"Reject the siren calls of the left" is the advice Mark Penn and Andrew Stein offer for the Democratic Party in a New York Times op-ed. The two make a case for why Democrats have to move back to the centrist position advocated by President Bill Clinton in the mid-'90s—a position they say reversed into a "rush to the left" during President Obama's last few years in office. That U-turn resulted in an upswing for "identity politics, class warfare, and big government," all of which have worked against the Democrats at the voting booths, with big losses during Obama's tenure in terms of legislative seats and control of both houses of Congress.
It has also hurt Dems' standing with working-class voters, who've witnessed "the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues, and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland," the authors write. The "good issues" Democrats should be pushing on as they "reject socialist ideas," Penn and Stein write: better protections for US workers, a focus on rural areas, the opioid epidemic, and a more balanced take on immigration. "Americans are looking for can-do Democrats in the mold of John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton—leaders who rose above partisanship to unify the country, who defended human rights and equality passionately, and who also encouraged economic growth and rising wages," they write. Full op-ed here. (Is Al Franken the Democrats' 2020 "savior"?)