I challenge your use of the word “centrists.” What we have in the form of the Clintonite/Obama wing of the Democratic Party is a moderate Republican party which has no business being in the Democratic Party in the first place.
This all started when Bill Clinton and his DLC dragged the Democrats to the Right, emulating Reagan and pursuing the Reaganite agenda. Clinton was able to “end Welfare as we know it”, pass NAFTA, pass a draconian Crime Bill to put a million black people behind bars and basically deregulate EVERYTHING. His policies were designed to hurt the traditional base of the Democratic Party: working class voters and minorities. His Sister Souljah Moment was just the beginning, and signaled his intent and willingness to break with Democratic tradition and orthodoxy and basically assume the mantle of what we used to call “country club Republicans.” By this I mean the genteel “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” Republicans like George H.W. Bush and Jack Kemp. In other words: right wing conservatives who were OK with abortion and gay rights.
What happened to those moderate Republicans? Why, they joined the “New Democrats.”
Clinton launched his hijacking of the Democratic Party in 1990, expanded his corporatist control in the election of 1992 and then completed the utter transformation of the Party in 1996, when he became the first Democratic Presidential candidate to raise more money from Wall St. and Corporate America than did his Republican rival (Bob Dole).
It should be mentioned that one of those Republicans who switched to the “New” Democrats in the 1990’s was Elizabeth Warren. She was in many ways the perfect New Democrat and is still parroting Bill Clinton’s neoliberal anthem about defending those people who “work hard and play by the rules.”
So when you say “centrists” be aware that you are really talking about Republicans in all but name. This is not a secret. Obama and other Corporate Democrats are constantly channeling Reagan, emulating him rather than FDR. Obama even described himself as a “moderate Republican”:
It is also factually incorrect to call the Obama/Clinton Democrats “centrists” because the positions that they espouse are not actual centrist positions in terms of the electorate. Strong majorities of America support policies like Medicare for All (70%), Tuition-Free Public College (62%), a $15 Minimum Wage (65%), increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy (67%), and other parts of the “Sanders agenda.”
These policy positions are opposed by those you would call “centrists”. I frankly do not see how you could possibly say that someone who opposes what 2/3 of Americans want is anywhere NEAR the “center”.
Now, let’s look at what REALLY “gave us Trump.” It was not pissed off progressives. It was a large cohort of disappointed Democrats who simply did not perceive a good reason to come out and vote for Hillary Clinton. This is because Clinton basically ran as “Obama’s third term.” The problem was that Obama himself governed like a Republican and not a Democrat, and did not deliver on any of his campaign promises. The consequence was that 4.4 million voters (1/3 of them black) who had voted for Obama stayed home in 2016. THAT is what gave us Trump.
And if the Democrats run another Clintonite/Obama corporate Democrat in 2020, the Democrats will lose again.
This is because (a) they deserve to lose and (b) they don’t care if they lose.
They deserve to lose because they are not offering their own base a reason to come out and vote for them, and indeed they are actively running against what 2/3 of the general electorate say they want.
They don’t care if they lose because losing to Trump is seen in many ways as a positive boon to the Party itself. Indeed, contributions and fundraising by the Democrats under Trump have broken all previous records.
They also don’t care because losing to Trump is proven to have no consequences. No one has been blamed for the disastrous Clinton campaign — least of all Clinton herself. EVERYONE KEPT THEIR JOBS, and her campaign staffers all went on to highly lucrative positions within the Democratic Establishment.
So forecasting another Democratic loss in 2020 is an easy bet to make when you realize that for the Democratic Establishment — those you mistakenly call ”centrists” have no real reason to win. Winning would mean they would have to run on a leftist, progressive agenda that is attractive to that 2/3 of voters I mentioned above. Such an agenda is poison to them and their Donors. No — much better to lose with a corporate platform than win with a progressive one. That way everyone keeps their jobs, the Donors keep giving, and the gravy train keeps rolling along.
Still, I expect that they will nominate another CorpDem, and then the vote shaming will really start in earnest.
Hell, you yourself are already doing it, thereby proving my point.
I will leave you with this one simple graphic, which illustrates very nicely why we got Trump.