Across the country, Democrat gubernatorial candidates are abandoning centrism and embracing extremism as tough primary fights force them further to the left. The Washington Post reports that in Democrat primaries across the nation, “establishment candidates and incumbents are being pulled to the left…” leading to more contentious primaries.
As bitter nomination fights have forced Democrat candidates in Ohio, Florida, New York, Michigan, Colorado and other states to take increasingly extreme, out-of-touch positions in hopes of attracting far-left primary voters, their chances of attracting independent and centrist voters in the general election will continue to decline.
Throughout the country, increasingly contentious primaries for governor are emerging as central battlegrounds in the broader struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party…
In many cases, establishment candidates and incumbents are being pulled to the left by an energized party base and surprisingly strong liberal challengers.
In New York, actor and activist Cynthia Nixon has mounted a credible challenge to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo by arguing that he seems to ‘work for the Republicans’ rather than govern as a Democrat. Cuomo has responded by moving to restore voting rights for parolees and signaling openness to marijuana legalization.
In Florida, where Democrats haven’t won a governor’s race since 1994, the three leading candidates spent much of a televised debate last week debating their liberal bona fides. Former congresswoman Gwen Graham, who spent her one term crafting a moderate record, defended herself against accusations that she didn’t vote closely enough with President Barack Obama. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine discussed how they would move the state to the left.
In Michigan, a wealthy entrepreneur entered the race and branded himself ‘the most progressive Democrat’ on the ballot, backing statewide single-payer health care and a $15 minimum wage. Shri Thanedar now is ahead in polling and name recognition over former state senator Gretchen Whitmer, the clear favorite of party leaders and labor unions.
Colorado has a crowded field, with a congressman, former state treasurer and lieutenant governor all in the race. There, candidates aren’t battling over whether to provide universal health care but how to do it…
Liberal candidates have suggested that their states can become laboratories for left-wing policy and bulwarks against Trump policy and. The wide-open primaries have shown how candidates from the left can energize the party’s restive base, and the races have previewed fights in what looks to be a large field of candidates for the party’s presidential nominee in 2020.