June 12, 2017

RUNNING AS A REPUBLICAN, SO AGAINST BERNIE AND DONALD:

The Enduring Mystery of Jon Ossoff (GRAHAM VYSE, June 12, 2017, nEW rEPUBLIC)

The most common interpretation of Ossoff's success is that, to quote Handel, he "talks like a Republican." The Weekly Standard dubbed Ossoff "a political Janus, flirting with progressives while campaigning like a moderate." National Journal political editor Josh Kraushaar similarly attributed Ossoff's strength to "run­ning like a mod­er­ate Republican--hardly talk­ing about Pres­id­ent Trump":

For all the talk about the power of the in­creas­ingly-strident left-wing base, Demo­crat­ic op­er­at­ives re­cog­nize that the way to win elec­tions is through woo­ing in­de­pend­ents and per­suad­able voters. The key voters in up­com­ing con­gres­sion­al and gubernat­ori­al con­tests are sub­urb­an­ites, many of whom have little af­fin­ity for Trump but want to hear a pos­it­ive agenda from the op­pos­i­tion. They're also wary of a left­ward lurch--tone-deaf­ness on the ter­ror­ist threat, open­ness to single-pay­er health care, to name a couple of ex­amples--that seems to be gain­ing trac­tion with­in the Demo­crat­ic Party.

It's true that Ossoff hasn't distinguished himself as a populist firebrand or leftist ideologue, but rather as a "mild-mannered, centrist candidate," in the words of Ed Kilgore, a New York magazine columnist and former policy director for the now-defunct centrist Democratic Leadership Council. Ossoff's campaign ads focus on "working with anyone" and cutting wasteful government spending and the national deficit. He "has often eschewed progressive politics to campaign on fiscal responsibility and 'sense over nonsense,'" as The Washington Post put it. "He has appealed to progressive Berniecrats primarily by positioning himself against Trump," Mother Jones observed, "but without pushing their core platform positions like single-payer health care, free tuition, or steep taxes on the rich."

Posted by at June 12, 2017 7:04 PM

  

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