Reprinted from Smirking Chimp
Are Democrats Progressive?
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The big question right now is whether to call Hillary Clinton a progressive, or a "moderate."
And then there's the question of who is more electable in a general election: an unabashedly progressive democrat, like Bernie Sanders, or a "centrist" democrat, like Hillary Clinton.
Jonathan Capehart weighed in on the matter on Thursday morning's edition of MSNBC Live with the claim that it will be important for Democrats to move to the center to win the general election -- and he added that it will be easier for Hillary Clinton to do that.
It may be conventional wisdom that a candidate has to swing to the center to win in a general election.
And that conventional wisdom has been central to the Democratic platform ever since Al From's 1992 "bloodless coup" transformed the FDR/LBJ Democratic Party into the Clinton party of "centrist" corporatism.
But that conventional wisdom just doesn't stand up to the scrutiny of history.
The truth is, Democrats win when voter turnout is high.
And voter turnout is high when voters have real progressive candidates to support.
Back in 2014, Democrats were devastated by the midterm election results -- Republicans easily won control of the Senate and strengthened their majority in the House.
In Arkansas, Republican Tom Cotton beat Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor by seven points to win a House seat; in Kentucky, Allison Lundergan Grimes lost to Mitch McConnell by more than 15 points.
In West Virginia, Wall Street darling and state GOP legacy Shelley Moore-Capito won the Senate seat that Democrat Jay Rockefeller had held for 30 years.
Moore-Capito easily trounced West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who ran as a so-called "centrist" democrat and campaigned against many of Obama's policies -- just like Grimes had run away from Obama on guns.
Perhaps most shockingly to the Democratic establishment in 2014, three-term Louisiana Democratic senator and friend of the oil industry Mary Landrieu lost her bid for re-election by 11 points in a runoff election against Republican Bill Cassidy, because she campaigned as a "centrist" Democrat.
Beyond that, Democrats lost their majorities in state legislatures across nine states, AND they lost 24 of the 36 gubernatorial contests that year.
But while some so-called "centrist" Democratic politicians were losing big on being Republican-lite, the voters were going full-on progressive.