Kim Iverson's response to allegations that Tulsi is not progressive
I was thinking of using Kim Iversen’s recent video on political positions as a comment for Not Henry Kissinger’s essay on "The Democratic TriParty (Part 1: The Players)." But since his essay is the first of several parts on a more specific topic, this might be too far OT, so I’ve decided to present it on its own. Kim’s video offers some necessary definitions with which we may or may not agree, along with a rational defense of Tulsi’s inherent progressivism.
A few days ago, Kim Iversen published a video on the reaction to Tulsi’s Dave Rubin interview. She addresses the assertion made by some Democrats that the interview proved Tulsi is not a progressive. Using topics from the interview, Kim defends Tulsi’s progressive credentials and then, at about 13:28, launches into a discussion of two different but often overlapping political movements, progressivism vs. populism.
Roughly following the order of the interview topics, Iversen starts with Tulsi’s lawsuit against Google and Tulsi's rationale that social media monopolies have too much power, that they infringe on basic freedom of speech, and government regulation should be applied to Google. Iversen notes that none of these stances can be called non-progressive. Tulsi’s stance on abortion is inconclusive; she favors absolute choice in first two trimesters, but would not require government intervention at any point beyond that. Tulsi’s position on guns includes universal background checks but she does not advocate an outright ban on guns, which strikes some as rightwing. Kim notes that few Dem politicians want to ban guns. Kim discusses the allegation that talking to “the other side” is disloyal, especially speaking in normal non-confrontational tones, person to person. Yet Tulsi is also criticized for opposing regime change wars but does not oppose war in all circumstances. Kim points out that Tulsi’s preference for sitting down and meeting with dictators and other undesirables is a means of avoiding war.
Kim discusses how Tulsi’s refusal to take hard black-or-white stances on issues leads people to conclude that she’s a compromiser or a moderate, that she’s playing both sides of the political spectrum . Kim proposes that one can be a “nuanced radical,” citing Andrew yang as an example. Tulsi’s distaste for labels leads some to say that since she doesn’t define herself as a progressive, she isn’t one. Kim then lists some items from Tulsi’s clearly progressive record, such as supporting Bernie when no one else would in 2016, actually being there at Standing Rock, calling since 2012 for the restoration of Glass Steagall, opposing any and all cuts to SS and Medicare under Obama, and her unwavering support for universal health care and single payer.
Then at about 13:28, Kim begins a very interesting discussion of the terms “progressivism” and “populism.” She sees these political positions existing on both sides of the political spectrum and notes that this contributes to the appeal of Tulsi and Yang to members of both political parties. Kim uses definitions from difference.wiki, which defines “populism” as a movement started by farmers in the late 19th century for changes to the economic system, and “progressivism” as a movement started in the early 20th century by an educated urban middle class seeking reforms to the political system. Populism calls for tax reforms, labor laws, unions, universal health care. Populism brought about the 8 hour work day, regulation of banks and industries, civil service. Progressivism brought about reforms to inflation and corruption of the business class. By these definitions, Kim considers Bernie and Elizabeth populists and Tulsi as primarily a progressive, but all three as a blend of both populist and progressive. She notes the angst among progressives over Bernie’s reluctance to take on the political class. Tulsi’s calling out the political elites (e.g. the DNC) is the essence of progressivism. She notes that Elizabeth is in with the political elites while Tulsi has taken on these elites. Bernie isn’t in with them but won’t call them out.
Kim suggests that many who voted for Obama in 2012 but Trump in 2016 are populist progressives. Many on the right saw Trump as the Molotov cocktail who would take down the political system, a means of giving the finger to the political elites. This is why we cannot run another run-of-the-mill establishment candidate like Joe Biden. She also states that Tulsi Gabbard is the most progressive candidate running.
Observing that there are issues which are neither populist nor progressive, such as immigration reform, abortion, and gun control, Kim closes with the reminder that we want both: economic reform and political reform -- and should laser beam focus on those ends.
Of course everything Kim Iversen says is open to disagreement, as are her selected definitions.