To ensure that they do not agree with President Donald Trump on a single policy position, the Democrats have made a hard-left turn on the political highway so abrupt they essentially careened into a ditch. The punditry class says that some of the top-tier presidential contenders – such as former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN, and media billionaire mogul Michael Bloomberg – are tapping into the centrist demographic with their moderate views. Does this mean the classical definition of a centrist is null and void? If you were to assess the White House hopefuls claiming the middle ground, you would conclude that the center has become the new liberal since the left has delved into socialist territory on every issue.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has been gaining momentum since her recent third-place finish in New Hampshire. Her campaign even got its first political action committee (PAC), which is pumping money into pro-Klobuchar advertisements in Nevada and South Carolina ahead of their electoral contests. More are viewing her as a viable middle-of-the-road candidate, who will not go too far off the progressive rails like some of her rivals.
But is she a moderate candidate?
Recently, the three-term senator proposed raising the death tax to generate $100 billion in revenue. She is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal (GND). Her website says she endorses tuition-free college. Klobuchar’s plan includes offering health care to illegal immigrants. While she has advocated a “big tent” in the Democratic Party for anti-abortion voters, her stance on late-term abortion has been unclear.
In Full Bloom
The one issue that highlights former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s far-left streak is guns. In December, he unveiled a comprehensive gun control plan that involves urging Congress to approve red flag laws, implementing a so-called assault weapons ban, and removing the mythical gun show loophole.
But since he announced his 2020 intentions, Bloomberg has been pandering to the far-left wing of the Democratic Party. Instead of fulfilling the demand for a liberal with sanity, Bloomberg has put forward so many generic big government ideas that voters would unlikely notice the difference between his platform and that of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Some of these ideas include free tuition for low-income students, a public insurance option comparable to Medicare, a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants, and increased tax rates on corporations and high-income earners without loopholes.
Thanks to his ad blitz, Bloomberg has soared in the national polls. Whether he can sustain the impetus or not remains to be seen, as a lot of his past comments and policies are coming to the surface. Will the Democratic base rally around Bloomberg in November should he win the nomination? For centrists, they may think they are better off with the devil they know than the devil they do not.
Das Boot Edge
Pete Buttigieg has dominated the national headlines in recent weeks, but the storm clouds of Bloomberg could rain on his parade. Many analysts will make the case that Buttigieg offers more centrist Democrats a reasonable alternative to Sanders or Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). But how? The only difference is that the former mayor of South Bend, IN, is selling a “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan, which allows you to either opt-in to a government option or keep your private insurance.
On virtually all the meat and potato issues, Buttigieg maintains the progressive cause du jour positions. He has defended late-term and partial-birth abortion. He wants to give illegal immigrants free health insurance. His Douglass Plan for Black America does not officially outline reparations for descendants of slavery, but it would serve as “a complement to any potential reparations proposals.” The mayor wants a universal income for all Americans.
Buttigieg has been compared to former President Barack Obama for the way he communicates to audiences. The mayor espouses well-crafted messages that are so generic they are devoid of substance and authenticity. He utters statements like “an improbable hope became an undeniable reality” and “the deep freeze of an Iowa January.” Who talks like that in real life? These are great phrases to read in prose, but for a guy who sells himself as a small-town, Middle America mayor, it comes across as second-rate paraphrasing of the Tao Te Ching.
A Centrist Revolution?
Everyone has their own idea of what a centrist is. The Intercept recently opined that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Sanders, and Warren are the real centrists. Before pandering to the worst instincts of the Democratic Party, the former vice president had been considered “the ultimate centrist.” The problem, however, is that centrists do not support a dramatic paradigm shift in Washington, either to the left or right. All the remaining candidates endorse overhauling the fabric of the United States.
For some centrists who maintain an inherent distrust of the state, the problem could be that the left and right compromise way too much. One wants more welfare spending, and the other desires greater warfare spending. What happens in the end? The warfare-welfare state, which raises the federal deficit, triggers new wars, and adds to the national debt. So, what do these voters, who can feel like both parties are pulling their arms, want? Over the years, the data have highlighted that they want the state to do more to help the economy, but they worry that it may be ineffective and counterproductive. Most centrists are content with current gun laws, a majority want to expand the domestic output of natural gas and crude oil, and many of them think the impecunious are poor because of their bad choices.
Of course, whether you are a blue dog or a socialist, the most important position to hold in the party is that Trump is a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and transphobic orange man. If you dare say a kind word about Trump, or you echo Andrew Yang’s statement that Trump is a symptom and not the cause of the nation’s problems, then you will be cast out like a leper. Even if you have no policy proposals other than declaring Orange Man Bad™, you have a shot at the nomination.
Read more from Andrew Moran.