Dinggummit! Nobody reads my best comments. I’ll re-post a little Facebook exchange here, so people can not read it in two different places. So, it starts off with this post from Somedude:
Hi, I’m new here. in looking through the choices for the D nomination I’m not sure who the moderate alternative is to biden. It seems like the rest of the top tier are far to the left of him (with the possible exception of mayor pete but I can’t tell for sure).
OK. I reply:
“I can’t tell for sure” pretty much sums up Mayor Pete’s bold stands on the issues. Still, if you want a viable “moderate”, he may be your guy. Or, you could choose Harris. She’s really a “moderate”, she just plays a progressive on TV. Fundamentally, moderate-ness is the last thing the party and the nation need right now, and the last thing D primary voters are going to support.
That elicited a few comments. I’ll just quote the most significant one, from Dudetwo:
Two interesting things here. First, the notion that moderate-ness is the “last thing the nation needs right now”. Why is that? As I asked Carl above, do you think we need to swing the pendulum back the other way just as far in the opposite direction (and just as out of wack) in order to restore order? I find that unhealthy.
Second, Democrats make up some small percentage of the overall electorate (somewhere around 30%). A percentage of that will vote in the primary. Thus, “the thing Democrat primary voters are going to support” might also be the “last thing general election voters are going to support”. Do you think the folks that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 have suddenly become Democratic Socialists in the past 2 years? (That’s a serious question for you.)
And my reply, note how I deftly ignore the ludicrous false equivalence:
Ever since the election of ’72, the leadership of the Democratic Party has steered the party to the right. It has preached the gospel of “moderation”. No candidate must ever be seen as “too liberal”, lest they lose the three voters in the middle.
As Reagan, the Bushes, and Trump have catapulted the Republicans into wackanoodle cuckoobird land, the leadership of the D Party has matched the rightward swing. The strategy seems to be that if they’re just a little less awful, they’ll get the votes of everyone to the left of completely bonkers.
But the world doesn’t work that way. Elections are not decided by the tiny group of “moderates” who sometimes vote R, and sometimes vote D. Elections are decided by the eligible voters who don’t show up. Eligible voters don’t show up because their interests are not represented by either of the two too conservative parties.
Today’s most “radical” Ds espouse ideas that are not radical at all in the rest of the developed world, in fact they’re pretty conservative by the standards of western Europe. Single payer healthcare for all? Not a radical idea anywhere but in the Neanderthal USA.
Today’s “moderate” Ds are far to the right of many Republicans in recent generations. Can you imagine either of the Clintons warning about the rise of the military industrial complex? No, they’re major beneficiaries of it. Can you imagine Joe Biden taking the initiative to create an environmental organization as powerful and important as the EPA?
Yes, the pendulum must swing back. But there’s no chance of it swinging too far. Too far isn’t even in the discussion.
Sadly, nobody has replied to this, and it only got one lonely thumbs up.