Democrats Must Let Go of the Centrist Status Quo

From Feb. 2021 to May 2022, President Biden’s approval ratings took a steep plummet from 61% to 39%. That statistic alone says a thousand words, but I’ll summarize it in a few: the safe, Republican-appeasing centrist strategies mobilized by Democrats aren’t cutting it anymore. The people want real progress.

The idea that a political “extreme” is bad–which is a loosely defined term in the first place–has pervaded our media for decades. Political pundits often reference some form of the horseshoe theory, which posits that both the extreme left and extreme right closely resemble each other in terms of totalitarianism, analogous to the opposite ends of a horseshoe being close together. Of course, this is nonsense; political scientists have debunked the horseshoe theory many times over, and “progressives” should start listening to them. Far-right ideology or fascism has a complex history of implementation that does, in fact, differ from that of socialist societies, but the equating of the two has nonetheless created a big problem for Democrats in America: the suffocating push for moderation.

Biden’s dropping popularity is a reflection of an entire class of “moderate democrats” within our government. Disjointed from progressives such as AOC, they have made no substantial effort to address any of the party’s inner problems. Think Murphy and Sinema, who have voted against Democratic bills and have made progressive legislation harder to pass. In fact, Stephanie Murphy bizarrely complained about the Democratic party favoring candidates that supported its domestic policy agenda: “You want your political arm to be focused on politics, not policy,” said Murphy.  “My belief is that the D.C.C.C. has one job and one job alone: to protect incumbents and expand the majority.” 

Moderates have also axed several of the administration’s attempts to tax the rich and use those proceeds to help communities in need. In times of contention over a bipartisan bill, whether they’ll side with their Democratic colleagues is called into question. Much like Republicans, many democrats are beholden to corporate interests; however, unlike them, they continue to bow to Republican wants out of fear of appearing “radical.” By doing this, they allow more Republican legislation to pass and the interests of the American public to fade.

Honestly, it’s no wonder working, and middle-class Americans feel that Democrats no longer represent them. 

For true change to come to the Democratic party, a close look at who centrism serves is sorely needed. I would also like for more lawmakers to look at proposals such as the 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights, laid out by Harvey Kaye and Alan Minsky. You can find it at Progressive Democrats of America. The proposal argues that Democrats need a “compelling story of how the party is going to serve the needs of ordinary people” and suggests that the party draws from the plans for an economic bill of rights floated by Martin Luther King, Jr. and FDR:

  1. A useful job that pays a living wage.
  2. A voice in the workplace through a union and collective bargaining.
  3. Comprehensive quality health care.
  4. Complete cost-free public education and access to broadband internet.
  5. Decent, safe, affordable housing.
  6. A clean environment and a healthy planet.
  7. A meaningful endowment of resources at birth and a secure retirement.
  8. Sound banking and financial services.
  9. An equitable and economically fair justice system.
  10. Recreation and participation in civic and democratic life.

In a world where we have all of the above, life would look very different. Democrats who aren’t on the progressive side of their need to wake up and realize that their decisions not only affect the people they represent but the state of their own futures, too.


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