Is this good politics? I doubt it. As Geoffrey Kabaservice noted in the Guardian last November, “Nearly all of the Democrats who flipped the seats of moderate Republicans are themselves moderate. Few support the socialist agenda of Senator Bernie Sanders.” Progressive favorites like Andrew Gillum lost his race against a weak Republican opponent. And Joe Biden tops most Democratic primary polls by a wide margin.
It’s also especially bad politics for someone like Hickenlooper, who can’t get away with filibustering about the merits of capitalism if he hopes to get near the nomination. To the extent that Sanders’s concept of democratic socialism has gained traction, it’s not because capitalism has failed the masses. It’s because Sanders, beyond any of his peers, has consistent convictions and an authentic persona.
To prevail, a moderate Democrat will need to behave likewise. The message can go like this: Capitalism has worked for millions of Americans. It worked for me. We need to reform it so it can work for everyone.