For the second time in two weeks, former President Barack Obama has warned progressive Democrats against moving too far to the left.
According to The New York Times, the nation's 44th president recently told a group of fundraisers that Democrats should be more moderate in their proposals. "Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality," adding, "the average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it."
Obama also warned progressives not to dismiss Americans' concerns with their proposals, reported The Hill. "I don't think we should be deluded into thinking that the resistance to certain approaches to things is simply because voters haven't heard a bold enough proposal and if they hear something as bold as possible then immediately that's going to activate them."
The former president's comments stand in stark contrast to calls from Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for "big structural change" and "a political revolution," respectively. In recent weeks, the two 2020 hopefuls have been panned for the high costs and taxes of their Medicare For All and free colleges proposals.
Will Democrats listen?
Obama has expressed concerns for several months now that Democrats may be moving too far to the left.
In April, he cautioned 2020 Democrats against ideological rigidity:
One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States — maybe it's true here as well — is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, 'Uh, I'm sorry, this is how it's going to be,' and then we start sometimes creating what's called a 'circular firing squad,' where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues," he said at the time. "And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens.
Two weeks ago he derided "woke" cancel culture at a Obama Foundation event in Chicago.
"This idea of purity and you're never compromised and you're politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly," he said, drawing largely favorable reactions from political observers. Although some progressives criticized his remarks.