The Progressive Movement Hits the Wall
Author: Greg Valliere
June 8, 2022
THIS IS NOT TO SAY that the country is about to embrace a Trumpian revival; the former president’s mixed record in primaries this spring is a sign that he’s losing altitude — and suddenly Trump could become eclipsed by conservative Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as Republicans seek someone more palatable than Trump.
THE DEMOCRATS ARE STILL SUFFERING from an enormous self-inflicted wound: their embrace of the progressive agenda, which has backfired spectacularly. Some examples:
* Defund the police: The election of ex-cop Eric Adams as New York City mayor should have sent a message to the party: “defund the police” is a concept that has seriously backfired. To be fair, Biden and most mainstream Democrats never supported the concept, but many failed to speak out against it until crime became a dominant issue.
* A wealth tax: Bernie Sanders and left wing Democrats have called for a de facto wealth tax, which they cannot sell to the public, which views the concept as confiscatory.
* Medicare for all: The only way Democrats can prevail on health benefits is through incremental provisions. A dramatic Medicare expansion simply doesn’t have the votes in Congress.
* Massive student loan relief: Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want virtual loan forgiveness for middle and lower class debtors, but that would infuriate millions of Americans who paid off all of their loans. Even the modest loan forgiveness under consideration by Biden could be controversial.
* Packing the Supreme Court: This idea captivated the left a couple of years ago, but Biden realized that it would backfire spectacularly, as it did on Franklin Roosevelt in 1937.
* Ending the filibuster: This was going to be the secret sauce, a move that would allow passage of progressive legislation. But Joe Manchin and a handful of other Democrats won’t let it happen.
* The spending binge: The U.S. added nearly $6 trillion in new spending last year for Covid relief and infrastructure, and proponents want more. The public is convinced that this has ignited inflation.
* Energy: The progressive mantra against fossil fuels has clearly backfired, as Americans seek to blame something for $6 per gallon gasoline.
* Social issues: *Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia gubernatorial race last fall sent a clear message that schools should have limits on what they teach. The result of that election shocked progressives, which was a warning signal that they were out of touch.
THE PROGRESSIVE IDEAS SIMPLY DON’T GENERATE ENOUGH VOTES, yet mainstream Democrats have to worry that Sen. Warren could unify the left and win the nomination in a crowded field in 2024 if Joe Biden doesn’t run. Warren is too polarizing to win a general election, in our opinion.
THE U.S. IS A CENTER-RIGHT COUNTRY, which was confirmed once again last night in San Francisco, where even liberals had enough of the progressive agenda. Will the party — and the reeling president — get the message?
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