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Democrats and Biden Set Themselves up for Loss

Photo by Edgar Colomba from Pexels

Democrats are primed to lose in the mid-terms because Biden and the Squad have moved the party too far to the left. At least, that’s what moderate pundits tell us day after day. If we want to save democracy, they insist, we must return to the sane, sound principle of governing from the middle.

As a white cisgender man, I’m frequently oblivious to mansplaining and whitesplaining, but when I hear ridiculous punditry about the importance of “moderation” from corporate media, I finally get it.

Stop moderate-splaining!

As reporters and analysts try to understand why Biden’s popularity is so low, why the country hasn’t learned its lesson from the disaster that was the previous administration, it’s almost laughable to hear their reasoning.

If we call out the moderate-splaining we can move voters further left, where any hope of creating a society where we all thrive remains.

Manchin and Sinema can’t go along with Democrats anymore because the Dems have become too radical. If only the Democratic Party would get back in line, everything would be fine.

Folks like Cori Bush, AOC, and Bernie Sanders have other suggestions. “Forgive all student debt. Every penny.”

And this is where framing becomes important. It’s not that analysts are truly confused about Biden’s low ratings or the impending defeat of Democrats in the mid-terms. The defeat could almost certainly be avoided simply by giving people what they need—universal healthcare, a higher minimum wage, tuition-free college and vocational training, and other human-centered programs.

Even given the limitations of working with Congress, there are policy changes Biden could make via executive order. There are policies Pelosi could back instead of pooh-poohing. It’s not that we’re only getting lip service. We aren’t even getting lip service.

No one can snap their fingers and make the world perfect. But hiding behind “it’s complicated” ignores the reality of what we could do now…if we wanted to.

The real question Democratic leaders are asking is, “How little can we do and still manage to stay in power?”

That’s the debate. Is there a way to win back public trust without banning elected officials from stock trading?

Can forgiving a small percentage of student loans assure people we’re on their side? Can we merely say something inspirational about racial justice and still keep most of the black vote?

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There’s no question what would win voters. There’s no question what would help the country as a whole and the individuals in it.

Just as men often cut off women by calling them “hysterical,” just as white people talk over “unpolished” people of color, moderates try to cut off human-centered policies by labeling them “radical” and “extremist.”

We let Biden and the Democrats get away with offering happy, peaceful quotes from MLK while ignoring his calls for socialism. We let mainstream media get away with depicting the Black Panthers as a terrorist organization.

The options then are calm, “polite” ideas or meaningful change. The “let’s just be patient” side—moderate and mature—or the “people have needs now” side—crazy and dangerous.

We’re told there’s a “rational” perspective and a “fringe” perspective. The framing itself establishes the winner.

In recent years, thankfully, more of us are calling people out when they inaccurately frame the debate.

Stop mansplaining.

Stop whitesplaining.

And stop moderate-splaining!

Let’s point it out when our friends and family do it, when our coworkers and neighbors do it, when reporters and politicians do it.

Concepts are easier to understand and communicate when we name them. They offer a framework upon which we can then attach examples that illustrate our position. Let’s not worry about finding a perfect word, and let’s not hide our meaning just to be clever.

We must defang the word “moderate” to stop fetishizing it.

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Because the Democratic Party is corporate and capitalist, it’s unlikely to ever address our needs, no matter what we say. Party leaders are fully aware they don’t plan to help and frame arguments as they do hoping to keep us from realizing it, too.

But if we call out the moderate-splaining when it happens, we can help move voters further to the left, where ultimately any hope of saving democracy and creating a society where we can all thrive remains.

Johnny Townsend