Why is it, in the words of congressional scholar Norm Ornstein, that the “more radical wing of the Republican Party holds the center of gravity and the radical wing of the Democratic Party is just an appendage and not a significant force”?
Ornstein thinks that for Republicans, it’s about feeling the underdog as a minority party in Washington. It doesn’t help that tea party-linked lawmakers also appear to live in a right-wing echo chamber.
And if Democrats follow suit, at least in rhetoric if not in tactics? “I do worry that the Ted Cruzes of the world will encourage a more radical left to emerge,” he said. “I think that will just weaken the legitimacy of the center left of the Democratic side.”
He doesn’t have much to worry about on that front. While Grayson might be providing some over-the-top discourse, no one is pushing radical negotiating tactics.
Asked if this risk-averse mentality among progressives cedes negotiating leverage to the Republicans, Ellison seemed stumped. “That’s something for me to really think about,” he replied. “Maybe strategically we should be fighting for single payer.”