Progressives: Progressives and Progressivism, Not Socialists and Socialism

Source:Slide Player- If Progressives were described and stereotyped as Theodore Roosevelt and not as Socialists or Communists, there would be a lot more American Progressives.
This is about Progressives and progressivism. And I feel the need to make this important and I hope at least would be an obvious point to anyone who understands what Progressives actually believe and what progressivism is as more of a governing philosophy, ( instead of an ideology ) that Progressives are not the same people as Socialists and are even more different than Communists.
Progressives, are very different from even Democratic Socialists and Social Democrats. Progressives under President Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, gave us the national security state. They were some of the toughest cold warriors and anti-Communists. There are Progressives both Democrats and Republicans who are and were more hawkish than Conservatives, even.

Progressivism, is a bipartisan if not nonpartisan ideology: you have Progressive Democrats and Progressive Republicans. You have Left-Progressives, the FDR’s Harry Truman’s, LBJ’s. And you have Right-Progressives: Teddy Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon even if you look at where he was on civil rights, environmental protection, Welfare to Work, health care, etc. So frankly we’re not talking about California or West Coast, Northeast Hippies, who wear Che Guevara t-shirts and caps, smoking Cuban cigars, pondering how do we bring communism or socialism to America.

We’re talking about people who believe in progress and progress through government action. Which is very different from government control and people who believe that capitalism is a necessary evil, or maybe we shouldn’t have property rights at all. But instead people who believe in progress, who believe in both personal and economic freedom, personal responsibility, even. But also believe that freedom should be for everyone, not just for people who were born to wealth or inherited a lot of money. And that government has a role o helping people improve their lives so they can live in freedom as well. But that government shouldn’t try to run people’s lives for them. Or outlaw anything that they believe is dangerous.

Bill Clinton

As much as the Far-Left ( Socialists ) hate this, Bill Clinton was actually very progressive as President. When he was President, the most Progressive President since LBJ, if not FDR as far as what he accomplished during his presidency and the progress that was created during his watch. Education was better, poverty hit record lows during his presidency, more Americans not just had health care, but health insurance, more Americans not just went to work, but had good jobs, crime was lower.

And all of this progress that was created was all done with in just a deficit neutral way, but he inherited a budget deficit of around 300 billions-dollars back in 1993, which was a lot money back then and he cut the deficit during his first term and left office in 2001 with 4 balanced budgets. He was not a tax and spend Socialist, but someone who believed that government could improve people’s lives and do it in a fiscally responsible fashion, if that money was actually invested in helping people improve their lives. Not just so they could day they spend more money on people.


This is about former First Lady, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, 2016 Democratic Party nominee for President Hillary Rodham Clinton. The way the Far-Right talks about her, you would think she must be some radical Socialist-Feminist, who wants to outlaw masculinity. The way the Far-Left talks about her, she must be as Conservative as Barry Goldwater, especially since she volunteered for his presidential campaign in 1964. Which means neither fringe is right about her. When the Far-Right and Far-Left are wrong about the same thing or person, that’s as incredible as the sun coming up in the morning.

Similar to her husband Bill Clinton, Hillary is a Center-Left Progressive Democrat in the mode of Teddy Roosevelt ( who of course was a Republican ) but a Left-Progressive who wants government to help people who are struggling to improve their lives for them. Not a Socialist who wants government to run people’s lives for them. Or some Conservative who has basically no role for government at all, at least as it relates to economic policy.

Hubert Humphrey

You could argue that Hubert Humphrey was very similar to George McGovern or Bernie Sanders today: the Social-Democrat/Democratic Socialist of his era, who would’ve dramatically increased the size of the Federal Government, at least as it related to social policy. But I look at his record in Congress as a Senator and see him as very pragmatic, who wanted government to improve the lives of people, but who probably didn’t believe that government should try to run people’s lives for them. Or that there was some government program to solve everyone’s problems for them.

Martin O'Malley

The New Democrat is based in Bethesda, Maryland ( just outside of Washington ) so we should be very familiar with our former two-term Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley. Everything that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were talking about accomplishing during their presidential campaigns in 2015-16, Governor O’Malley accomplished as Governor of Maryland from 2007-15. Higher minimum wage, better education, health care, job training, marijuana reform, moving people out of poverty, etc.

Nelson Rockefeller

Anyone who is old enough to have lived through this period and old enough to remember, or are just familiar with American political history, knows that the Republican Party not only used to have a Progressive wing, but they were probably 30-40% of the party. That wing is all but dead now in the modern Republican Party that’s dominated by Christian-Nationalists, with some Conservative-Libertarians as well. Governor Nelson Rockefeller, was basically the leader of the Right-Progressive wing of the Republican Party in the 1960s and 70s.


This might sound like something you hear from someone on a week-long marijuana high, but Neoconservatives are actually Right-Progressives. I’m not talking about Teddy Roosevelt, Frank Roosevelt, Harry Truman, or Lyndon Johnson. I’m talking about people who are to the Right of Nelson Rockefeller on foreign policy, who are the hawkish of the hawks, but believe that government can be used to help improve the lives of ordinary people who struggle just to survive.

Neoconservatives, are to the Left of let’s Conservative-Libertarians on economic policy. But to the Right of people like Bernie Sanders and company on foreign policy. They represent what’s left of the Progressive wing of the Republican Party on economic and to a certain extent on social policy, but are very hawkish on national security and foreign policy. The great political columnist Charles Krauthammer, was a Neoconservative. President George W. Bush, political writer Bill Kristol, Commentary Magazine and many others on the Center-Right are Neoconservatives.


Robert F. Kennedy, at least by the time he was elected to the U.S. Senate was a true Progressive Democrat. And again we’re not talking about Socialists or Hippies, or people who are both, but people who had a real-world, pragmatic view at how they look at America and the rest of the world, who believe that government can be used to help people help themselves, but not run their lives for them.

Richard Nixon

This might sound crazy to anyone on the Left, ( especially Far-Left ) but Richard Nixon was actually a very Progressive Republican. I call him a Right-Progressive. If you look at where he was on civil rights in the 1950s, 1960s and throughout his presidency, as well as welfare reform as President, health care, the environment, he was definitely a Progressive Republican. A Right-Progressive who was progressive on economic and social policy, but very hawkish when it came national security and foreign affairs.


Theodore Roosevelt, is at least arguably the father of the American Progressive movement. First as Governor of New York, President of the United States, and as a political candidate and political activist. The father of Progressive Party during the Progressive Era from 100 years ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All relevant comments about the posts you are commenting on are welcome but spam and personal comments are not.

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960