Is the Democratic Party Moving to the Left? Three Small Pieces of Evidence

Three, relatively small, pieces of evidence that the Democratic Party is moving to the left.

1. Senator Jon Tester was one of five Democratic Senators to vote against the DREAM act in 2010.  He is the only one left currently in the Senate and now he supports the DREAMers.  This is what he said after Trump’s decision to rescind DACA:

“America’s immigration system is badly broken and needs fixing, but breaking a promise to these children — who are here through no fault of their own — is not the solution. Congress must work together, Democrats and Republicans, to secure our borders, crack down on folks illegally entering our country, and provide a way forward for innocent kids.”

This is not a super strong endorsement but contrasted to his statement in 2010 where he said that he did not support a path to citizenship for anyone who was unauthorized to enter the country shows he is at least willing to support a path to citizenship for DREAMers.  More importantly, it shows that even the conservative wing of the Democratic Party is coming around to supporting immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.

2. Democratic Support for Bernie Sanders Single Payer Plan is Growing

Bernie Sanders has introduced a single payer health care plan in the Senate for years but now he is getting support from (some) Democrats.  Of note is the fact that possible 2020 Presidential contenders like Elizabeth Warren, Kristen Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris among others have signed on as co-sponsores.

3. Hillary Clinton was thinking of supporting a Universal Basic Income plan during her Presidential run.

To me this is the most interesting piece of evidence even though she decided to not go through with it.  According to this Vox article, (and her new book which I have not read) Clinton was going to introduce a plan called “Alaska for America” which was modeled on the Alaska Permanent Fund that distributes the state royalties from its oil and gas activities to its citizens.  She ultimately didn’t do it for policy reasons (how much should it be, will it encourage more oil and gas extraction, etc.) and pragmatic reasons (They thought it would be too hard to explain to people outside of Alaska).  The interesting thing to me is that you have a mainstream Democrat embracing an idea that treats America’s natural resources as a common resource –  not something that is just to be exploited for private profit, and embracing a large expansion of the welfare state in the form of a universal basic income which is what the program would amount to.

These are just three small things I saw in the last few days but it gives me hope that the center of the Democratic party might be moving to fully embrace the vision of a multi-cultural social democracy for the U.S.


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