The California Democratic Party’s convention over the weekend featured many 2020 Democratic candidates giving stump speeches, trying to convince the crowds they would be the person to beat Donald Trump and advocating for their various policy prescriptions.
One such candidate was John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado. Hickenlooper, who is trailing near the bottom of a crowded, 24-person primary field, approached the stage looking to establish himself as a reasonable, moderate voice amongst his more radical contemporaries.
Soon after he got up to speak, Hickenlooper began condemning the more far-left ideals of his fellow Democrats.
“If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer,” Hickenlooper attested.
The statement was met with a resounding number of "boos" from the crowd. But nevertheless, he persisted.
“We shouldn’t try to achieve universal coverage by removing private insurance from over 150 million Americans," Hickenlooper continued. "We should not try to tackle climate change by guaranteeing every American a government job. As the Democratic Party, we have to create a vision for this country. I want to give Americans a reason to look forward to tomorrow.”
That got even louder "boos."
The crowd's vociferations finally began to subside once Hickenlooper started advocating more popular positions.
“As President, I will make healthcare a right, not a privilege, with a real public option," he said, vowing to "tackle climate change with a laser-focus" and "once and for all take on the NRA and have universal background checks on all gun sales.”
In an interview with The Hill after his speech, Hickenlooper said the following:
"If we don't draw a clear distinction between Democrats and our candidates and socialism, the Republicans will paint us into a corner that we can't get out of… Massive government expansions may not be strictly speaking socialism, but trust me: Republicans will make it seem like socialism. In places like Ohio and Michigan and North Carolina and Wisconsin, places we have to win to beat Trump, we'll be starting out ten yards behind."
"We need to be laser-focused on winning this election, and that's going to mean focusing on kitchen table programs that will actually improve people's quality of life."
As the moderates and progressives battle it out for the party's soul, only time will tell who comes out victorious.
(Cover Photo: Gage Skidmore)