scale tilted

The “both sides” mentality in the mainstream media is an example of lazy journalism. It’s the pursuit of trying to appear fair handed for those worried that they might be perceived otherwise so if needed, they’ll artificially pump up one side as being as extreme or offensive as the other side when it isn’t (“People opposing racism are just as extreme as people supporting racism! See how fair I’m being? Nailed it!”).

When it comes to issues involving bigotry, chauvinism, intolerance, corruption, poverty, etc., the side that opposes the haters and thieves is not “equally extreme”.

The MSM often tries to balance the scales of Trump Extremism with Progressive values on the other side. For example, while Trump and Congressional Republicans pushed through a tax bill that gave most of its $1.5 trillion cuts to the top 1%, Progressives want to reverse that and tax the wealthy more to reduce the deficit and pay for social programs that everyone, including Republicans, use.

Those are not reverse mirror images of the same extreme position. One is a corrupt transfer of wealth from the majority of Americans to a wealthy minority and the other is righting that wrong and working for the public welfare. It’s easier though for some in the press to gloss over the actual dynamics and details and just throw it into the “both extreme sides” narrative.

Republican extremism under Trump has gone so far that even moderate, centrist views are now far to the left of them.

It’s like the Republicans have built a scale where the fulcrum is so far to the right that conservatism would be in the center (hence all the NeverTrump Repubs seeming reasonable of late…until they shill for a narcissistic coffee billionaire whose independent run would help Trump get re-elected…Schmidt, I’m looking at you) and the issues that a majority of Americans support are “far left”.

But that continuously dragged-to-the-right fulcrum corrupts balance, it does not reflect where the middle of American opinion is and it’s well past time for the MSM to stop calculating the middle point in American opinion as equidistant between the extremest Trump/GOP and where most Democrats (and Americans) are.

Despite the constant labeling, Progressive values are not “far left”. This adds a psychological wrongness for those who don’t think of themselves as “left” to a broad set of popular values, most of which are shared by centrist Democrats and Republicans.

So let’s go through some key Progressive values and see just how mainstream they are with the American public.

PROGRESSIVE ISSUES AND THEIR POLLING

a. A wealth tax of 2% on wealth above $50 million: 61% Approve/20% Disaprove

b. A marginal tax of 70% on income above $10 million: 45% Approve/32% Disapprove

c. Repealing Trump/GOP Tax cut to reduce deficit: 60% Approve/21% Disapprove

d. Obamacare/ACA: 51% Approve/ 40% Disapprove

e. Medicare For All: 70% Approve/30% Disapprove

f. Climate Change is man-made: 58% Agree/30 Disagree

g. Instituting a carbon tax: 44% Approve/29% Disapprove

h. Abortion should be legal in all or most cases: 58%Approve/37% Disapprove

I. Free college tuition: 60% Approve/29% Disapprove

j. Tougher gun control laws: 61% Approve/38% Disapprove

k. Opposing Trump’s border wall: 60% Approve/40% Disapprove

l. Citizenship for Dreamers/DACA recipients: 83% Approve/15% Disapprove

m. Allowing transgender people to serve in military:  70% Approve/22% Disapprove

It’s hard to see how these positions are “far left” when a majority, or in a couple of cases, a plurality of Americans, support them.

Yes, there may be Progressive proposals by some Dems that seem too far “left” to some Americans (most issues that might seem so are listed above and polled favorably). When calibrating what “extreme” really is, it may be helpful to keep in mind that none of the positions listed above that most Americans support…none of them…are supported by Trump and the GOP.

In this post-Citizens United era (consider the cruel irony of the name of a ruling that has torn Americans apart and handed our government to the wealthy to be run for their benefit, “Citizens United”? Republicans always seem so gratified to use perverted  titles that make bad things sound good), the needle has moved farther and farther away from democracy and representing the will of the people.

The decisions in Congress and the White House, especially under Trump/GOP rule, seem mostly to serve the wealthy who donate to them far more than the American people (check your tax refund this year)…or helped put legally questionable money in Trump’s pocket.

There is nothing centrist about a plutocracy. There is nothing left wing about majority rule in a democracy. The branding of a rigged status quo and corporatism as “centrist” is wrong. As is trying to give an unspoken affirmation of what’s best for big business as “normal” and anything in favor of the people as  “far left”.

Most Americans don’t see themselves as “leftists”. Yet they hold values that align with Progressives in most cases. It’s the “far left” branding that some may see as a way of alienating Americans from supporting issues they might otherwise support.

In the end, titles are irrelevant and perhaps that would be a good idea for the 2020 Democratic candidates to consider. Maybe it’s not as important to brand these positions as “Progressive” or “Liberal”.

Maybe it would help to reclaim truth and our democracy by simply referring to these positions as what they are de facto…”what a majority of Americans want”.

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Nelson humphreys
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Nelson humphreys

Yes a majority of people support policies that would damage the USA. Because getting free stuff sounds so good. Most people don’t think about the repercussions of having group A pay for the so called “free stuff”. The transfer of money from those that earn it, to people who did not earn it causes: increased government corruption, loss of economic vitality, social strife, loss of liberty.

As far as your claim that what people see as the middle has been shifted. It has, to the left. 10 years ago the idea of national health insurance was the perview of socialist, communist, and other fringe actors. 20 years ago democrats cut investment taxes. 50 years ago they cut taxes on the rich. FDR states that government support for the poor should stop in the summer because “nobody starves when there are crops in the field”. He also called public sector unions immoral.

Now the progressives want to recreate the Venezuela disaster here in the good old USA. And thanks to a highly biased media, lots of people don’t see the danger.

I am not one of them.

TOCB
Member

ONE of my pet peeves is the “both sides” excuse. You hardly ever heard that from the left, and the right only use it when they can’t defend their own positions.

TOCB
Member

The right has mastered the art of controlling the narrative. One reason for that is that they have a lot of help not only from Fox “News” and right wing talking heads, but the left often legitimizes lies told by the right by not challenging them. One of my pet peeves is the excuse republicans use when they can’t defend something. This is when they say, “Both sides do it”. Although there are some things that both sides do, they are few and far between. Lying, distorting facts, racism, bigotry and misogyny are almost the exclusive arena of republicans. That is not to say Democrats or pure or perfect, but they are almost TOO anal about staying clear of these things.

kesmarn
Admin

AdLib, I remember — when I was in college, decades ago — wondering about why people chose to major in “marketing.” What was so significant about selling things to people that it could warrant four intensive years of study to master the field?

Now I wish I’d paid more attention.

Because now it’s all too apparent that marketing techniques aren’t used only to sell gadgets. They’re used to sell ideas. And to create and maintain “brands.”

The strange man in the Oval Office (I’ve made it through two years without ever attaching the P(resident) word to him) may not be a brain surgeon, but this is one concept he grasped much earlier and much better than I ever did. It’s pretty embarrassing to admit that.

From the consistent labeling of Barack Obama as “lawless,” and Hilary as “crooked” — to the Pocahontas attacks on Elizabeth Warren — Trump and his allies have been remarkably successful at the branding game.

As you’ve said, these days it’s all about the left being “violent,” “Socialist” and “extremist.”

For starters: it’s unfortunate that the word “socialist” should ever have been allowed to become a pejorative term. There are obviously plenty of socialist countries in Europe that are not populated by oppressed, impoverished masses dominated by brutal dictators. As we all know in fact, if you want to see stable, successful middle classes with low crime rates and high levels of education, look there.

Then there are the darkly cartoonish representations of Democrats as the kind of people who would snatch women off the streets when they’re nine and a half months pregnant, force them into clinics for unwanted abortions, and then coldly euthanize the perfectly healthy newborn afterward. Apparently it’s almost impossible to overdo it when it comes to getting your marketing message out there.

Add to that the “fact” that everyone on the left is a Godless atheist (really?) and you’ve got a caricature of a pretty immoral lot.

So — even though the policy positions of the left are viewed positively by the majority of Americans, as you’ve brilliantly demonstrated — the right continues to push the ” they’re all dangerous radicals” narrative.

The ironic thing is — we’ve already been here before! A couple days ago, this YouTube video was recommended to me. It was a story written by Rod (Twilight Zone) Serling, and produced in the mid-1950s during the McCarthyist Red Scare. It is eerily familiar:

Apparently — unfortunately — this is one (of many) battle(s) we’re going to have to fight all over again.

glenn
Member
glenn

As usual, Ad, great article, especially your concluding sentences. I think you’ve hit on something there regarding labels. Democrats running for office should begin their speeches policy positions with those or similar words.

In fact, they should begin their speeches showing that the policies are a REFLECTION of most Americans’ beliefs, rather than something that Americans have to be persuaded to believe.

Dems should begin their speeches with those statistics, and go on to tell voters what specific policies will address those beliefs. As politicians are being interviewed by the so-called “liberal media”, they should make sure that these statistics and policy positions are being highlighted. Yes, they are going to have to answer the stupid questions such as, “Do you eat fried chicken with your hands or with a fork?”, but hold the media accountable too. Make the media at least repeat their policy positions once in a while, rather than their so-called gaffes.

That being said, I have no hope that this will happen often, due to the fact that the above question about fried chicken was plastered all over the liberal sites this morning.

Dems definitely need to get better with messaging, and the first step is to keep citing those statistics in your article.