Why is the Democratic establishment sabotaging its populist wing?

By Marc W. Polite

The 2020 presidential election is in disarray, and there is much confusion when it comes to the messaging coming from the party who is out of power. The first primaries are in February- a few months away, and we are seeing eleventh hour entries on the Democratic side from oligarchs like Michael Bloomberg and corporate Democrats like Deval Patrick. At a moment when Bernie Sanders is surging, and to a lesser extent Elizabeth Warren, the establishment, centrist Democrats seem to be more adamant about taking the wind out of the sails of their populist wing of the party, then utilizing that enthusiasm to line up behind the party insurgents to prevent Donald Trump from being re-elected president next November. Let us all be reminded that the last time an incumbent president lost a re-election bid was with George H.W. Bush back in 1992. American history is not on the side of the Democrats. With that being the case, one would think that the Democratic party would be doing all they could to garner enthusiasm around their efforts to take the White House. Apparently, they see it necessary to throw cold water on the only constituency in their party that is drawing people in their direction.

After cautioning against “woke culture” a few weeks back, former president Barack Obama has recently cautioned the field of Democratic presidential candidates against being “too far left” and wanting to “tear down the system”. This is a pretty blatant attempt to put the breaks of pragmatism on the candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Obama sees his former vice president in this race, who is struggling to raise money, and is deciding to put his thumb on the scale on his behalf. Nevermind that the Democratic voter base is fired up about Medicare For All, among the other reforms that are being discussed in this election cycle’s presidential campaign.

The confounding thing about this, is the following- calls for a moderate approach end up playing right into the hands of the Republican right. If one didn’t know any better, it is almost as if the mainstream Democrats want to temper expectations in a way that will actually help Donald Trump win reelection, handily. Why would the disaffected embrace a moderate Democrat, when there’s nothing to be gained politically by doing so?