Sunday, December 16, 2018

New Democrats Redux?

Paul Starr had an interesting column on the American Prospect site arguing that it would be inaccurate to say the Democrats are just being pulled to the left. Here are the critical data points:
"[I]in 2019...the Progressive Caucus will rise to 96, while the Blue Dogs will number only 24. By that measure, the House Democrats have moved sharply to the left....
The picture looks different, however, if we compare the Progressive Caucus with the centrist New Democrat Coalition in the House and focus specifically on the new members who won districts previously held by Republicans....
So far, by my count, 24 of the new members who flipped seats have joined the New Democrats, while only 11 have joined the Progressive Caucus (including four who joined both groups). Altogether, with 89 members, the New Democrats will be only slightly smaller than the Progressive Caucus."
Interesting. Of course we could debate about what exactly this really means. My guess is that the median member of the New Democrat Coalition today is considerably to the left of the median member of this caucus 15 years ago. So the party as a whole can still be moving to the left even with a large New Democrat caucus. But I don't know enough about the distribution of views among House members to really say for sure that this is the case.
Still, food for thought, especially for the Abolish ICE/as-left-as-I-wanna-be crowd.
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The 2018 election showed two separate and contrary developments.

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