It depends on what you mean by progressive, to sort of paraphrase what Bill Moyers said about, “it depends on what you mean by left-wing.” If you mean left-wing is somehow out of the political mainstream in America, well again how left are you talking about? Center-Left, Far-Left, somewhere in between? If you mean by Progressive, that the job of government is not to manage the lives of everyone and take care of everyone. But instead have a healthy social insurance system that people can use when they need it and have enough money when they retire and guaranteed health insurance, properly regulate the private sector, but not try to run and tax it to the point, that government essentially owns it, then yeah, that’s pretty progressive and very mainstream. Center-Left American politics.
But, Senator Bernie Sanders, the only self-described Socialist in the U.S. Congress, is exactly that. And yes, Socialists are considered mainstream in anywhere in Scandinavia and Britain and France as well. But those countries are very different from America ideologically and even Canada and Germany as well. Theodore Roosevelt, his cousin Franklin, Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, were all supporters of the American economic system. They didn’t put it down, or say America should be more like this country, or that country.
TR, FDR, Truman and LBJ, liked the American private enterprise capitalist model. But also understood that in an economy with a very large private sector, you’re going to have winners and losers. As well as predators who make money from hurting the innocent. And that you needed a government to help people who fall down in the private enterprise system. As well as a regulator to punish and prevent predatory behavior. This right here is the American progressive economic model. Doesn’t sound like Scandinavia, where you have an unitarian national government essentially responsible for the well-being and economic welfare of the entire country.
Bernie Sanders, who I have a lot of respect for, simply for his candor and honesty and even a few issues we agree on, like infrastructure investment, says America should look at Sweden and we should become more like them. If ever Senator Sanders became President Sanders, would move America last the social insurance safety net model, in a private enterprise system. And create a superstate, where the Federal Government would assume the responsibility and take over for the states and individuals when it comes to our well-being. He wouldn’t nationalize the economy, but nationalize certain functions of the economy that he doesn’t believe should be left for private companies and individuals. And tax and regulate other companies to the point that would become essentially public utilities and have to have the country’s best interest at heart.
The Progressive Democrat, the Teddy Roosevelt’s as well as Franklin and Harry Truman’s and LBJ’s, aren’t extreme. Center-Left and on the Left, but not extreme. When you move further Left, you get to the Socialists. Social Democrats and Democratic Socialists and move further left and you’re looking at the Marxists and other statists on the Left. And they represent the Far-Left in America, even if they are as mainstream in Scandinavia, as Liberals and Conservatives are in America. Bill Moyers, is right in the sense that progressivism isn’t extreme in America. But democratic socialism, when you’re talking about a superstate there to take care of everyone and meet everyone’s basic necessities in life, is pretty Far-Left, at least in America.
Crash Course: John Green- The Progressive Era