Why are establishment Dems afraid of the ‘hard left’?

Paul Rosenberg in Alternet:

In my interview last week with political scientist Rachel Bitecofer, who predicted a 42-seat “blue wave” four months in advance, she also discussed the groundbreaking campaigns of Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke, even though neither was elected. Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, offered a curious response on Twitter: “Stacey Abrams and Beto ran liberal campaigns, not hard left campaigns.” As Bitecofer replied, “I don’t advocate hard left campaigns, that’s not what my research argues.” She later added that “my thesis IS the Beto/Abrams turnout model, not something else.” Ideology wasn’t the issue she focused on — mobilizing base voters was. Tanden’s response is both curious and troubling because literally no one argues for “hard left” campaigns. As retired intelligence analyst James Scaminaci tweeted in the ensuing conversation: “Hard Left” is Marxists, Marxist-Leninist, Trotskyists, Leninists, Stalinists, Maoists, Spartacus League, Guevaras. Bernie, AOC, DSA, Warren, FDR ain’t “hard left.” If you use “HL,” you are grossly misinformed about left-wing politics. You might have missed the Cold War.”

In short, “hard left” is a bogeyman term so far as American politics is concerned — one meant to put Democrats constantly on the defensive, either cowering or fighting with each other. It recalls the worst days of McCarthyism. Which is why I responded: Repeating right-wing frames is a no-no. It’s as simple as that. Tanden’s hardly the only one to do this, but she’s the president of the Center for American Progress, and closely associated with the leadership of the Democratic Party. CAP’s Think Progress blog has caught right-wingers using this attack phrase for years — like this entry, noting Newt Gingrich using it to smear legendary PBS journalist Bill Moyers. Tanden should know better. Not in spite of being a close ally and longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton, but because of it. After all, the right-wing media has used the “hard left” label to attack Clinton since August 1992, when the American Spectator ran a tone-setting attack story: “The Lady Macbeth of Little Rock: Hillary Clinton’s hard-left past and present.”

More here.