Democrats suffered a historic defeat in November, leaving them with no control of any branch of government. Since the election, the party and its constituency have begun reckoning with their platform, their messaging, and how to move forward. Sometimes this debate can resemble the 2016 Democratic primary between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
On Radio Times Wednesday, host Marty Moss-Coane was joined by Matt Karp, assistant professor of history and contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine, and by T.J. Rooney, former chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. During the conversation, the two discussed how the Democrats can’t just define themselves against the current Republican-led government and should instead present clear and specific policy goals if they want to expand their base. In terms of what those policies should be, Karp pointed to polls that consistently show high support for Medicaid-for-all and stricter control of Wall Street. He went on to accuse the current leadership of “ideological timidity.” Rooney was sympathetic to these goals, but said he wouldn’t want to “set the bar so high that it’s impossible to achieve…When you raise people’s hopes and let them down, the bottom becomes a lot lower.”