That One’s Reach

media has come to presume on Twitter correlates with one’s influence in the corridors of power and hold on the progressive electorate writ large. Gazing at social media is no way to gauge the opinions of Democrats. When it comes to politics, Twitter is a funhouse mirror.
That has broader implications. The results over the past two weeks prove that many reporters and pundits pay too much attention to a select few members of the Democratic Caucus and too little to the elected officials who actually established our House majority. For every journalistic inquiry to a young representative who ran against another Democrat, reporters should seek out a Democrat who flipped a Republican seat—members such as Lucy McBath of Georgia, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Lauren Underwood of Illinois. If you want to gauge how the party has evolved on the challenges of the day—health care, climate change, social justice—ask one of them.
That leads to the most important misconception. While the Republicans have abandoned the center right for the crazy angry populism epitomized by President Trump, the last two weeks have proven that the Democrats are still a center-left party, not a far-left party. That’s been true for cycle after cycle, but much of the media simply isn’t able to differentiate what matters from what doesn’t. Our Revolution, the group born out of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s failed 2016 campaign, didn’t flip a single seat in the fight to give Nancy Pelosi a House majority in 2018—not one. Why? Because only half of their political analysis is right.
Mr. Sanders’s general theory was that Democrats needed to turn out a lot of additional young voters. While he was right to note that our fate depended on turnout, we needed more than the young. To the far-left’s shock, the Democratic base isn’t on college campuses. While the surge of young voters the Sanders campaign predicted never materialized, we’ve seen an explosion in suburban turnout. The party’s core is in a coalition of urban and suburban areas we should call the Metropolitan Majority. Democrats’ long-term success hinges on our listening to these voters and turning them out year after year. Pundits whose job is to explain the political sphere need to shake preconceived ideas about the youth vote and what comprises the Democratic Party.
Here’s the problem. The media’s obsession with identity politics, the role of money, and the views of politicians who flourish on Twitter prevents citizens from getting a full picture of what’s going on at the heart of the campaign. If voters are going to regain trust in the world of journalism, journalists need to start explaining the world as it is—not as it appears on an app.
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