NY Mag: Why the Bernie Movement Must Crush Beto O’Rourke

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Jonathan Chait writes about the early war between socialist and establishment voices in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

From New York Magazine:

O’Rourke’s burgeoning image as the next Obama is the very reason socialists reject him. “I think they are suspicious of Beto because he has taken oil and gas money, he’s becoming the darling of big donors, and Obama likes him,” says historian Michael Kazin. “Beto is a lot like Obama, true;” writes Breunig, “it’s perhaps time for left-leaning Democrats to realize that may not be a good thing.” Of course, given that 95 percent of Democrats approve of Obama, this message has fairly limited utility as a line of attack.

The response to O’Rourke’s leftist critics is tellingly devoid of ideological content. “There are plenty of progressives who might run — from Beto and Bernie to Kamala and Booker and others,” says Jon Favreau, a former Obama speechwriter Pod Save America host. “And I think it’s more productive to focus our time and energy talking about why we support the candidates who inspire us.” Notice that Favreau is bracketing all the candidates he names as “progressives.” That is accurate, but it also elides the distinction — between the socialist candidate (Sanders) and liberal ones (everybody else) — that the Sanders left finds so crucial.

Contrast Favreau’s big tentism with this rebuke of O’Rourke by Jilani: “He has become a uniting figure for Democrats, beloved by all and loathed by none. What kind of Democratic politician can be so adored? Maybe one who rarely, if ever, challenged the powerful.” Liberals like Favreau are aiming to unite the party. To a leftist like Jilani, O’Rourke’s ability to appeal across the breadth of the party is a reason to reject him. Turning the primary into a faction fight is not a pitfall to be avoided but the very goal.

Read the rest of the article here.

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