Democrats Begin to Eat Their Young with Liberal Purity Tests | NTK Network Democrats Begin to Eat Their Young with Liberal Purity Tests

Democrats Begin to Eat Their Young with Liberal Purity Tests

A recent hit piece in Vox explains that Beto O’Rourke and Amy Klobuchar are more conservative than the average Democrat, while other 2020 candidates are more liberal.

By NTK Staff | 12.21.2018 @10:00am
Democrats Begin to Eat Their Young with Liberal Purity Tests

Purity tests focused on liberal ideology are beginning to creep into the coverage of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, and they could wind up having an impact on who the grassroots rallies behind in the coming months.

Vox’s Matt Yglesias penned a piece Friday titled, “Beto O’Rourke’s Voting Record Is More Conservative Than The Average Democrat’s.” Yglesias goes point by point through O’Rourke’s voting record while serving in the House of Representatives.

So how did O’Rourke vote? Well, in his first term in Congress, he voted somewhat more conservatively than the typical House Democrat. It was the same in his second term in Congress and the same again in his third term.

And while Yglesias stresses that O’Rourke is not a “crypto-Republican or anything,” he adds this zinger: “Most of the other names you hear in the 2020 race are, however, more consistently progressive.”

He then pivots into a ranking contest of who the most liberal 2020 candidates are based on their voting records:

But Sanders actually did not amass the most left-wing voting record in the 115th Senate. That distinction belongs to Elizabeth Warren. Kamala Harris was No. 2, Cory Booker was No. 3, and then Sanders and Tammy Baldwin are basically the same. Kirsten Gillibrand is closer to the middle of the pack but still more liberal than 76 percent of Senate Democrats.

 A rough equivalent to O’Rourke’s record would be Amy Klobuchar, who in the most recent Senate was more conservative than 72 percent of Senate Democrats. She has had a voting record that’s a bit to the right of the median Democrat’s throughout her time as a senator.

To be sure, these Democrats will use these distinctions in ways both subtle and overt over the course of the next year and a half to attack one another among the party’s grassroots.

Republicans had a bit of a similar problem in 2012 and 2016 when selecting a nominee, so all hope is not necessarily lost for Democrats by going down this road. But it’s a tricky one to manage, and time will tell if any candidate can figure out how to be both the liberal darling and the mainstream candidate that independents can rally behind.

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