I’m writing these series of articles about Theodore Roosevelt, because there’s been this debate inside of the Democratic Party (which now owns progressivism) about what is progressivism and what is a Progressive. At least since Barack Obama who is definitely a Progressive and was a Progressive President, during his presidency. A debate between Center-Left Democrats who the media and the hardcore Left if not Far-Left, would call Centrist Democrats. So-called Centrist Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Socialists in and outside of the Democratic Party who call themselves both Socialists as well as Progressives. People like Senator Bernie Sanders who just happens to be the only self-described Socialist Member of Congress, who is not the only Socialist Member of Congress.
So I’ve been writing this series to explain what is progressivism and exactly what Progressives believe in and what it means to be a Progressive. Not to go issue by issue and layout all the progressive positions on every single issues. But to give you an overall vision of what progressivism is and what it means to be a Progressive. To me at least Teddy Roosevelt meets every definition of what it means to be a Progressive. If he were alive and involved in American politics today, he would not just be a Democrat or at least an Independent, but a Progressive Democrat. He would be the Sherrod Brown of the Democratic Party today. Senator Brown who is a blue-collar Midwestern Progressive Democrat from Ohio, who has been in Congress since 1993. First elected to the House and is completing his second term in the Senate.
As I wrote before Teddy Roosevelt was a Progressive because he not just believed in progress, but also using government in a limited way to help create that progress. To use government as an investor (for lack of a better word) in American progress. To help build a society where everyone can succeed and make a good life for themselves and be able to live in freedom.
Socialists believe in progress as well, but they don’t believe in limited government at least as it relates to the economy. Progressives want to create a society where everyone can do well. Where everyone can get a good education, where everyone has a modern infrastructure system and can get around. Where people can work under safe working conditions and where commuter are protected from unsafe products. Where people can get immediate financial help when they go through hard times and can get help getting back on their feet.
Socialists have a much larger role for government especially the national government, whether you’re talking about Democratic Socialists like Senator Bernie Sanders, or Communists like Fidel Castro. (Its hard to name a famous American Communist Right now) And see the national government’s job as to provide basic human services that they believe that private sector can’t be trusted to provide the people well.
Teddy Roosevelt is to progressivism and Progressives, what Jack Kennedy is to Liberals and liberalism.. What Barry Goldwater is to Conservatives and conservatism. What Ron Paul is to Libertarians and libertarianism. What Bernie Sanders is to Democratic Socialists and democratic socialism. What Karl Marx is to Communists and communism. And unfortunately Donald Trump is to Nationalists and nationalism. The standard-bearers to their movements and politics. And I would argue today that progressivism is still alive and very well, but now resides as part of the Center-Left in the Democratic Party. Even with the growth of Socialists both Democratic and unfortunately Communistic at least, in the Democratic Party.