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Not Extreme: Sanders’ and Ocasio-Cortez’s Leftism has been core to the Democratic Party


Not Extreme: Sanders’ and Ocasio-Cortez’s Leftism has been core to the Democratic Party

John Buell

One of the most widely stated and often unquestioned pearls of wisdom from the Beltway pundits is the earnest complaint that our politics has become ever more partisan. A strident populism manifested in President Trump opposes the left extremism of Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren. Oh for the days of Illinois Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen versus Lyndon Baines Johnson of Texas.

Today, unfortunately, moderate Republicanism, represented by Mitt Romney and John McCain, and the Democratic version, represented by Bill and Hillary Clinton, are squeezed out.


“Strident populism” is misleading unless the term FAUX is inserted between those two words. Prior to 2016 “populism” meant actually delivering for the majority, not just the 1%.

Although he mentioned that he hoped Congress would expand Medicare to include all Murkins when he signed it into law 53 years ago, Congress and complicit POTUS’ have watered it down to the point that those who want Medicare for all need to seriously consider if that is the best option. Single payer for all would be much better.


The way the Trumpsters & Republicans make sausage is they grind up the moderates and left-of-center. The way the Democratic Congress makes sausage is they squeel and, then proceed to grind up the moderates and left-of-center.
If Schumer, Hoyer, Durbin and Pelosi negotiated the return of their spouses with drug cartels; for $20 million, they’d get them back for $40 million and without their legs.
The Democratic leadership in Congress are simply not Democrats, anymore. They’re negotiators for The Uniparty/Washington Consensus. Which, because of unlimited $$$ and lobbyists, is The Corporatocracy. Besides, they’re so blatant about it, even traditional constituencies are sick and tired of seeing them in front of the MSM’s microphones. It’s past time to throw our bums out, too.


Confirming why young Murkin voters pay no attention to what party a candidate associates with.

They vote for candidates, not parties.


The purists over at WSWS have already written her off and she hasn’t even been elected.


I don’t think either Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez are extreme but if they insist on labeling themselves as democratic socialists then they could be considered extreme. Changing from a capitalist to socialist economy would certainly be extreme which seems to be what democratic socialists support. That is not to say the change would be bad, it hasn’t happened so we can’t tell. Trump is very extreme, He appears to be a fascist and to support a white dominant society and perhaps a white only society. And he is supporting measures to degrade the environment and make much of this planet pretty much impossible to live on for humans. And he is apparently for gutting the safety net would would leave tens of millions in poverty.


Proud centrist? How about proud to move the center back from the right?


Maybe the author was a sexist referring to the voices of young women everywhere.


The Democratic Party has very long history of using progressive rhetoric to attract voters while their actual policies move rightward. There’s every reason to be suspicious of the “next progressive savior.” The real issue should be: Does WSWS have a valid argument? She’s portrayed as an “outsider” yet she worked for Senator Edward Kennedy right out of college - that’s seems pretty mainstream to me.

An excerpt on a recent WSWS article on her:

"In her first post-election interview on CNN. Ocasio-Cortez affirmed
her undying loyalty to the Democratic Party, declaring, “I’m proud to be
a Democrat. I was raised in a Democratic family, with Democratic
values.” She has stated that her main goal is to help the Democrats
recapture control of the House of Representatives in the November
midterm election.

One might ask, in response to such political boilerplate, what in
Ocasio-Cortez’s 28 years of life has the Democratic Party done to
deserve such loyalty? What are the great achievements of the Democratic
Party in that period of time: The abolition of welfare? The deregulation
of the financial system? The bombing of Serbia? The bailout of Wall
Street? The slashing of wages for autoworkers? Drone-missile warfare?
The destruction of Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries? The build-up
of NSA spying? More deportations than in any other period in US

We don't  have time to be kidding ourselves anymore...


Certainly Sen Ted Kennedy didn’t support all of those issues. Sen. Kennedy was a " broker " first, and foremost.
And, I’m not here to defend his votes. He was a counter-puncher some times. That’s politics, unfortunately.


My correction: That’s “politics” in capitalist democracy - where you have democracy for the capitalists, everybody else, including the base of the Democratic Party, can take a hike.


She (Ocasio-Cortez) beats the alternative – any day of the week.

I’m no fan of the democratic party – they’re worthless. I changed my registration to Independent more than a decade ago for that reason. (BTW I never vote republican.)

Article: "Mainstream Democrat enemies of Sanders’ “extremism” need to take a closer and more honest look at the history of the Democratic Party. Universal health care and free higher education are not pie in the sky. These causes were advocated by prominent Democrats during the Great Depression, at the end of World War II, and during the Great Society."

and some republicans, namely Nixon. Nixon created: the Environmental Protection Agency and pushed for universal health insurance.

"… [Nixon] imposed a minimum tax on the wealthy (the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax, which is only now being permanently indexed to exclude the middle class) and unsuccessfully backed a guaranteed income for all Americans."

All this makes Nixon more liberal than almost all democrats today. This is how far the quote Left unquote has strayed to the right of center. And make no mistake, they don’t plan on moving back either, not anytime soon and not w/out a massive move to unseat the most (or least) conservative democrats either. Send the Blue Dogs to the doghouse.


You clearly do not understand Democratic Socialism. Go read a book or three and then come back and fix your post.


“Americas’s Last Liberal” That’s true, the last genuine “liberal” policies were put into place by a reactionary and paranoid right wing war criminal - Nixon. This is very important because it draws into question hagiography of the “Great Liberal Leaders” of the past. What you need to know to understand this apparent contradiction is that Nixon, like LBJ and Kennedy and FDR before them, was that they didn’t enact “liberal” policies because they were nice guys, it was because they were forced to because there existed mass and militant social movements going on at the time. So Liberals re-write history to take credit for policies that actually benefited working people, policies liberals at the time tried to oppose, water down or otherwise limit. It was not Liberals that gave us the New Deal or Great Society policies, it was mass movements. We don’t have any mass movements now, not really. Occupy Wall Street had potential, but it was crushed by Democratic politicians. The last thing the Democrats want is to see the emergence of an independent mass movement. In fact, that is the role of the Democratic Party: to shut down, blunt, misdirect or otherwise coopt any mass movement so that it never develops the power to restrict in any way the profits of Big Business, to challenge ruling class dominance, to lessen the crushing inequality we have now.


Right, the DSA is not “extreme”, they represent basically New Deal-like policies. They are not revolutionary, and one could argue that they are not really even socialists. In fact during the Vietnam War, a very prominent DSA member, Michael Harrington supported US intervention.


Of course they are not socialists, they are democratic socialists. There is a difference. As to a top DSA supporting the Vietnam War, did the DSA as a whole support it?


Nixon’s concept of universal health insurance did not involve universal health care, but the beginning of the HMO’s. Ted Kennedy argued for single payer.


Extremism is another of these words that has been crippled and disfigured by decades of abuse. So, flashing back 55 years or so ago, 2 persons at least outwardly agreeing about civil rights but disagreeing about whether or not Dr. King were extreme might reason along different lines, but using at least some similar principles:

  • King was extreme because he advocated breaking the law
  • KIng was not extreme because he did not advocate nonviolence

So we might identify several levels towards “extremism” among those who worked for civil rights: the NAACP, which favored working within the law; King, who favored nonviolent resistance to the unjust law; Malcolm X, who came to favor change “by any means necessary.”

But now we have someone like Ocasio-Cortez who wins a nomination by footwork and energetic campaigning based on popular principles, yet who is labeled extremist. The “non-extremist” candidate whom she opposed had been one of the House’s primary recipients of corporate payola. The “centrist” presidential candidate had been involved in several underground foreign coups and considerable other destruction, had taken money from five foreign nations and diverted funds given to Democratic candidates towards the nomination of Donald Trump–all actions that we might reasonably regard as extreme in any other context.

This sort of thing happens because politicians, pundits, and reports bend and break usage because they want the caché of being centrist or leftist or progressive or whatever without actually adopting policies to suit. That works in part because their financiers are pros who look at positions and extract and check on promises, whereas most voters must consider politics after work and family and a bit of rest finally, and who don’t have the time and energy to look behind the waves of competing lies.

But one way to do this in part, when one has no better, is to look at the nature of the lies that are told. Some lies require more to spot, but calling someone “extremist” is bogus on the face of it. Support for Israeli extermination of Palestinians, the general destruction of Libya, the CIA-funded ISIS and ISIL in Syria is fairly standard among American politicians, and a fresh candidate would be hard pressed to come up with something more extreme.

More original, maybe.


A friendly addition to the WSWS comment on what the Democrat’s have done when in power:

President Obama’s $1 Trillion for nuclear weapons ‘modernization’.


The DSA did not exist then. It didn’t come into existence until the 80s.

But one of the two groups who merged to make the DSA came into existence ten years earlier in 1972 as the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) when it split off from the former Socialist Party USA that at time became Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA).

Both the SDUSA and the DSOC were giving up being a political party, giving up running their own candidates, endorsing Democratic Party candidates, and working to reform the Democratic Party. The difference was that the DSOC was more against the Vietnam War. The SDUSA was for stopping bombing and a negotiated peace, but against unilateral withdrawal. The DSOC was for unilateral withdrawal.

So the DSOC, the parent organization of the DSA, was as a whole not supportive of the Vietnam War, in fact not being supportive of it was why it split from the larger SDUSA. (By the time the DSOC merged into the DSA it had grown to be the bigger group by far.)