Polling suggests the following across party lines: The majority of Americans support taxing the wealthy at a higher rate, implementing a Medicare for all health-care system, legalizing marijuana, reforming our criminal-justice system, implementing gun-control laws and innovative solutions to address climate change, making college and university tuition-free, and limiting corporate money in politics and campaigns.
As it stands, our current political culture is reprehensible. Americans are awakening to this reality. Progressivism is the future not only of the Democratic Party, but also of American politics as we know it. These “radical” and “extreme” ideas would raise the quality of life for millions of Americans.
New York, N.Y.
Peter Wehner depicts Bernie Sanders as a wild-eyed radical. Actually, Bernie is just an old-fashioned New Deal Democrat, totally in line with what the Democrats were from Roosevelt’s election in 1932 to the 1980s. What is radical is the neoliberalism that has infected today’s Democratic Party.
Pawleys Island, S.C.
“The Democratic Party Is Radicalizing” was well argued and captures the feelings of many of us who are lifelong liberals; it’s a viewpoint not often published in liberal media, and so important as we face the possible fracturing of the Democratic Party at the worst time possible.
El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Mr. Wehner appears to draw parallels between the “radicalization” of the Republican and Democratic Parties, which is absurd. One radicalization has resulted in a rabid nationalist fervor that has quickly spread around the world. The other “radical” movement involves new ideas that attempt to remedy the broken system. Granted, not all these ideas are good. But they do not consist of human-rights violations, racist rhetoric, and a concerning lack of empathy for others.
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Peter Wehner is correct when he says that the Democratic Party is changing. He couldn’t be more wrong when he compares that to Republicans’ turn to the nationalist right.
His anxiety that America might not always have hard-right conservatives at the helm shows how successfully Republicans have controlled political narratives. What they’ve called “liberalism” has mostly been Rockefeller Republicanism—the kind that deregulates airlines, ends welfare as we know it, and borrows its health-care plan from the Heritage Foundation. It’s noteworthy that Wehner has to reach back 40 years for a proposal meeting the definition of socialism.
Today’s Democrats have spent much of their lives watching conservative policies expand deficits, redistribute income upward, and mire us in unwinnable wars, without benefiting nonmillionaires in the least. Changes in marginal tax rates only sound radical compared to conservatives’ de facto policy that rich people shouldn’t have to pay anything at all. The “revolution” that Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offer now is Ronald Reagan’s kind—a choice, not an echo.