Centrists Don’t Want "Party Unity"—They Want to Defend the Wealthy

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Common Dreams - December 12, 2019

"In truth, the divisive attacks on Sanders and Warren have nothing to do with assuring Democratic unity, or victory. Rather, they serve to defend deeply embedded financial interests and the wealthy donor class on which the mainstream Democratic Party has come to rely. Such wealthy interests are adamantly opposed to the types of policies being advocated by Sanders and Warren—such as Medicare for All and a Green New Deal—that would threaten their concentrated financial and political power."

As the Democratic caucuses and primaries hurtle ever closer, Democratic centrists ranging from billionaire Michael Bloomberg to former President Barack Obama are waging a frantic war to stifle more progressive candidates, i.e. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

In the name of “unifying” to defeat Trump, this centrist deception falsely insists that only a moderate can bring voters together and win in 2020. This argument may sound reasonable at first glance—but it contradicts facts on the ground showing strong support for both progressive candidates and policies.

Polling shows wavering and declining support for would-be centrist standard-bearer Joe Biden, throwing into question his claims of “electability.” And while Pete Buttigieg is polling strongly in Iowa, his numbers among African-American voters—a key Democratic voting bloc—remain persistently low.

While polls are volatile and ever-shifting, some longstanding patterns are clear. Foremost, several leading Democratic candidates—including Bernie Sanders, by substantial margins—consistently beat President Trump by varying degrees, belying the centrist canard that only a moderate can win. Meanwhile, the combined polling of Sanders and Warren consistently demonstrates strong support for a progressive nominee rather than a centrist one. (While Sanders is running on a policy agenda to the left of Warren, they’re both decidedly on the progressive wing.)

Ironically, establishment Democrats insist a progressive nominee can’t win, yet the clear viability of a progressive victory in the primaries and the general election appears to be precisely what they fear.

On issue after issue, from taxing the rich to universal healthcare and free college, a majority of Democratic voters sides with the progressive wing of the party over centrist naysayers. What’s more, analysis by Gabriel Lenz, a political scientist at the University of California, shows that voters are less likely to be scared off by terms like “socialism” if they generally agree with or approve of a candidate. And as Bernie Sanders remains one of the most popular politicians in the country, boasting high approval ratings, there’s ample reason to believe that his left-wing politics would not be the liability many centrists claim.

In the latest move to stop Democrats from embracing a progressive challenge to corporate power, Bloomberg has leaped into the race, plunking down an initial $30 million nationwide ad buy.

Sanders quickly blasted Bloomberg’s multi-million-dollar entry, saying, “We do not believe that billionaires have the right to buy elections. That is why multi-billionaires like Mr. Bloomberg are not going to get very far in this election.” ...
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