Gerrymandering Will Push The Democratic Party Leftward

Not such a bad thing, since the left essentially means the New Deal, not TEH SOCIALISMZ!!! Sean McElwee notes the following (boldface mine):

The narrative war over the future of the Democratic Party is aflutter and no doubt we’ll have better evidence soon. For now, we know that many of the insurgent Democrats that progressives were most thrilled about were not able to pull through. Further analysis of their margins will be important to determine how these candidates performed compared to an objective baseline.

There are bright spots. Colin Allred, who beat more centrist candidates in his primary, won a decisive victory. And the overall the party is moving in a leftward direction: Sharice Davids, Sean Casten, Susan Wild, Josh Harder and Haley Stevens all won (Harder is currently favored) and support Medicare for All. Four years ago, it’s unlikely that candidates in swing districts would back such unabashed progressive policies. Beto O’Rourke performed far better than expectations would predict. Further, with Jeff Van Drew barely beating an underfunded neo-Nazi, it’s far from clear that aggressive centrism is the path to electoral victory…

What’s clear is that progressive insurgents had a mixed bag… in purple districts.

In Blue districts, outright progressives are overwhelmingly coming out ahead. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Deb Haaland, Chuy Garcia, Rashida Tlaib, Jahana Hayes, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar, all unabashed progressives, will all be in the next Congress. The Medicare for all caucus will expand. Only one retiring Democrat was replaced by someone who is likely to be to their right (Colleen Hanabusa replaced by Ed Case).

This points to the path forward for progressives: it’s time to more seriously contest safe blue Democratic primaries. Incumbents like Eliot Engel who represent increasingly diverse districts but hold centrist views on key issues should face real electoral competition. In these safe blue districts we should have representatives who reflect the Democratic base, both descriptively (more women, more people of color and more young folks) and on our key issues like Medicare for All, green jobs and abolishing ICE. This is the best path forward for progressive victories…

Across the board, [Democratic] voters are supportive of more primary competition…

There are hundreds of safe seat Democrats. Many are admirable progressives. Far too many are out of touch with their districts and the progressive movement. It’s time to give Democrats in those districts a real choice. That is the path forward to a more progressive Democratic Party.

As I noted on Election Day, there were around 215 lean to solid (safe) Democratic seats, with about 190 seats being solid. Even if some of those would be less safe with moves to the left, we’re still talking about 160, 170 seats that could easily be what used to be called liberal Democratic: pro-national healthcare, higher minimum wages, pro-unionization, and, yes, good on civil rights too. Yet we’re nowhere near that. Because of gerrymandering, combined with Democratic opposition to Il Trumpe, a Democrat will win these seats in the general, so in most of these seats we don’t need a corporate Democrat (some places we might!).

If Democratic voters want a more left-leaning party, it’s ours for the taking. Remember, they work for us, not us for them.

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1 Response to Gerrymandering Will Push The Democratic Party Leftward

  1. coloncancercommunity says:

    Also, it should be noted that the DNC and DCCC ostracized the progressive candidates and refused to fund them, making an uphill climb much harder. State a local party officials did the same to those on the at the state and local level. In some cases, mainstream candidates that lost their primaries stayed in the race under other tickets. (Working Family Party etc) draining votes from primary winners.

    The point being: you can not expect the same success rate from campaigns you refuse to support.

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