News & Politics

How Far Left Will the Democrats Lurch in 2020?

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

It seems a foregone conclusion that the Democrats will choose a radical leftist to lead them in the 2020 presidential contest. If not an avowed socialist like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, then it will be someone who espouses their pet issues.

In fact, candidates who try to pass themselves off as “moderate” are rethinking their plans to enter the race.


The rising Democratic enthusiasm for big government liberalism is forcing a trio of leading 2020 contenders to rethink jumping in, several sources tell Axios.

What’s happening: Michael Bloomberg and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, each of whom were virtual locks to run, are having serious second thoughts after watching Democrats embrace “Medicare for All,” big tax increases and the Green New Deal. Joe Bidenwho still wants to run, is being advised to delay any plans to see how this lurch to the left plays out. If Biden runs, look for Bloomberg and McAuliffe to bow out, the sources tell us.

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  • The Democratic attacks on Howard Schultz, after he said he was considering an independent bid, reflect the current party’s limited appetite for moderation.
    • In “Schultz Derangement Syndrome,” conservative N.Y. Times columnist Bret Stephens wrote: “[T]he neuralgic reaction to his bid says something about the ideological drift of the Democratic Party.”

Iowa polling by a prominent 2020 hopeful found that the Democratic electorate has moved sharply left.

  • For instance, the polling found that “socialism” had a net positive rating, while “capitalism” had a net negative rating.

Bloomberg is going ahead with expensive preparations for a campaign: He directed his staff to prepare a launch plan for him, after he received an encouraging response from a business audience in Northern Virginia 10 days ago.

  • Kevin Sheekey, his close adviser, was spotted in Washington yesterday on a recruitment mission for campaign talent.
  • If Bloomberg ran, he would argue that no candidate in the race has done more to save the environment and support gun control.

What does it say about the Democratic Party’s lurch to the left that Joe Biden is considered a “moderate”?

It won’t matter. Biden will be forced to embrace the new Democratic agenda if he wants to have a chance of winning. What’s driving the party’s ideological shift is not a politician like Sanders or Warren, but rather ordinary Democratic Party primary voters who appear to be in the throes of a radical transformation.

It’s no secret that younger voters favor the socialist agenda of wealth taxes, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for all. But even older voters appear ready to embrace these radical issues. The pressure to do so comes from the ground up, and where many traditionally Democratic voters wouldn’t have dreamed of supporting a $30 trillion government program like Medicare for all a few years ago, the presidency of Donald Trump and the desire to win at all costs has skewed their judgment and radicalized many of them.

Support for these radical programs in the Democratic Party is growing, even as they’re shown to be unpopular with the average voter. This is good news for the re-election chances of Donald Trump and the electoral prospects of the Republican Party from top to bottom.