"The liberal media virtually never recognize the glaringly obvious fact that the Democratic Party has moved far to the left in recent years. Almost without exception, they harp on the idea that the Republicans have shifted to the right, while suggesting that the Democrats are in mainstream."Under the headline, "CNN's Borger States the Obvious: Dems 'Have Moved So Far to the Left'," Williams recounts that Borger: "noted that 'it won't work to be a centrist' in the Democratic Party anymore because the party 'has moved so far to the left.'" He approvingly quotes Borger:
"I think this started before Bernie Sanders officially got into the race. Look, the Democratic Party has shifted since Bill Clinton ran for president."Brownstein, wrote Williams, "agreed and noted that the Democrats have 'unquestionably moved to the left on cultural issues since Bill Clinton's day.'"
Given his thesis, Williams wisely declined to quote Brownstein's next sentence, which inform these remarks, but he was kind enough to include a transcript: "And Hillary Clinton has followed that on things like immigration, on gay marriage." Williams, recall, objects that, as he sees it, the press is forever suggesting "the Democrats are in mainstream." On the issues Brownstein actually named though, that's exactly the case. Last month, the CBS News/New York Times poll asked,
"Which comes closest to your view about illegal immigrants who are living in the U.S.? 1. They should be allowed to stay in the U.S and eventually apply for citizenship, 2. They should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally, but not be allowed to apply for citizenship or 3. They should be required to leave the U.S."Overall, 57% of respondents chose the view supported by most Democrats, including both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton: let 'em stay and apply for citizenship. Even 38% of Republicans supported this position. The same poll has asked the same question 9 times since January 2014 and in every case, that option has been the majority view. The same is true with gay marriage; the same poll asked, "Do you think it should be legal or not legal for same-sex couples to marry?" A full 57% of respondents chose the view supported by most Democrats, that it should be legal. This has been a majority position in this same poll going back to Sept. 2012, and support for some form of legal recognition, either "marriage" or "civil unions," has had overwhelming majority support in this poll going all the way back to 2004 (which support for "marriage" became a majority view, the "civil unions" option was dropped from the polling). Williams asserts Democrats have "moved far to the left in recent years," but their position on both the issues Brownstein named is the broad mainstream view. And, of course, the premise of this entire line of commentary was the rise in popularity of Bernie Sanders, which is taken as, in and of itself, evidence of a Democratic lurch to the left, but as Josh Harkinson recently noted in Mother Jones, Sanders is, in his views on most of his major issues, also in line with the American mainstream.
All of this also impacts Borger's asinine assertion that "It won’t work to be a centrist anymore in the Democratic Party because it's moved so far to the left." As the good people at Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting have long noted, the mainstream corporate press always defines "the political center" as way, way to the right of the actual political center, and as the Democratic party lurches further and further to the right, it's always the "analysis" of mainstream pundits that the Democratic party has gone too far left and should, if it wants to be viable, lurch right. While Williams suggests these ideas as some sort of rare innovation in the "liberal" press, they are, in fact, vacuous, fact-free tropes that have been around for decades.
[This article was written for MRC Watch, a blog that is unimpressed with the Media Research Center's political analysis.]