presidential candidates such as billionaire
and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval
a managing director at Bain Capital, have entered the race in an
effort to promote
and defeat progressive Democratic candidates who Wall Street fears.
the party of Franklin D. Roosevelt is actually poised to return to
its roots in the real center of mainstream public opinion, in which
people believe in an active role for government to improve their
lives. In this presidential election season, the party could reclaim
the mantle of protecting working people, the middle class and the
poor at a time of gaping wealth inequality, when popular opinion
increasingly believes billionaires have too much, corporations pay
too little in taxes and ordinary people are suffering.
is why, contrary to the concerns of some political leaders and
pundits, most prominently former President Barack
Democratic Party does not risk veering too far to the left.
a recent event with wewalthy
claimed the "average American"
does not want to "completely tear down the system and remake
it," and America "is still a country that is less
revolutionary than it is interested in improvement."
running for president and energizing the nation just a decade ago as
a center-left candidate with a message of hope and change, Obama
seems to think America does not need systemic change, and Democrats
should not rock the boat or make any sudden moves.
on Twitter who reject Obama's warning not to move too far left
responded to the former president's comments with the hashtag
#TooFarLeft, which at the time became the top trending tag in the US
and the third globally, according to Democratic
strategist Peter Daou.
who started the hashtag, wanted to eviscerate the mainstream talking
point that social, economic, racial and environmental justice is
somehow a radical position.
considering the state of the country, its festering political,
economic and social problems and the seeming inability of government
to address them, Daou and others who have embraced the hashtag make a
good point. America is not well, and ignoring the symptoms of what
ails the nation -- not pushing too far for change -- is what gave us
the status quo with rising inequality, low taxation on the wealthy
and corporations, and the dimming life prospects of millennials.
the first time in history, the ultra-rich -- the 400 richest families
a lower tax rate than the bottom 50% of the population in 2018.
Also last year, Amazon paid no federal taxes on more than $11
billion in profit,
and its employees, like many across the nation, face brutal
Amazon maintains the company "provides
a safe, quality work environment in which associates are the heart
and soul of the customer experience,"
according to a spokeswoman.
paid zero in taxes
after the Trump windfall corporate tax cuts, as was the case with so
many companies, while Netflix
paid less in taxes
than a monthly subscription to their streaming service, according to
less money and saddled with more debt than their parents, young
people in America, one
cannot afford their health-care needs and are on a trajectory for a
shorter life span than generations before them. According to the
study, millennials are facing more chronic health issues, depression
and suicide than Gen Xers due to the economic
student debt, the opioid crisis, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and
other issues. The impending health crisis is eroding the earning
potential of this younger generation.
Street is frightened at the prospect of a progressive in the mold of
Sanders or Elizabeth Warren,
and some billionaires are having a temper tantrum because they refuse
to pay their fair share of taxes.
number of big money Democratic donors have vowed to sit
out or support Trump
if Warren receives the nomination. Bill
has not ruled out voting for Trump if he would otherwise be forced to
pay Warren's wealth tax.
Beltway punditry consensus dictates that Democrats must move center
to appeal primarily to the white
moderate swing voter
in the Midwest, rather than cultivate a multiracial
and court nonvoters.
and Wall Street Dems are misreading the winds of public sentiment if
they believe moderation is a winning political strategy for 2020.
There is no constituency for a presidential candidate who prescribes
half-measures to put out a fire.
polling indicates that.
example, a 2019 Quinnipiac poll found that 60% of registered voters
support a 2%
on people who own assets over $50 million. The wealth tax concept
enjoys support across political parties and all demographic groups.
according to a KFF Health Tracking Poll, health
care is the leading issue
that Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents want the
presidential candidates to discuss. Further, according to a poll
earlier this year from Politico and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of
Public Health, overwhelming majorities of Democrats and Republicans
believe it is "extremely
for Congress to tackle student debt.
while acknowledging the historic diversity in the Democratic field,
Obama urges that candidates rein in their messaging.
have a number of women candidates and we have one gay candidate. And
those candidates are going to have barriers if they win the
nomination, or they win the general election -- just like I did,"
said at another event.
"You can overcome that resistance if the way you are framing
these issues and messages indicate, 'Look, I'm part of an American
tradition ... of opening up opportunity.'"
former president is mistaken if he believes that in appealing to the
electorate, Democrats must tamp down their message and advocate for
tweaks in the system rather than systemic reform. This, in a country
that touts itself as the "land of opportunity," yet has one
of the lowest
party of FDR could very well inspire and energize Americans looking
for change with policy prescriptions such as Medicare for All, the
Green New Deal and free college.
This commentary was originally published by CNN