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The Left Is Dying...Or Is It?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Is the progressive Left dying out? Has the momentum started to get bogged down in the mud? Over the past half-decade, this army of dedicated left-wingers has picked off longtime incumbents within the Democratic Party, forced the national organization to adopt a more Leninist tone, and set forth a slew of policy positions that wouldn’t have seen the light of day ten years ago. These progressives were loud and energized; they were the ascending wing of the party. Now, their charge through the American landscape appears to be slowing. Like the German armies after Operation Barbarossa, the climate is changing to their detriment, or is it?


There are many reasons to suspect that progressivism within the Democratic Party has peaked. Defunding the police, a critical policy push by this leftist cadre of the party did not play well. Even nonwhite Democrats in the cities rejected voter initiatives to defund the police. To the shock of his left-wing sect, being pro-crime doesn’t play well with voters. San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was booted in a recall due to his soft-on-crime approach. Axios and The Hill both ran pieces detailing the depreciating value of running on the progressive brand in elections (via The Hill):

Progressives endured two major blows this week from primaries that could have given them a much-needed boost of momentum just a few months away from the midterms. Instead, they again came up short, giving moderates more cause for their case that voters prefer a middle-ground approach, particularly in the battleground Midwest.

The biggest ousting came when Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), a pro-union powerhouse in the lower chamber, lost his reelection to Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) in a redrawn district that pitted the two incumbents against each other for the first time. 

Progressives took the loss particularly hard. 

“This defeat is painful,” said Leah Greenberg, a leading activist who co-founded the group Indivisible. “Not simply because of the grit and conviction Andy Levin brings to Congress as a progressive champion, but because it is a deeply troubling demonstration of how dark money from conservative billionaires can manipulate our broken political system.”


Liberals also saw one of their most promising rising stars, Lucas Kunce, a young Marine veteran, lose to moderate Trudy Busch Valentine in the Missouri Senate primary. Valentine was seen as the establishment’s choice to head into the general election, and narrowly won the majority of the votes.

When progressive heavyweights like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) back a down-ballot race, it’s supposed to help move the needle, at least in theory. Conventional political wisdom says that endorsements alone don’t usually sway voters, but they can provide a helpful stamp of approval in close contests. Look no further than Majority Whip James Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) famous hat tip to Biden during the 2020 presidential primary.


In several races that have garnered national attention — from Ohio and Michigan to Missouri – Sanders, Warren and Ocasio-Cortez have offered support to progressives over moderate rivals, at times physically showing up to stump on their behalf. Sanders and Warren both campaigned for Levin in Michigan, while Ocasio-Cortez gave a last-minute backing to former Ohio House candidate Nina Turner, who lost to Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio) earlier in the off-cycle. 


I don’t know what to believe. The reasoning is sound. There appears to be a massive groundswell against the continued experiments of the progressive Left since they are soaked in aberrance. They seem more focused on subjecting school kids to issues of being trans or gay. Gender identity must be mentioned x-x-number of times to maintain their ‘woke’ credibility. The Left wants teachers to peddle academically fraudulent material in the classroom, like those relating to critical race theory and the 1619 project. The Green New Deal is the epitome of pie-in-the-sky. They all speak like the college faculty, which is not conducive to broad-based voter outreach. 

Regarding racial issues, the progressive Left is way outside the mainstream in terms of intensity. Even nonwhite Democrats know that this is America, not Apartheid South Africa. Things can continually improve on the race relations front, but there has been significant progress on these matters that everyone can see. We’re long past the days of Jim Crowe. The progressive Left's ideological rigidity will come ahead at some point, especially since the ranks of the ‘woke’ are predominately white, wealthy, and upper-income. The rich white liberals are taking over the agenda-setting aspects of the Democratic Party at the expense of nonwhite Democrats who aren’t as left-wing but have been the party's backbone for decades. 


Yet, there is something to remember here: the legacy media is poison. Matt Taibbi had an excellent for these people; they’re the “kingmakers of suck.” The more they say something, the more it is met with either disbelief or skepticism. The more the liberal media tells us something is going on, especially regarding election coverage, the more voters are apt to rush to the opposite. They said that Donald Trump was a clown and an unserious presidential candidate in 2016. The media added that people are paying attention to Trump now; he’ll fizzle out. You all remember these headlines. Trump went on to handily win the Republican nomination and became the 45th president of the United States. 

It won’t shock me if all this downtrodden news about the supposed end of the Left is meant to set the stage for a massive progressive surge if Joe Biden decides not to run for re-election. What a boon that would be for this side. The media has been wrong about a slew of things in recent memory, and while some say there is no successor—I say you’re all grossly underestimating Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She will be eligible to be president in 2024, turning 35 before inauguration day. She has all the qualities of a national candidate and the resources to make it happen. Whether she can pull herself over the finish line is another thing, but the tangibles needed to mount a national campaign have been there for quite some time. 


Most of the Democratic Party’s representation in Congress comes from the coasts and the cities, areas that are breeding grounds for the progressive Left. The rising number of election defeats and lack of punch behind endorsements are partially due to this brand of politics is outright unpopular outside the snobby enclaves of liberal America. These people are not the majority. It’s not even close, but they’re more focused on being right than finding broad-based appeal and leading. 

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