“Candidates who look like they are cautious, modulating, have their foot on the brake are missing the moment,” said veteran Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, who is coming out later this summer with a book on how both parties have been refashioned in the Trump era.
The moment, according to Greenberg’s polling and focus-group work, has left voters of all stripes clamoring for disruption. Cultural and ideological currents in society—more profound than any given day’s Trump uproars—are giving progressives a better opportunity than they have had in decades to play offense.
This interpretation is notable for the source. Greenberg first drew wide notice a generation ago, with landmark work about how Ronald Reagan captured many working-class Democrats who believed their party’s liberalism was out of step with their lives. He is a veteran of the 1992 “war room” of Bill Clinton—who won two elections precisely by practicing a brand of defensive politics that required regular reassurance to voters that his activism didn’t mean he liked big government, disliked free enterprise or was sympathetic to 1960s-style radicalism. [Continue reading…]