NYT Column Highlights Growing Concern Over Wokeness Within the Democratic Party

Posted: May 27, 2021 8:37 AM
NYT Column Highlights Growing Concern Over Wokeness Within the Democratic Party

Source: AP Photo/Matt York

The New York Times ran a guest column pointing out the problem of wokeness for the Democratic Party and how it's affecting the party's prospects.

In the op-ed, Thomas Edsall looks at polling that shows most people are against some of the more radical aspects progressives are embracing, from disagreeing with the fact that there are only two genders to the defund the police movement. 

“Although centrist Democrats make up a majority of the party in the polls I cited above, the fact that a substantial minority of Democrats takes the more extreme stance allows Republicans to portray the Democratic Party as very much in thrall to its more ‘radical’ wing,” Edsall writes. 

“The past 12 months have seen a centrist countermobilization designed to strengthen a mainstream image of the Democratic Party and to block the power of the more radical left to set policy,” he continues. 

Edsall includes an emailed statement from Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at NYU, who argues the progressive policies being pushed are “weighing down” the Democratic Party’s prospects. 

“Wokeness is kryptonite for the Democrats. Most people hate it, other than the progressive activists," Haidst says. "If you just look at Americans’ policy preferences, Dems should be winning big majorities. But we have strong negative partisanship, and when people are faced with a party that seems to want to defund the police and rename schools, rather than open them, all while crime is rising and kids’ welfare is falling, the left flank of the party is just so easy for Republicans to run against."

Edsall points to other prominent Democrats who have argued much the same, like former President Barack Obama and Democratic political strategist James Carville, who recently noted that wokeness is the elephant in the room, and people don’t want to highlight the problem that it is “because they’ll get clobbered.”

Others Edsall spoke with say the way forward involves finding a point of agreement and moving forward from there—but while that may be reasonable in theory, in practice is a different story.

“[T]he real question today is how amenable to reconciliation our politics actually are, given that there is profound conflict not only between the two parties but embedded within them,” he concludes.