I consider myself on the left. That means things like pursuing single payer, meaningful commitments to public education and infrastructure, robustly responding to the threat of climate change, clawing back to a sane foreign policy, admitting the negative influence of "capitalism" on the lives of many and of money in politics, and so on.
There are a lot of people that would sign onto these projects but don't for the sake of political expediency. The basic thought: pursuing a truly progressive agenda isn't possible given the politics of today. Instead, they insist, we must slowly and carefully push the country to the left.
There's some merit to that strategy. However, I can't shake the feeling that the left negotiates with itself while the right consolidates political power and owns the rhetorical space. Gun rights, climate change, national security, health care, etc. all feel like spaces where we debate on the terms of the right. But we've seen that actually advocating for the strong position can make a difference. For example, single payer is now a surprisingly popular idea.
That is, I think, in part what the appeal of Bernie Sanders was in 2016, and why he remains popular today. He unapologetically offers a progressive agenda. Of course, some degree of pragmatism is necessary for implementation. However, we don't need to tie our shoelaces together at the beginning of the race.
To the detriment of the country and their own political power, the Democratic Party has fought tooth and nail to remain the centrist's party. The Trump years are not the time to offer a restrained political vision for America. He didn't. We don't need to either. We can do better.