There’s a constant narrative in America, spiking right now, cautioning Democrats not to move “too far left too fast.”

Is this actually a serious sentiment? We’re in an age where our president suggests he would not accept election results or leave office if he lost; indeed, he didn’t accept the results even when he won, claiming he was cheated out of the popular vote.

We have a president who clearly remains above the law in multiple ways. A president who floats the idea of taking a third term. Who says we’re caging children to deter more immigrants from coming here from war-torn, climate-destabilized countries.

We have a Republican Party that continues to be ever more extreme in their militarism and authoritarianism both at home and abroad, and a spineless Democratic Party that helplessly follows suit, moving the politics of the entire country further right through bipartisan support of expanded warfare, erosion of civil liberties, limited real representation in government, and economic policy that coddles the rich.

So we are going to listen to opportunistic politicians and know-nothing blowhards when they pretend the country is somehow moving leftward despite the clear evidence and reality to the contrary?

There is no real leftist movement in this country. The campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders is as close to a “leftist” as we have seen, and he has the not-so-radical ideas to tax the rich at a rate similar to what it was under FDR, expand social welfare to improve prosperity throughout the country, tackle big corporations that have received a free pass for decades, fight the climate crisis, and give the people a chance to benefit from their own tax dollars. It’s hardly socialism or Communism.


In fact, if anything I just mentioned counts as “socialism,” well, we’re already enjoying “socialism” every day in the form of roads, highways, bridges, public water and sewage, schools, libraries, airports, hospitals, national parks, police and fire departments, the armed forces, etc.

Yet the completely absurd idea that we’re moving “too left too fast” gains momentum as a prevailing piece of bogus rhetoric in 2019. This, despite having a dictator-curious president in the White House moving the country further rightward.

We had an actual military parade on the Fourth of July, days after President Donald Trump inexplicably took a photo op with a ruthless dictator in a bizarre and undeserving legitimatization of Kim Jong Un.

The president sows the seeds of disinformation as he retweets conspiracy theories. He bends the boundaries of democracy as he remains enamored over dictators, decries a free press, doesn’t understand or care about governance or checks and balances, appoints incompetent family members to his Cabinet, hides his taxes, and doesn’t separate himself from his own businesses ventures.

And we’re going to worry about a non-existent “leftist movement”? 

We have a mass media that panders to elite interests and corporations, because mass media literally is an elite entity with corporate interests. What “liberal media”?


Meanwhile the “liberal” party in America held the executive branch for eight years (including two years of a super majority) and managed to expand the “War on Terror,” extend the Bush tax cuts, continue to coddle Wall Street and big business, take almost no meaningful action on climate change, expand warrantless spying on citizens, and attack the free press (though more subtly than Trump) — even as Republicans claimed with a straight face that this same branch was occupied by a “socialist.”

The “radical” “leftist” ideas right now are incredibly popular proposals. Medicare for all (supported by roughly 70% of the country), 70% marginal tax rates after $10 million earned in a year (supported by 70% of a Fox News viewer poll), avoiding endless wars, solving the climate crisis, and dealing with the border in more humane fashion are not radical ideas.

These are mainstream proposals that most people support, yet they are being repackaged as “radical,” “leftist” or “extreme” by Republicans and Democrats alike.  

Sadly, you don’t need to imagine a world where McCarthyism, red baiting, and ill-informed fear-mongering somehow simultaneously occur in a country whose two major parties each drift in a more conservative, authoritarian and rightward direction.

We’re living in this nationalist world already. Millions of Trump supporters are turning a blind eye as he challenges the very foundations of democracy, waving their American flags all the while.

Unless more people figure this out, buckle up: America will continue to move rightward on the political spectrum as the talking heads tell the viewers we’re somehow in peril of going “too far left too fast.”


Sam Shain, of Hallowell, is an English teacher and musician.

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