It is reasonably clear that Bernie Sanders and his distinct movement (joined on the campaign trail by the new Democratic Socialist megastar from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), had a rough night on Tuesday, when candidates they had backed in person, Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed and Kansas congressional aspirant Brent Welder, both lost races many expected them to win, against (respectively) Gretchen Whitmer and Sharice Davids. But were those defeats for “progressivism” or victories for “centrism”? That depends on whom you ask.
Yeah, because we’ve somehow defined “centrist” to mean “reasonable, adult, speaks-in-a-soothing-voice” and divorced it entirely from the policy positions it’s supposed to entail. Most Democratic leaders have no idea where the center of this country actually is because they’re too busy listening to Chuck Todd fervently muttering “both sides, both sides, BOTH SIDES!”
If we define “the center” as a set of policy initiatives favored by the majority of Americans, here’s what we have: legal abortion with some restrictions, marriage equality, economic parity, regulation of health care, restrictions on gun ownership, a smaller military budget, higher minimum wage, and taxes on the wealthiest corporations.
Turns out we already have a party that supports all that.
That’s the Democratic Party. Sorry, but if you’re looking for the center it’s right there.
I know. I know the past 40 years of listening to Limbaugh and his lesser lights scream that the Democratic Party is full of homosexual peace-freaks who want to take your money and give it all to welfare drug addicts in wherever the “inner city” is.
I know you can’t say the word “liberal” without making it sound like you just said “moist,” and I know you’ve spent the past 10 years at dinner parties glaring and adjusting your wizened testes whenever trans rights came up because you were so, so oppressed by political correctness.
I know it makes a lot of people feel squishy to have to side with dastardly liberals, but if you believe what you say you believe, you accept the box you’re sorted into even if you don’t like its color.
Think women are people? You’re over here with us. Think you deserve overtime and Jeff Bezos should pay his taxes? Yup, saved you a seat.
You can say “I’m really more of a centrist” because you want to sound mysterious or smart or differentiate yourself from all those BORING ASS PEOPLE who’ve succumbed to PARTY LABELS and you, of course, are too special to ever be defined by something so pedestrian. You can say you’re a centrist because it’s not cool to be a Republican anymore, but it’s not cool to be a Democrat, either. You can say that you’re a centrist because you want everyone to like you, or you don’t want to have a fight, or you’re genuinely ignorant of everything in politics except what Good Morning America or The View tell you. You can say it all you want.
What you are is a coward. The center of America is squarely within the confines of the Democratic Party which is also, these days, THE LAST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST A BUNCH OF ARSONISTS. And you’re gonna pretend you’re too cool to sit at the table? You’re too special? Go to hell, with that.
The center isn’t somewhere between Republicans and Democrats, these days. The moderate position isn’t half a Nazi. The compromises, deals, accommodations, are all being made within the Democratic Party as they try to run this godforsaken gerrymandered mess we call a government. They’re doing all the work and having all the struggles and there’s a left wing and a right wing but they’re all the same party. They’re trying to work while Republicans are in the corner burning ants with a magnifying glass.
So, in the words of our Lord and Savior David Milch, declare or shut the fuck up.