“Left-wing candidates from Pennsylvania to North Carolina to Missouri are shying away from the P-word on the campaign trail, in messaging and online fundraising, and even in media blitzes”
Has the term “progressive” become toxic for Democrats running for office? It’s beginning to look that way. Some of them are actively running away from the word in their campaign materials.
Why do you suppose that is?
Could it be because of defunding the police? Something else?
Hanna Trudo writes at The Hill:
Progressive candidates seek distance from label
They’re pushing for environmental reforms, embracing single-payer health care and calling for more government assistance. But increasingly, many are reluctant to call themselves “progressives.”
Left-wing candidates from Pennsylvania to North Carolina to Missouri are shying away from the P-word on the campaign trail, in messaging and online fundraising, and even in media blitzes, signaling an attempt to rebrand their wing of the party as Democrats debate how to win the midterm elections.
On paper, many mesh with Capitol Hill’s top leftists. Some support easing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and restarting discussions around “Medicare for All.” Others want to accept more Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of their country. Most would like President Biden to use executive action to give Americans more aid across the board.
Their hesitation to be defined as such, however, is new.
“For those people who understand root terminology, to progress means to move forward,” said Dwight Bullard, a senior adviser for Florida Rising and a local NAACP leader. “To be a progressive is to be forward thinking or constantly in a push to improve.”
Now for the funniest part of the story. What do they prefer to be called instead of progressive?
While some high-profile contenders still use the moniker, others want to be thought of in different terms. Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who’s seeking the party’s nomination for a coveted Senate seat, prefers a different word: populist.
He’s not alone.
Isn’t that a term most people associate with Trump? Has anyone pointed that out to these Democrats?
Guy Benson of Townhall notes that it’s not about the word, it’s about policy:
Ultimately, they can “rebrand” all they want. It’s not the word or label that is the fundamental problem, but rather the policies attached to whatever the word or label may be. As National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar points out, several Democratic Senate frontrunners in key races are from the progressive/name TBA wing of the party. No one knows how things will shake out more than half a year from now, but Republicans in places like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania will certainly be eager to highlight some of the positions of leftwing candidates if they become general election nominees:
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination for Senate, is a Green New Deal-supporting, single-payer health care-backing, cash-bail-opposing candidate championed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He started out with a sizable lead in the primary but is facing two opponents who are beginning to spend their own personal wealth on campaign ads. Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman isn’t calling himself a progressive in this campaign, but he was a 2016 Bernie Sanders backer and he supports Medicare-for-all.
The strategy of dropping the term “progressive” relies on a misguided belief that voters won’t see that a candidate’s policy positions align with people like AOC or Bernie Sanders.
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