What actual people are against importing cheap Canadian generic pharmaceuticals? Where’s the group of people intent on protecting our thousand-headed hydra of insurers, so that doctors and hospitals can waste time and money on paperwork? What individual human being is out there who just can’t stand the thought of allowing Medicare to negotiate lower bulk prices?

For that matter, where’s that sexy vote-rich crowd of people who are hell-bent on making sure banks have easier stress tests, and don’t have to Malaysia from a list of human traffickers so it can join a free-trade pact?

There are no such people. These are not human positions. These are the positions of health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, job-exporting manufacturers, defense contractors and other high-dollar donors.

Nobody sits around the dinner table demanding that we keep derivative exchanges opaque, or retain the carried-interest tax break. You’re not winning independents with those positions. You’re just stroking a few lobbyists and their clients.

This is what we’re really talking about, when we talk about the “center” in America. The interests behind these positions are only the “center” in the sense that they’re a numerically tiny group of fat cats sitting between two increasingly enormous populations of pissed-off human voters.

It’s no Scooby-Doo mystery what most Democratic voters want: Stricter gun laws, stronger support of unions, reduced defense spending, a raise in the minimum wage, single-payer health care, tougher enforcement of white collar crime, an end to pointless wars and countless other relatively obvious demands.

But one of the key contentions of people like Bruni is that actually asking for these things is an electoral non-starter. He quotes a Third Way think-tanker as saying the next Democratic House majority should “primarily be focused on their oversight role and stopping Trump.”

Which isn’t bad, but conditioning people to expect less is also an old political bogeyman tactic. This sad-sack “wait til’ next year” routine is just a way to scare people away from voting their own interests. It’s not sexy. It doesn’t even work. It’s time to try something new.


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