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Opinion | Should the Democrats Be Less Progressive?

To the Editor:

Re “Face Reality, Democrats” (editorial, Nov. 5):

It is perilous to ignore political reality. What is questionable is The Times’s description of that reality.

Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans (including many Republicans) support many of Build Back Better’s initiatives: lower prescription drug prices, support for child care and early childhood education, and more. Even more consistently, polls make it clear that large majorities want the people and big businesses that make the most money to pay their fair share of taxes — which would go a long way toward paying for the programs Americans want.

Calling this “a sharp leftward push” is mistaken, and focusing on the old boogeymen of costs and growing the government is an anachronistic analysis.

Joe Biden was elected in part to end Donald Trump’s war on our government. His promise was to make government work for Americans, not to make it smaller. The largest part of Democrats’ peril is their failure to do that — largely the fault of moderates. If Democrats can’t make government work, they deserve the consequences. Unfortunately, the nation does not.

Gail Goldey
Harrison, N.Y.

To the Editor:

I certainly hope that this editorial will get the attention of Democratic members of Congress!

I am a liberal Democrat who decries the party infighting and obstructionism. These are not normal times, where we can have arcane political arguments about the fine points of policy. This is now Trump world — an ex-president who actually tried to foment a coup, supported and enabled by his Republican Party.

So while factions in my party are being intransigent, they are also making the president look weak and ineffective and reminding voters that we can be chaotic, too — ergo our recent electoral losses.

Opinion Conversation
Questions surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine and its rollout.

Face reality is right! Either coalesce and compromise and do some great things for the American people, or have the G.O.P. take over Congress and re-elect Donald Trump as president, which will cause us to fail as a country.

Carol Kraines
Deerfield, Ill.

To the Editor:

Your editorial gets it exactly wrong.

You call for the Democrats to moderate in the face of the electorate’s lurch toward the angry and disaffected right. The problem is that our society is broken. People are angry, people are disaffected. The progressives are the ones speaking to these people, with salvos against the destruction of the working class and obscene levels of inequality. Add in the energy of the young and engaged citizens who want to prevent the destruction of our planet.

The progressives among us are our only hope to lead our country with a mandate of the majority.

Mark Knobil
Pittsburgh

To the Editor:

The irony is overwhelming. The advice the editorial page gives to the Democratic Party is to ignore the Times editorial page. This is certainly excellent advice, and had the Democratic Party and the Biden administration followed it, the recent electoral losses might well have been smaller. Nonetheless, it leaves the reader puzzled as to how to apply this advice to the endless stream of progressive editorials that are certain to follow.

Jonathan Blank
New York

To the Editor:

I respectfully disagree with your analysis of the setbacks suffered by the Democratic Party in the recent elections. You give our divided citizenry too much credit. Ask the ordinary voter what he knows — not thinks — about matters like inflation, the state of the pandemic, the teaching of critical race theory, etc., and I am pretty sure you will come up with very little. We voters are vocal about what we think, even if we don’t know much about the subject at hand.

Democrats, notably President Biden, refuse to admit that trying to reason with a party that only offers opposition is futile. The ideal of uniting the country is lofty but currently unrealistic. The G.O.P. over a long period has mastered the art of short, emotionally loaded phrases to manipulate its constituents and the unwary.

The media are being too quick to judge a presidency that is not yet a year old. Disappointing.

Norma Gauster
Avon, Conn.

To the Editor:

Re “Rodgers Sees Covid Rules as Senseless” (Sports, Nov. 6):

Aaron Rodgers’s response is taken right from the former president’s playbook, which is increasingly becoming a template for high-profile people who mess up. The parallels are uncanny.

Let’s be clear. While many folks are angry that Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers’ star quarterback, isn’t vaccinated, the real issue here is that he knowingly broke the rules. And doesn’t think he should be held accountable.

Rather than step up, Rodgers acted indignant, and tried to confuse the issue, provide alternative facts, play down the implications of his actions, highlight his critical thinking, and dare the powers that be to fully hold him accountable. This is the “stable genius” approach. He’s so principled about this issue that he could express his true beliefs only after getting caught.

This isn’t about the woke mob and cancel culture, as he claims. It’s about not being a jerk. And not thinking you’re above the rules. And accountability.

It’s quaint to think about the days when at least some people in leadership positions actually apologized and took responsibility for their misdeeds. Today, too many people instead try to shift the goal posts, just like Rodgers.

John Dudzinsky
Brooklyn

To the Editor:

Re “Desperation at Abbey Gate: America’s Final Days in Afghanistan” (front page, Nov. 8):

The valor of the Marines, the terror of the Afghans, the disastrous denouement of the war. How can anyone read this story and not be moved? The human anguish and the unimaginable waste of these international conflicts are powerful lessons that never seemed to be learned by those who cause them.

Keith W. Hall
Raleigh, N.C.

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