There are currently two ideological schools of thought within the national Democratic Party. The first may be properly labeled as “Center-Left.” The second is best described as “Radical Left.”
The Center-Left Agenda is one that most Americans enthusiastically support. It includes strong measures to deal with climate change and environmental pollution, expansion of higher education financial assistance to needy students, promotion of the civil rights and economic opportunity of minorities, and guarantee of health care for all Americans.
The Radical Left agenda includes these items, but also embraces three others that are anathema to the overwhelming majority of Americans: 1) Defunding the police, 2) Socialism; and 3) Delegitimization of the State of Israel, America’s ally of shared values.
It must be emphasized that the term “socialism” is often misused. The accurate definition of socialism is the ownership and control by the government of the principle means of production, distribution, and exchange. As Bernie Sanders, himself a socialist, has stated, socialism is NOT governmental financial assistance to individuals and families to enable them to afford quality health care, higher education, and aging. Americans realize that such programs as Social Security, Medicare, and student loans are hardly incompatible with capitalism.
It was Joe Biden’s adherence to the Center-Left agenda and his unequivocal rejection of Radical Left initiatives and rhetoric that account for his victory in the presidential race over Donald Trump.
And the limited losses incurred by the Democrats in the House of Representatives can be best attributed to the identification of the losing Democratic candidates, accurately or inaccurately, with the Radical Left. This was emphasized by Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia) in a telephone conference call with other House Democratic Caucus members the Thursday after the election.
The Republican success in inaccurately identifying the entire Democratic Party with socialism and defunding the police was the primary factor of the underperformance of Biden with the Cuban-American community of Miami Dade County, Florida.
This is a warning shot to the Democrats regarding the forthcoming runoffs for the two Georgia Senate seats. As I described in a previous column, the Democrats have an outstanding opportunity to win both these seats and thus gain control of the Senate IF they adhere to a Center- Left campaign message and eschew the Radical Left agenda.
It must be emphasized that Bernie Sanders was NOT the primary advocate of the Radical Left agenda in the recent campaign. Instead, that role was played by Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) from Queens and her fellow “squad members,” Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan). Another squad member, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), did not join with AOC, Omar, and Tlaib in their anti-Israel vitriol and thus cannot be considered as one of the leading Radical Left agenda advocates.
Biden totally sidestepped the Radical Left agenda, a remarkable feat of political statesmanship. Joe Biden did not try to purge the Radical Left advocates and followers from the Democratic Party. Yet at the same time, he gave them no concessions regarding the goals they were seeking.
He consistently denounced the “defund the police” movement and established beyond any reasonable doubt that there was nothing in his record to support the assertion that he was ever a socialist. And on Israel, he successfully led the fight to defeat the efforts of the Radical Left to enact a platform plank hostile to Israel.
Trump knew that his only chance of defeating Biden was to define the former Vice President as a member of the Radical Left. He made an all-out effort in the two debates to do so, but his attempt failed miserably. Joe Biden was exactly what America was seeking in 2020: a traditional Democrat who would adhere to a center-left path.
If Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock intend to prevail in the Georgia January 5 Senate runoff contests against their respective Republican incumbent opponents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, they will follow diligently the Biden Center-Left path and totally reject the Radical Left agenda.
Alan Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.
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