In other words, the suburban strategy that helped Democrats win in ’06 and ’08 basically tied their hands in responding to the financial crisis, the health care crisis, and more. That laid the groundwork for the Republican revolt of 2010 — which wiped out many of those same moderate Democrats, anyway — and led to a brutally slow recovery that created a petri dish for political extremism.
So will history repeat itself?
It certainly looks like it. Should Democrats retake Congress this year and then the presidency in 2020, passing things like Medicare-for-All, a national child care system, or a $15 national minimum wage will suddenly become a live possibility. Yet these bold economic policies are unlikely to garner the support of representatives who answer to well-to-do populations fearful of economic change and potentially higher taxes. Winning in the suburbs this year might set the stage for future policy disasters.