Elections

Democrats’ ‘Moderate Lane’ Is Clogged with Left-Liberals

Democratic presidential candidates on stage for a debate at Saint Alselm College in Manchester, N.H., February 7, 2020. From left: Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer. (Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters)
Check the tote board: They’re all hard-core leftists.

Pundits and political strategists have filled the airwaves with talk of “moderates” who will rescue Democrats from the ascendant Senator Bernie Sanders and his Vermont-style socialism. But the vaunted “moderate lane” lacks one thing: moderates.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and the rapidly sinking former vice president Joe Biden are hard-core, big-government left-liberals. While they may not be full-blown socialists, the balderdash that they are even vaguely centrist is either desperately uninformed or deliberately dishonest.

Indeed, several legislative scorecards confirm this incredible fact: Sanders’s senatorial vote record repeatedly puts him to the right of Klobuchar and Biden!

  • The Americans for Democratic Action awarded Sanders a 2018 Liberal Quotient of 100 percent — a perfect left-wing score. The “moderate” Klobuchar tailgated Sanders with a 95 percent rating that year. But in 2017, Sanders scored a 95, with Klobuchar to his left at 100. Biden, for his part, earned an 80 percent Liberal Quotient in 2008, his final year in the Senate. While not as far left as Klobuchar and Sanders, who both hit 100 that year, Biden was much closer to the liberal fast lane than to the middle of the road.
  • The American Conservative Union bestowed on Sanders a 9 percent rating for 2018 and a lifetime measure of 6.78. Klobuchar was left of Sanders, with a 5 percent rating for that year and 4.70 across her Senate career.

In 2008, Sanders’s ACU rating was 8 percent, with a then-lifetime score of 6.44. Klobuchar took 16 percent, with a lifetime 10. Biden scored an all-the-way-left 0 percent, although his lifetime figure was a less extreme 12.67.

 

  • The National Taxpayers Union gave Sanders a D and a score of 31 percent for 2018. While that evaluation might have made Milton Friedman weep, Klobuchar’s grades would have made him cry, cry, cry: She earned an F and just 16 percent — half of Sanders’s total, putting her, yet again, to Sanders’s left. In 2008, meanwhile, NTU gave Sanders a D and 18 percent, Klobuchar an F and 4 percent, and “moderate” Joe Biden an F and 2 percent.

The reputedly centrist Biden earned straights Fs on NTU’s report cards, from 1998 to 2008. Klobuchar repeated that feat, from 2007 to 2018. Across those same years, Sanders yielded nine Fs, two Ds, and an “n/a” for 2016, when he skipped Senate votes, campaigned for president, and was swindled by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee’s rigged system.

  • The Club for Growth gave Sanders a 2018 score of 26 and a lifetime rating of 9. That year, Klobuchar earned a 5, matching her lifetime figure. In 2008, CFG awarded Sanders a 13 (lifetime 8), Klobuchar a 3 (lifetime 5), and Biden a 0, equal to his lifetime number.

Unlike the grizzled and grumpy Sanders — who honeymooned in the Soviet Union for 10 days in 1988 and praised Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution — Biden, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg (who has no legislative votes to analyze), offer a moderate demeanor — notwithstanding their leftist records and proposals. But Democrat moderation is solely stylistic. As the Washington Post recently opined, “every major Democratic candidate is running on an agenda to the left of Mr. Obama’s.”

As the chart demonstrates, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is, ideologically, Bernie Sanders’s twin sister. Former New York City mayor and multibillionaire Michael Bloomberg has seconded the Left’s prescriptions — from aggressive gun control to anti-“global warming” orthodoxy, to robust rejection of his own mayoral law-enforcement practices. These candidates advocate steep tax hikes, a new carbon levy, lavish federal spending programs, freebies for illegal aliens, subsidized abortion — on demand, without apology, and until natural delivery — and truckloads more government intervention.

From Nevada to New Jersey, Democrats must decide over the next few months whether they want a practicing socialist to lead their party into the November 3 election. But even if primary voters just say “Nyet” to Bernie Sanders, Democrats will not choose a moderate nominee because no such creature currently is running for president of the United States.

Bucknell University’s Michael Malarkey contributed research to this opinion piece.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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