While the Democratic agenda of late has been defined by lukewarm, purposeless centrism—culminating in some of the most uninspiring slogans of all time looks like at least one Democrat supports a truly progressive agenda.
No, it’s not Bernie Sanders, but it sure sounds a lot like him—Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer recently penned an op-ed in the NYT alongside an interview on ABC, both of which point to a stronger Democratic economic agenda for the future.
Schumer wants to reassert the Democratic party as the party of the American worker. His simple explanation of what they’ll be working for in the future boils down to three points:
First, we’re going to increase people’s pay. Second, we’re going to reduce their everyday expenses. And third, we’re going to provide workers with the tools they need for the 21st-century economy.
He goes on to condemn the frailty of antitrust laws, massive medication price hikes, and those companies focused on, “Short-term gains for shareholders instead of long-term benefits for workers.”
Maybe most interesting of all is Schumer’s willingness to claim Democrats should shoulder some of the blame for a “rigged” economy and political system. They’ve been a part of the problem, but now they intend to be part of the solution, he says.
In the last two elections, Democrats, including in the Senate, failed to articulate a strong, bold economic program for the middle class and those working hard to get there. We also failed to communicate our values to show that we were on the side of working people, not the special interests. We will not repeat the same mistake.
Could this be a legitimate turn to progressivism for the party? Or is it a flanking maneuver by Schumer, a feint to the left to try to undercut the growing progressive surge embodied by Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? It’s hard to tell, but even adopting the rhetoric of the progressive movement is a positive sign for the country’s resurgent left.