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Issues & Insights

Pelosi Warns Democrats To Stay In Center, But Leftward Drift Has Picked Up Momentum

By The Editors

So Nancy Pelosi is telling Democrats to stay in the center. She’s quite a few decades too late. Oldtimers will have a hard time remembering when her party was anywhere near the middle of the political road.

Speaker of the House Pelosi issued her cautionary word last week. She said Democrats cannot beat President Trump in a close 2020 election. The winning margin has to be “big,” she said, because then he won’t be able to challenge the results.

Today’s Democrats are so far removed from the center that they haven’t been able to see it from a distance since Bill Clinton was the embodiment of the Democratic Leadership Council, which was formed to reorient the party back toward the middle — nearly 35 years ago. They haven’t had a traditional centrist since the death of Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, a congressman then senator from Washington for more than 40 years, who passed away in 1983.

Joe Lieberman, the four-term U.S. senator from Connecticut, was thought of as the heir to the Jackson legacy. He was also a part of the DLC, and even endorsed Republican Sen. John McCain for president in 2008.

Neither of those senators would be accepted by 2019 Democrats, though. The Bill Clinton of 1992 and 1996 wouldn’t be either. The Bill Clinton who said “the era of Big Government is over” would be a pariah. Because Democrats don’t just want Big Government now, they want authoritarian government.

A Gallup poll taken last summer found that well more than half of Democrats “have a more positive image of socialism than they do of capitalism.” Fifty-seven percent said they view socialism favorably — far out of line with the American public overall, only 37 percent of whom have a more positive image of socialism.

Meanwhile, a mere 47 percent of Democrats held a positive image of capitalism, a non-coercive arrangement — not a system — that free people willingly enter into.

That Democrats have such a favorable view of socialism is no surprise. Look at the figures who are highly revered by the party:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose self-identification as a socialist was unacceptable in national politics not that many years ago. Today he is second only to former Vice President Joe Biden as the favorite for the party’s 2020 nomination. And he, in fact, might be more than an everyday socialist. Author Paul Sperry has called him an outright Communist. He’s also been labeled a Marxist.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, right behind Sanders in the polls, appeals to the party with her firm-left agenda. She’s obsessed with erecting greater regulatory barriers, particularly for financial institutions; would like to seize the means of production; and shamelessly panders to human jealousy. What she wants is to put the sole of her designer boot on the economy’s throat.

And of course there’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the “self-avowed socialist.” Former Carl’s Jr. CEO Andy Puzder says she does not understand what socialism is, but that doesn’t disqualify her in the eyes of her many zealous fans among Democrats. They gravitate toward her because she’s constantly discharging the correct platitudes about free college, health care for all, government-guaranteed jobs, the Green New Deal, and government regulation of political speech. In her world, there’s always enough of someone else’s money available to pay for her fanciful ideas.

Watching all this, Biden has had little choice but to steer his campaign hard to portside. One wonders if being captured by such radical elements will lead to a third-party status for Democrats outside of California, New York, and maybe a couple of other states. Because they have surely created a large void in the middle.


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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

3 comments

  • “So Nancy Pelosi is telling Democrats to stay in the center.”

    When that fails Pelosi will define the center as wherever they are and claim anyone a fraction of a millimeter to the right as a right-wing extremist.

  • What Pelosi means is “center facade – left-wing actuals”, but she is a more practiced liar than most of her Democrat colleagues. They are not nearly as good at pretense.

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