If Markos Moulitsas had his way there’d be no Affordable Care Act, no Dodd-Frank, no economic stimulus package. That’s the price when purity tests are applied to Democrats.
In a remarkable post yesterday, Moulitsas, founder and publisher of the progressive community site DailyKos, celebrates the departure from the Senate of 10 moderate Democrats over the last decade, and makes clear his hope that Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) lose their tough reelection battles this year. He doesn’t name some other moderates in tight races, like Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), but his logic suggests that he’d be only too happy to say goodbye to them as well.
Moulitsas cares passionately about progressive politics, and he is a very savvy political observer—he knows that we must have Democratic majorities in Congress to make real progress, and that to create those majorities we must have Democrats win in red states like Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana and North Carolina. Surely he can see that such Democrats must be somewhat different than the full-throated progressives that he name-checks in his essay.
Democrats across the spectrum agree on far more than we disagree—almost all supported President Obama’s key initiatives, including universal health care and fundamental immigration reform. Most support new gun safety laws, marriage for gay couples and a vigorous federal response to climate change. Yet for some, that’s not pure enough.
If we are to make progress in a divided Washington—and if we are to protect the Democratic Senate majority—we simply must embrace a big tent for the Democratic Party. Even in purple states, there are not enough self-identified liberals to elect Democrats without their winning significant pluralities or majorities of moderates. The idea that more liberal candidates could win in places like Arkansas, Indiana or Alaska is pure fantasy. And to write off those states would consign Democrats to long-term congressional minority status.
While my “ideal world” of politics would involve Democratic House and Senate caucuses comprised wholly of progressives, I realize that’s not going to happen in the real world.
If Democrats are going to maintain a majority in the Senate and regain the majority in the House, they’re going to need at least some moderates in order to do so.
UPDATE: Markos Moulitsas has responded to the article I cited above. Here’s a bit from Markos’ response.
But that simple fact check isn’t the point I want to make. The point is this:
Who cares if seven of the 10 were replaced with Republicans? Ten years ago, Democrats had 49 members in the Senate. Today they have 53 plus Bernie Sanders and Angus King. And even if they lose the Senate this year, which they won’t, it won’t be much more than a rental as 2016 is a stellar map for us (up to 10 potential pickups).
So is it better to have Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller in a 49-seat minority, or is it better to replace them with better Democrats in a 55-seat Democratic majority? Only morons would argue for the former, but apparently, that’s what Third Way wants to be.