Cenk Uygur is the host and founder of “The Young Turks” and chief executive of TYT.
In 2016, I warned that Donald Trump could win. Right after that year’s Democratic National Convention, with Hillary Clinton peaking in the polls, I made that prediction on ABC News’s “This Week.” Several other panelists, all members of the Washington establishment, laughed. But I stuck with my view, and I told our audience on “The Young Turks” on election night: Buckle up, and brace for impact. Trump is going to be president.
Now, I have another prediction for the Washington establishment. Brace for impact: Progressives are going to win.
Why did I think Trump was going to win? Because he was a populist — a fake one, yes, but at least he was savvy enough to fake it. Whereas the Democratic Party thought it was savvy to pick the most status quo, establishment candidate it had ever picked. That was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. That thirst for anti-establishment populism is the same reason I’ve been saying from Day One in this cycle that a progressive is going to win the Democratic nomination and easily defeat Trump.
In fact, at the end of Election Day 2016, I declared that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would destroy Trump in 2020. Now an Economist-YouGov poll puts Warren within one point of former vice president Joe Biden. A Monmouth University poll has Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at 20 percent, one point ahead of Biden. Biden’s lead in an average of polls has already crumbled since shortly after he announced in late April. And if Biden loses his lead, does anyone think he will retake it? Not a chance.
Neither Biden nor centrist Democratic leadership will simply admit defeat. They have plenty of money and plenty of sympathetic media voices to amplify their message. But do you really expect Biden to turn things around? He has already changed his entire strategy once. He makes huge gaffes day after day. While Warren and Sanders draw thousands, his audiences are far smaller. His campaign is gasping for breath, and we’re only in August. The Biden fade has begun. I’m not sure he will even be in the race by Iowa.
Pundits keep insisting that Americans want a moderate Democrat. They will even bring on figures such as Claire McCaskill to say this, even when they lost their seats running as moderate Democrats. Your bias has to be pretty thick not to see the irony of that. Do you really think it’s an accident that two of the top three candidates are the two biggest progressives in the country? Do you think it’s a coincidence that John Hickenlooper and John Delaney peaked at 2 percent? The electorate does not want a moderate or conservative Democrat, no matter how much the mainstream media tries to will it into existence.
This race now isn’t between Warren and Biden; it’s between Warren and Sanders. And for progressives, that’s a dream come true.
Why has so much of Washington failed to take Sanders and Warren seriously? Because almost everyone in power in Washington dislikes progressives and can’t believe that anyone else would ever like them. For years now, pundits, reporters and even Democratic leaders have struggled to figure out why young voters love Sanders so much when so few in Washington support him. It’s because for 40 straight years he has been fighting for the same principles: decent health care, good wages and more equality. Washington Democrats find that annoying, unmalleable and uncooperative. The rest of us see a hero who refuses to bend to the will of the establishment.
This is why we progressives are going to win: The rest of the country doesn’t like politicians, big business or big media. I know that’s a tough pill to swallow if you’re in those crowds, but it’s true. Politicians, big media and big business all poll horribly.
TV pundits keep insisting that “the American people” want what they want. The commentators and the lobbyists want a standard, polished politician who will say one thing and do another. They find that strategic. Real Americans find it gross.
No one outside of the political and media establishments is buying what they’re selling. Look at the polls. Ninety-three percent of Americans say politicians serve their donors instead of the voters. Everyone loathes the corruption and the constant catering to the rich and powerful. Real wages for the average American worker haven’t gone up in 40 years. Americans are desperate for change.
We progressives are that change, whether Washington likes it or not. And when progressives come to clean up Washington, we actually mean it. Buckle up, and brace for impact.