I try really, really hard to ignore pseudo-“conservatives” like the Jennifer Rubin, because it’s like giving attention to a pouting teenager when they aren’t getting their way. But she said something on MSNBC‘s Morning Joe program Monday that I can’t let slide.
Rubin was interviewed by Mika Brzezinski, and one of Brzezinski’s questions was about a piece published Monday where Rubin tried to make the case that Democratic voters were in a different place than Democratic candidates.
Here was the crux of her argument:
We’ve repeatedly pointed out that, contrary to the conventional wisdom and the rhetoric of many Democratic presidential contenders, the party itself favors moderation. We saw this vividly in 2018 when moderates won primaries and went on to knock out incumbent Republicans, while the forces of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) failed to flip a single House seat from red to blue. And yet the myth of a hyper-progressive party lives on, most likely because some of the more articulate media figures and candidates encourage the perception. And with the right-wing media machine delighted to focus on the most progressive Democrats so as to support the “Socialist!” scream, it is easy to come to the conclusion that moderates are in retreat. That doesn’t make it true.
The most recent piece of evidence for the primacy of moderates comes from the Pew Research Center:
‘Among Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters, somewhat more say they want the Democratic Party to move in a more moderate (53%) than more liberal (40%) direction.’
Where her “case” falls apart is in her very next paragraph:
Now, the definition of what makes a moderate — like the definition of what makes a conservative (anti-constitutional, pro-debt and Russia-friendly, these days) — may change over time. Moderates in today’s Democratic Party are defenders of Obamacare and incremental movement toward universal coverage, something that only a few years ago would have been seen as quite progressive.
See, as long as the definitions of “moderate” and “progressive” mean whatever Rubin wants them to on any given day, she can rearrange her arguments to make herself appear “correct”, but the reality is that it’s not “moderates” who support universal health care coverage, it’s not “moderates” who support reparations, it’s not “moderates” who support trillion dollar Green New Deals. It’s progressives and socialists like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D).
Rubin also leaves out of her piece the fact that Sen. Sanders, at this stage of the Democratic presidential rat race, is polling second only to former VP Joe Biden. Behind Sanders are Senators Kamala Harris (CA) and Elizbeth Warren (MA), who both have solid progressive records in the U.S. Senate.
It’s clear that though Democratic voters have said they want an “electable” candidate who can beat Trump, who they’re actually choosing when polled on candidates shows their definitions of “electable” (and moderate/progressive, for that matter) are quite different than Rubin’s politically convenient one.
Lastly, how on earth can she say Democrats are “moving to the center” when they have wasted very little time going as far left on the abortion issue as they can possibly get? This isn’t happening in red states. It’s happening in purple and deep blue states like New York, Vermont, and Virginia.
Watch Rubin’s answer below to Brzezinski’s question on “centrist” Democrats and just marvel at how she says these things with a straight face.
.@JRubinBlogger, the day after Democrats voted down a bill that would save babies who survive abortions: "If you want a party that is moving closer to the center or whose voters say they want to be closer to center, that would be the Democrats." pic.twitter.com/7OyAETPeHF
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 26, 2019
—Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–