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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Polemic inside the Democrat Party

Por Damian

Moderate Democrats argued strongly last week that the party can support a robust agenda for change while praising capitalism and downplaying income inequality. In other words, everything that the liberal base of the party has been fighting for a year and a half, reported El Nuevo Herald in its digital site.

The Democrats met last Thursday and Friday in this city, the capital of Ohio, in what was the first activity of the Democratic presidential primary of 2020, part of a conference organized by Third Way, a center left studies group.

This group, based in Washington, revealed its findings after a one year evaluation of the 2016 presidential election, with the hope of convincing potential contenders that they do not have to adopt the agenda of the far left and the style of a progressive like Bernie Sanders.

The report has a dozen general policy recommendations (such as adopting a robust job training program and expanding unemployment insurance to help workers find new jobs) and putting aside the debate about income inequality in favor of an emphasis on creating opportunities.

Third Way executives even tried to eliminate the adjective of "moderate" from the event, encouraging attendees to qualify as "Democrats for the opportunity."

"Once again the time has come to amend, not eliminate, capitalism in the face of a new era," said Jonathan Cowan, president of Third Way, in a comprehensive speech in which he presented the conclusions of the study.

The group's recommendations will surely be met with skepticism by many Democrats and liberals who allege that the party has not fared well with an approach of gradual and modest changes. (Third Way executives say that although their platform is different from a Sanders-style agenda, ideas such as a proposed employee-funded pension plan would be a radical change in itself).

In fact, even many attendees at the Columbus meeting-a few hundred legislators, Democratic officials, and local politicians-needed to be convinced that the rest of the party was interested in this approach.

"There is no doubt that around the most activist wing of our party there is a lot of energy and excitement," said Jim Himes, a Democratic lawmaker from Connecticut and president of the New Democrats, a coalition of business-oriented Democrats in Congress.

The more moderate voices of the party, he told reporters, run the risk of being "drowned" if they did not start talking anymore.