virtue if it avoids problems, and this country is facing a lot of problems: wages not keeping up with inflation, unequal educational outcomes, climate change and the resulting natural disasters, unaffordable medical and dental care, a shortage of affordable housing, personal debt, an aging and deteriorating infrastructure (been out East lately?), bigotry that seems to target anyone who isn’t a middle-class white suburbanite or small town resident, older people being financially unable to retire, homelessness among all age groups, the need to create an immigration policy that controls numbers while not harming hardworking people who have made lives here, unwanted and useless involvement in foreign wars, and so on and so on. (If I haven’t mentioned your favorite issue, I’m thinking about it.)

    These are all real problems, and both parties have been avoiding them, putting flimsy band-aids on them, or making them worse. They tend to campaign on their favorite hot button issues in order to rile up their respective bases. They take opposite positions on the two biggies, abortion and guns, and pay little attention to the problems that are actually affecting the lives of ordinary people.

    We don’t need inoffensive moderates. We need clear-eyed, bold pragmatists who will look at these grave problems, acknowledge their urgency, and realize that many of them are interrelated. They will think about the many problems that have long historical roots or seem to be baked into our political and economic systems.

    They will study the solutions that other countries have come up with and consider the pluses and minuses of implementing them here. They will study promising grassroots efforts that have enjoyed local success.

    They will ignore the outsized voices of the corporate contributors and send out scouts (their own versions of James Agee and Lorena Hickock) to assess the true state of the nation and gauge what people actually believe if you force them to think past the labels.

    My guess is that the mainstream media types, the billionaires who fund the political parties, their pet politicians, and the ideologues who issue missives from think tanks would shriek in horror at the solutions that came out of such a process, but since they have been running this country for the past forty years, I would say, “Tough luck. You’ve had your turn.”

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/26/2019 - 07:57 am.

      When the right keeps moving further right, moderates must follow them, by definition.

      What is the moderate position on building a unneeded and wasteful wall? To build half of it?

      What is the moderate position on government by shutdown? To send half the employees home?

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 01/26/2019 - 10:33 am.

        What “moderation” seems to mean on today’s political scene is that the Republicans propose some far-right idea, and the Democrats say, “OK, but maybe not so much.”

        Why is moderation considered such a virtue in a every case?

        Before the Civil War, the “moderate” position on slavery was to make it an option on a state-by-state and to allow Southern enforcers to come to the North to capture escaped slaves.

        Before women’s suffrage became the law of the land, the “moderate” position was to make it an option state-by-state and in some cases, to allow single women over the age of thirty to vote, the reasoning being that they didn’t have husbands whose votes they would be “canceling out.”

        In several recent cases, faced with a country whose internal policies displease the corporate sector, the right-wing typically demands “regime change,” and sometimes even achieves it via the CIA (Iran, Guatemala, Chile) or military force (Iraq, Afghanistan), while the “moderates” say, “Apply sanctions (which hurt the civilian population without touching the rulers).” We rarely hear voices in the mainstream media saying, “Hey, it’s their country. Let them work out their own problems, as long as they’re not bothering anyone else.”

        There has been too much moderation on the part of the Democrats lately, and the American people are suffering for it.

        • Submitted by Joe Musich on 01/31/2019 - 03:01 pm.

          Very pragmatic both in thinking and structure Ms Sandness…”… Moderation is no virtue if it avoids problems….” I voted for Obama. I would do it again. That being said his fine speeches did not lead to the kind of legislation I had hoped would occurr. The ACA helped many no doubt. But I for one was wholly unsatisfied with it’s cannalized nature. His military positions were not any kind of sign on national maturity I would liked to have seen. His willingness to campaign more for a more humane national social agenda were present but in short supply. His education policy as a retired teacher was hugely disappolnting. But he was a moderate. Not an FDR, Harry Truman, if we look at all the problems we are facing as listed by Ms.Sandnesa these are not the times for a faint of heart moderate. I for one who is out there on a daily basis calling the question as it were. Those in control are already showing their unwillingness for a Greed Tax witness Howard Schultz.

  13. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 01/25/2019 - 05:34 pm.

    The true Democratic continuum relates to the level of people’s passion and patience. We all are progressives, but some live more easily with slower change, others see no good reason to wait. We unite when we look at outcomes. It is sort of like trying to take the lid off a tight jar. You can strain and strain but put it under hot water, and it opens far easier. Something like universal coverage is taking a long time to sell, but when our declining longevity, unique to developed countries, can be pretty much be explained by what our system values the most (profit), fewer and fewer people delude themselves we are the best. It is N American character trait to want things better now – that explains our ability to innovate. That is what progressives offer better lives for all our people – we need to unite to make tgG happdn

  14. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/26/2019 - 07:50 am.

    Oh for Pete’s sake don’t start with the Ralph Nader/Stein tripe again.

    Gore couldn’t win his home state, the people who presumably knew him best. He wins Tennessee, he wins the White House. Gore “lost” more Democratic voters to Bush than he did to Nader, in Florida.

    As for Stein, she is not the reason that HRC’s numbers went down in Michigan whenever she campaigned there. Her moderate position of grudgingly endorsing a $12/hr minimum wage rather than the full bore $15 earned her no votes from conservatives or her liberal base.

    Now is where I get accused of re-hashing the last election, when what I am doing is re-constructing a plane crash so future pilots don’t crash.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/26/2019 - 09:47 am.

      The fact remains that the Supreme Court broke precedent by involving itself in an election before a State court had a chance to make a ruling.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/26/2019 - 04:03 pm.

        SCOTUS allowed Tennessee to count all it’s votes.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/27/2019 - 03:39 pm.

        The fact is if Gore had asked for a state wide recount instead just three counties SCOTUS would have had no excuse to get involved, and Gore would have won the election. Gore was too clever by half. That doesn’t let SCOTUS off the hook, but this has been studied every which way from Sunday and you can’t blame it Nader no way no how.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/28/2019 - 10:51 am.

          SCOTUS had no excuse to be involved in Florida since the question was still under consideration by a State court.
          They ignored precedent and did it anyway.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/01/2019 - 08:57 am.

            The rationale SCOTUS used to begin with the possible disenfranchisement of those votes who would not recounted/counted in a limited recount. THAT wouldn’t have been the case had Gore called for a state wide recount, and State would have had a better legal argument against federal intrusion had they done so. The problem with the limited recount was that is wasn’t justified by any clear indication of fraud, it was just close. Gore was obviously demanding a limited recount because he thought it increased his chances of winning, rather than insuring the integrity of count. “Because I want to win” isn’t a strong legal argument for a recount.

            What SCOTUS did was clearly unconstitutional, and that should have a been giant flashing warning sign of things to come for American liberals and the Democratic Party… instead they just acted like they’d lost a football game and moved on.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/26/2019 - 11:10 am.

    I’ll offer a few additional observations.

    The first is that it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a party comprised of centrist/moderate republicans would prefer a less liberal Democratic Party. This IS the Party that HRC on the ballot after all.

    Anyone who’s been paying attention can sense the palpable anxiety among centrists/moderates who for the first time in their lives are being confronted by a population that’s won’t accept their failed compromises . This is why the term “populism” is thrown about as if being popular is a “bad” thing in a democracy where you need votes to win elections. Of course that make perfect sense to people who expect to unpopular candidates on ballots and win elections anyways.

    From a statistical perspective these results are merely a sampling artifact, if your sample is loaded with “moderates” you going to get moderate responses. All that tells you is that 51% of those sampled are think they’re “moderates”.

    My second observation would point out that like a previous discussion about a different article sounding the alarm about polarized Parties, one has to remember who’s NOT being surveyed here. Since neither Democrats or Republicans have the votes to win elections without “independent” votes,(Independents are now the largest “Party”) the question isn’t really what Democrats or Republicans want, but rather what the electorate at large wants. It’s pretty clear at this point that what the electorate wants is more liberalism albeit much to the consternation of “centrists”.

    Apparently some people around here simply cannot resist the urge or the purge the habit of marginalizing the majority in service of the duopoly. Whatever. The fact is that these “moderate” Democrats may be a slim majority in their own Party, but they are a minority that cannot win elections without liberal voters.

    Given the avalanche of data telling us that American’s are looking for more liberal policies and initiatives from living wages to immigration reform, Democrats would clearly be repeating the spectacular mistake they made back in the 80’s when they choose to turn a liberal Party into a moderate/centrist Party. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Party that put HRC on the ballot and couldn’t imagine losing with a moderate candidate would actually want repeat that mistake. Then again this is the Party that has earned a well established reputation for snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

    Finally, just weigh in on the “moderate” conversation, American’s have been living on a political landscape devoid of genuine liberalism for decades. Sanders’s and others only look like radical “leftists” because New Deal liberalism was banished from our political landscape by centrist New Democrats. Consequently the positions of liberals vs. “moderates” or conservatives have been obscured and distorted for decades by a artificially constricted spectrum of perspectives and political possibilities. When centrists like HRC claim to be progressives, what does a moderate or a liberal even look like? So who the heck knows how people are defining themselves?

    I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to get moderates who thought they were liberals to realize that they aren’t the liberals they pretend to be. You can’t say you support something in “principle” while dismissing it and the politicians who advocate it as un-electable or unrealistic. And your’ not a liberal if reflexively reject liberal initiatives and candidates. Whatever. What’s weird is people like this who want to think of themselves as liberals, what’s up with that?

    What we do know is that a majority of Americans are embracing liberal initiatives from living wages to Medicare for All. These initiatives are clearly outside the comfort zones of elite Democrats who fear any challenge to the status quo, and that anxiety is probably what Gallop is capturing in polls like this.

    As I keep saying, it’s easy and comfortable to live with failed compromises that don’t touch your own life in any significant way. One can always “feel” guilty about the plights your inflicting on others as you order your latte, guilt is after all a small price to pay. The problem is we actually live in a political system where you need votes to win elections, and now that some politicians who are not willing to be satisfied with failed compromises on the board, Democrats may have to become the liberal Party they sometimes pretended to be.

  16. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/26/2019 - 05:20 pm.

    Well Eric, good topic, but not sure where it goes, I don’t have Guccie’s, can’t say I ever did, never do Latte’s, but have work boots, Dock Siders and drink craft beer and regular coffee. Believe something is better than nothing, don’t hold my breath until I turn blue. Think that everyone should contribute to the cause, one way or the other, nothing is free. Folks can have differing opinions but they should be able to support them with some rational/factual philosophically stable discussion, Think we should have mandatory participation, a balanced budget, and the constitution was written on paper not in stone. What is that? a left leaning right wing moderate, or a right leaning left wing moderate, or an independent? Or as noted, labels don’t work well for free thinkers, so none needed because it will change depending on the topic.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/28/2019 - 10:33 am.

      That’s the point, the voters never shed their work boots. It was the party big wigs that decided to cast their lot with Wall Street and throw Labor under the bus.

      In 2004, John Kerry sent a not at all subtle message on Labor Day by ignoring Labor all together and talk about other things. Was it a good idea for HRC to make thousands by speaking privately to Wall Street groups? What did that do to her street cred? That is part of what let a billionaire sell himself as the champion of the working class, along with Bill Clinton lowering capital gains taxes, de-regulating Wall Street and the banksters, and constantly pushing corporate negotiated free trade agreements.

      Moderate, corporate friendly Dems led us to Don Trump. A lot of high school grads voted for the first major party candidate since 1992 to oppose free trade agreements.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/28/2019 - 05:28 pm.

        Well Frank you got me! “depending on the topic” been investing since the 70’s and have done OK with the IRA’s, 401K’s etc.ie. “Wall Street” So now what? Seems to be kind of like vegetable soup, need different vegetables in proper proportions to have a good vegetable soup. The discussion appears to be; what are the proper proportions?

  17. Submitted by Kent Fralish on 01/29/2019 - 09:47 am.

    Remember “corporations are people too”, and they speak loudly to a “right” ear and a “left” ear.
    Their issues are not the same as the poor masses.

  18. Submitted by John Appelen on 01/29/2019 - 10:16 pm.

    The survey results seem to align with the PEW research.
    http://www.people-press.org/interactives/political-polarization-1994-2017/

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