I think that people, all over the ideological spectrum, confuse ideology with the policies people support. Are people, in large numbers at this point, on the ideological left? No, the country is fractured in that regard, but “liberal”, “conservative”, “progressive” and even “socialist” are words most people cannot define. What they identify themselves with in regards to ideology is really just a reflection of the information, and sometimes the propaganda, that they have been exposed to.
However, if you put aside how people see the world, the emotional attachment they have to a particular ideology, they do support the policy positions of the left, the policies they support are weakly correlated to the particular ideology that they identify with. The reason for this is class. Working people, in the US, in 2018, do not have the luxury of voting on ideology (maybe rich liberals like Bill Maher will eventually have this dawn on them), and they know it. And, we are decades into the Reagan revolution, and it has been a disaster. People can see that, people know that we have prioritized business, focused on the supply side, ignored demand, and they can see the impact this has had. What people don’t have though is faith in this system, and that is the biggest obstacle for the left. How do you get people to trust the system and politicians enough to actually bother to even vote, given the systematic corruption in the system and how cut off it is from their daily struggles?
I think focusing on ideology at this point could be a mistake, just focus on issues. Later on, we can connect the dots, tell people, “you support this policy, and that, well, we have an ideology that has long supported this stuff, has a great record of calling things accurately ahead of time, we have actual alternatives that have proven to work, and we aren’t beholden to big money interests”. I think it will be tough to beat, and I know that those policies would work and would benefit people. For that reason, we have moved on from being completely ignored, and mocked, and are not onto the fighting stage. Lots of people in the Democratic Party are hoping this all fails, they will try to help it fail. They have in many instances to this point. Their access to power and wealth is on the line.