Saturday, June 02, 2018

Democrats Must Remain A "Big Tent" Party To Win

I am a progressive (Liberal, Leftist, Socialist, etc.), and I have been for the last 50 years. But a lot of my progressive brothers and sisters are probably not going to like what I have to say.

Too many of them believe you cannot be a good progressive (or Democrat) unless you blindly follow Bernie Sanders. They want the Democratic Party to move farther to the left. They think American voters will flock to the party if it moves farther to the left. And to force the party to do that, they refuse to support moderate or conservative Democrats. I think that is a foolhardy position, and will only lead to defeat (and more disastrous years of Republican rule).

I would love for a majority of Americans to be progressives. But that is simply not the case. Progressives are growing, but remain a minority in this country. Conservatives are also a minority. Like it or not, the biggest portion of American voters are moderates -- and neither Democrats nor Republicans can win without appealing to those moderate voters.

This is illustrated in the chart above, which reflects results of a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 27th and 29th of a national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,279 registered voters). The margin of error for adults is 3.1 points, and for registered voters is 2.9 points.

Note that 40% of adults, 40% of Independents, and 49% of registered voters think the Democratic Party is too liberal. Only 14% of adults, 13% of Independents, and 13% of registered voters think the Democratic Party is not liberal enough. And 24% of adults, 13% of Independents, and 25% of registered voters think the ideology of the Democratic Party is about right.

That means 74% of registered voters do NOT want the party to become more liberal (progressive). Moving to the left will not attract these voters. It will drive them away.

There are parts of this country where a progressive Democrat can do very well, and I hope as many of them as possible can be elected. But there are other areas where only a moderate or conservative Democrat has a chance to be elected. If a moderate or conservative Democrat is nominated in these areas, smart progressives will swallow their pride and vote for them. Those candidates will support at least some of the things we want to achieve, while their Republican opponents support none of them.

Let me be blunt. The worst Democrat on the ballot is better than the best Republican. As progressives, we must join other Democrats and support all of the party's candidates. That is the only way we can take control of Congress back from the Republicans -- and it is essential that we do that.

Will Rogers once said he was not a member of an organized political party -- he was a Democrat. That's because the Democratic Party has always been a "big tent" party -- contains liberals, moderates, and conservatives. It results in a lot of arguments (and some fun conventions), but it is our strength. When we stick together, we win. When we don't, we lose.

The teabaggers have a purity test for Republicans, and it has damaged their party. Democrats must NEVER do that. All Democrats are good Democrats (even if they disagree with us on some issues), and we must embrace them and support them. We saw what the alternative produced in 2016 -- and we must never allow that to happen again.

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