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Mangy Jay @magi_jay
, 26 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
1/ I think some political journalists are fundamentally misreading leftward shifts in the Democratic party; namely, I think many are over-attributing any leftward shift to Bernie Sanders.
2/ There are at least two interacting factors here that many seem to be missing out on. The first is that the Democratic party has been shifting leftward for a decade now (if not longer). The second is the increased enfranchisement of folks who have been historically marginalized
3/ To be clear: when I say “leftward movement” or progressive change, I’m not necessarily talking about “leftist movement.” I’m talking more generally about strengthening of the social safety net, as well as, importantly advancing/enforcing social justice.
4/ And, in discussions about leftward movement, I think it’s important to consider legislative failures, as well as successes. For example, the success of the ACA constituted leftward movement and, even tho it did not succeed, the Public Option also constituted such a change.
5/ Dems were largely united around the Public Option. And all subsequent conversations around healthcare have proceeded w/ this leftward shift as a baseline. So the shift occurred, even if we didn't see all of it realized in policy at the time.
6/ Overall, the 2016 Dem platform was radically more progressive than the platform in 2008. Importantly, an explicit & impassioned emphasis on racial justice and LGBTQ equality would have been *unheard* of if not for the developments that occurred during the Obama administration
7/ We can see these shifts everywhere, w/in both the economic & social domains & their intersections. Leftward movement on Civil Rights has, indeed, been remarkable (though, of course, we have a long way to go).
8/ These shifts include the Obama DOJ investigating racial bias & excessive force in law enforcement, for example, as well as the Obama admin refusing to defend DOMA. Explicit focus on sexual assault/harassment, as well as transgender rights.

Lots changed in those 8 years.
9/ A decade ago, Democrats wiffle-waffled on LGBTQ rights. Now you’d be shouted out of the party if you said you didn’t support same sex marriage.

The party has changed. A lot. And that change didn't begin in 2016.
10/ The movement has, in fact, been far from discontinuous. For example, HRC’s leftward movement on subjects such as racial justice & healthcare reform were facilitated by previous Democratic shifts &, importantly, all of the *activists* that made these shifts happen.
11/ The second, but very related factor that I think some people are missing is the increased empowerment of marginalized people w/in the party, incl. women, POC, and LGBTQ folks.
12/ We’re not seeing the rise of "progressive" black candidates in the South, for example, b/c Bernie Sanders ran in 2016. Nor is Sanders the reason we're seeing the rise of progressive progressive women basically *everywhere.*
13/ *In fact,* the POC who have won primaries have done so on platforms that are not just economically “left-of-center,” but also inclusive of so-called “Identity Politics,” or an explicit acknowledgment that we must embrace & promote diversity & justice.
14/ In the year after the 2016 election, we were told such "identity politics" were wrong-headed—including. by some supporters of Bernie Sanders &, at times, this position was intimated by Sanders himself

But now we see that, when we embrace & empower our diverse base, we win.
15/ So, there’s an interaction between factors here that is better interpreted, I think, as involving both the continuous leftward movement the Dem party experienced w/in the Obama years, as well as the increased enfranchisement & support of candidates of color w/in the party.
16/ As well as increased enfranchisement & support for women & LGBTQ folks, as well as so many people who lie at the intersections of these categories & have thus been marginalized within *multiple domains*, such as women of color.
17/ I don’t think these factors are independent of one another. Activists deserve more credit than they are getting. Leftward social shifts would not have been possible if not for activists’ time, energy, bravery, & sacrifice.
18/ This story needs to be told. The Democratic party is changing b/c the base is becoming increasingly enfranchised. And this enfranchisement wasn't a gift from politicians. It was a result of activism as well as leaders who *listened* to activists.
19/ This is the narrative that is being ignored: What are the factors that have driven leftward movement w/in the Democratic party? And why are we seeing increased empowerment of politicians who are black, and/or brown, and/or women, and/or LGBTQ?
20/ I don’t think the answer is one white man from Vermont.

I think the answers lie w/in the Democratic party itself, as well as the activists who hold it accountable, and the voters who reliably turn out.
21/ I think we may also find answers when considering our first black president, for example. Or our first female nominee.

I think we might find answers when we consider who voted for them, who pressured them, and who they listened to.
22/ Yesterday, I was so struck by Kamala Harris when she referred to women protesters "owning their own power. . . . . ."
23/ A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for most politicians—esp those w/ presidential ambitions—to speak so explicitly about female empowerment. It would have been particularly fraught for a WOC to do so.
24/ Overall, there’s something happening w/in the Democratic party. And I don’t think the 2016 primary is the analytic lens through which to view these changes.
25/ I’m not saying “don’t discuss 2016” I *am* saying: it’s only one piece of a much larger narrative.

And I think both voters & activists w/in the Dem base are not getting the attn they deserve.
26/ Oh, and for the record, I said *some* journalists were missing out on this moment. There are also a lot of journalists who are doing excellent work on what is occurring right now, incl., for example, @ThePlumLineGS. wapo.st/2POTPOs?tid=ss…
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