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"Moderate Democrats" are secret masochists who are happy to suffer under a steady flow of rhetorical pandering while telling the activist base to eat their peas and put on sweaters, while groveling for whatever crumbs Congressional Republicans will allow.

Nonsense. Moderate Democrats have different policy preferences than progressives, and thus disagree with progressives on a number of different matters - both substantively and procedurally. Generally, they don't want massive change to the country's economic and social systems.

They are engaged in an intra-party conflict with the progressive activists over how to proceed in setting policy. They are winning that conflict because politics is asymmetrical. It is vastly more difficult to accomplish big changes than small changes, and the least politically difficult thing to do is to maintain the status quo.

Joe Manchin isn't any more powerful than Bernie Sanders. Manchin is a moderate, and he can kill any Democratic proposal by not voting for it. Sanders is a progressive, and he also can kill any Democratic proposal by not voting for it. Sanders cannot pass a bill on his own, though; and neither can Joe Manchin (no new or expanded coal subsidies for West Virginia unless he cuts a deal).

It's easier to believe that moderate democrats are secret masochists that are following some shady agenda than to acknowledge the truth - that they're primarily folks who are less progressive than the liberal base in their personal outlook, generally represent districts that contain much larger numbers of moderate or even conservative-leaning Democrats who are also less progressive, and typically have large numbers of centrist or even center-right independents who are resistant to massive changes. Their positions stem from the political realities and constraints they face, as well as simply having different conceptions of what the federal government should be doing. Not 'masochism.'

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