As more left-flank challengers face off with center-left incumbents and more democratic socialists begin looking toward public office, beware: You will all be called champagne socialists or yacht communists, the ritzier and more radical counterparts of limousine liberals. It doesn’t matter how comparatively humble your background is, or how relatively modest your means in the context of the political class at-large — it’ll always be news if Bernie Sanders wears a $700 coat or buys a house by a lake, because his political position on inequality is so obviously moral that the only way to impeach it is to make him seem dishonest about it. The same goes, and will continue to go, for every other candidate who attempts to advance material equality. This stance is hard to supply a persuasive democratic alternative to, so critics instead claim that its standard-bearers don’t really mean it.
Even when one’s status or story is presented unfairly, the argument usually isn’t worth having. One might as well not give them an opening, or another thing to mock: It’s not going to be enough anyway, so underexposure — a decisive turn away from the bare-it-all, narrative-based style of self-presentation typical of the left — is understandable. And why should it matter? Lives are infinitely complicated and nuanced, and if yours brought you to a good political agenda you’re ready to work hard for, then that’s good enough.