In last week’s election, the Democrats performed terribly, despite running during a period of unprecedented crisis against a uniquely unpopular president. Donald Trump’s four years of demagoguery and corporate giveaways should have been easy to run against — but the Democratic Party is unwilling and unable to pose an alternative.
The election had barely been called for Joe Biden when Democratic Party centrists began blaming the party’s Left for the underwhelming results of last week’s election, no matter every bit of proof to the contrary.
Joining the chorus was one of Biden’s Republican supporters, John Kasich, who lectured the Democrats that if they had more clearly “rejected the hard left,” they would have better appealed to the Americans, who “essentially live in the middle.” Again, the numbers point to the opposite: a growing polarization and a hollowing out of the center.
More important, the middle ground that does exist provides a terrain that should be more favorable to left ideas. As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) rightly pointed out, “every single candidate that co-sponsored Medicare for All in a swing district kept their seat.” And every swing-district Democrat that accepted AOC’s help with their election operation won, while nearly everyone one that refused lost.
In many states and counties that voted red, referenda passed overwhelmingly to increase the minimum wage, fund public education, decriminalize drugs, and implement rent control. In Mississippi, voters elected to replace their Confederate-era state flag. On economic issues, this pattern is even clearer. As the Huffington Post reported, according to polls, “one out of every five Republicans has economic views that align better with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party.” This includes support for increasing the minimum wage, taxing the rich, and providing robust COVID-19 relief benefits.