Looking at the primary results of the Democratic Party primaries tells me that its voting constituency is politically more complex and varied than we on the left like to believe. Not everybody is on the same page, leaning left, and ready to cast their ballot for the most radicial candidate. Election messaging, therefore, has to account for this variance – congressional district by district and within each district. This requires that candidates have space to modulate their message to fit their constituency. Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes, and relentlessly tack left might feel good to some, but as an election strategy it can quickly become a recipe for defeat.

An old radical that I read years ago and still read today insisted that people on the left, if they hope to go beyond performative politics, should derive their tactics – and election message – from “a strictly sober and strictly objective” accounting of where people are at and – more to the point – what kind of candidate they are ready to vote for. Good advice back then and remains so now.