Some leading Democrats seem to have a love-hate relationship with the left. Sure, progressives seem to have more influence than ever this year, at least rhetorically. But it doesn't look like the friction will be going away any time soon. Clearly, the left matters. Why, then, is it so difficult for progressives to get a seat at the table?
Generation Y and Millennials seem to have decided that the problem with modern politics is our leaders do not inspire us. It's not Hillary Clinton's job to illicit a warm inner glow in me every time she opens her mouth. It is clear liberal romantics are unmoved. What is less clear is why that matters?
History shows that liberals need radicals. We need radicals because drastic change against entrenched evil and concentrated power requires personal bravery to the point of obsession. It requires a radical sensibility to look beyond today's limits and imagine what seems sheer impossibility within the current social order. And sometimes it's necessary to break the law to redeem the Constitution. No great social change in America has occurred without radicals, beginning with the struggle to end slavery. Causes that now seem mainstream began with radical, impolite and sometimes civil disobedient protest. But here's where the story gets complicated. Radicals also need liberals. Liberals can write policy proposals to their hearts' content. But unless they are backed by radicalism on the ground, they are playing in a sandbox.
We need an active, independent left willing to challenge the push for smaller government. A well-managed government can revitalize the economy even as it makes our world a better place to live. Many Americans seem to understand that instinctively. Where, then, is the movement that will make that argument?