I see a lot of people making claims about how left wing or progressive various Democratic candidates or potential candidates are. Most of the time, I think these claims are flimsy. Commentators like to judge candidates on three core metrics:
- The rhetoric they use–whether the candidate talks in a way that makes the commentator feel good.
- The policies they claim to support–whether the candidate has gotten behind particular policies, like Medicare For All, Green New Deal, Abolish ICE, or whatever floats your boat.
- Their identity–whether the candidate is a person of color and/or a woman and/or LGBTQIA+
I want to argue that these metrics are largely useless. Instead, I want to give you a much better toolkit for assessing candidates–one that most journalists don’t know how to use.