That 40 year history contextualizes why progressives were upset with Obama, but also shows how Democrats needed moderate candidates to win the White House.

In a large democracy like ours, the choice is almost always between half a loaf and none. That’s true for Wall Street bankers too, who spent millions lobbying against post-crisis financial regulations (another thing Obama did that moved the country left, but not enough for progressives).

Ideologues will always feel unrepresented, because winning requires building a large coalition. For example, on that spectrum showing progressives/left wing/“far left” going unrepresented, you could add libertarians on the other end. They make up about 10% of the country, and they’re not represented either. At least not by the standard that says Obama didn’t represent progressives.

Senior Editor at Arc Digital. Poli Sci prof (IR) at U. Illinois. Author of “Drones and Terrorism.” Politics, national security, and occasional nerdery.

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