Reality Check?? CNN’s Avlon Tries to Paint Dems as Moderate, GOP as Extreme

News & Politics

On Tuesday’s New Day show, CNN analyst John Avlon devoted a “Realty Check” segment to arguing that Republican members of Congress are more extreme than Democrats, and downplayed the influence of self-described “progressive” liberals on the Democratic party.

As he cited examples to highlight progressive failures at grabbing more seats in Congress, he tried to pass off two Democrats as moderates even though they are members of the House Progressive Caucus, and dd not inform viewers that almost half the House Democrats are members of this far-left group.

Avlon — who once wrote a book titled Wingnuts — began the segment by asserting that the far left and far right use one another as foils to rally their base before then downplaying the Democratic party’s left-wing base:

The fact is that the far left and the far right do not remotely have the same political strength in their parties, and this year’s primaries provide the receipts. Now, this cycle, we’ve seen plenty of evidence that Trump’s election lies are the GOP’s litmus test. One recent analysis by the Washington Post found that 39 election deniers won their House primaries, and that’s just in six key swing states. By comparison, the far left is falling far short. The so-called Squad may play a starring role in Republican attack ads, but they’re more famous than powerful.

Then, as if whether one openly uses the words “defund the police” were the only indication of far-left activism, Avlon further recalled: “By my count, there are just seven House Democrats who officially support defunding the police, but 147 Republicans voted to overturn the election after the attack on our Capitol.”

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He then moved to citing polling by Pew Research that finds that only a small portion of Americans identify themselves as “progressive” as the liberal CNN analyst added:

Now, extremes are usually louder than they are large, and get this: Just 12 percent of Democrats and Dem-leaning independents describe themselves as members of the progressive left — that’s according to a 2021 survey by Pew. Which translates to around seven percent of registered voters. The mainstream of Democratic voters and party leadership is decidedly on the center left, not the far left. Remember, that’s how Joe Biden won the 2020 nomination — by ignoring the social media distortion field and instead appearing to actual Democratic primary voters who tend to be older, more moderate and more working class than Twitter filibusters would suggest.

Avlon did not mention that, out of 220 members of the House of Representatives who are Democrats, 100 are actually members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. That’s 44 percent of House Democrats who are part of a self-described “progressive” group. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also used to be a member of the progressive caucus before she was elected to her party’s leadership 20 years ago.

Avlon went on to list a number of examples of far-left progressive Democrats losing to less liberal Democrats in primaries, but he also misleadingly counted as moderates two members of the progressive caucus — Shontel Brown of Ohio and Danny Davis of Illinois — who defeated challengers who were further to the left than they are.

This liberal spin by CNN was sponsored in party by Sling TV. Their contact information is linked.

Transcript follows:

CNN’s New Day

August 30, 2022

8:49 a.m. Eastern

JOHN AVLON: So there’s a feedback loop between the far left and the far right that’s often used to justify the other’s rise, and because politics is perception, Americans see both parties as similarly extreme. But, to a large extent, this is a fight in a hall of mirrors — all partisan distortion driven by emotion. The fact is that the far left and the far right do not remotely have the same political strength in their parties, and this year’s primaries provide the receipts.

Now, this cycle, we’ve seen plenty of evidence that Trump’s election lies are the GOP’s litmus test. One recent analysis by the Washington Post found that 39 election deniers won their House primaries, and that’s just in six key swing states. By comparison, the far left is falling far short. The so-called Squad may play a starring role in Republican attack ads, but they’re more famous than powerful. By my count, there are just seven House Democrats who officially support defunding the police, but 147 Republicans voted to overturn the election after the attack on our Capitol.

Now, extremes are usually louder than they are large, and get this: Just 12 percent of Democrats and Dem-leaning independents describe themselves as members of the progressive left — that’s according to a 2021 survey by Pew. Which translates to around seven percent of registered voters. The mainstream of Democratic voters and party leadership is decidedly on the center left, not the far left. Remember, that’s how Joe Biden won the 2020 nomination — by ignoring the social media distortion field and instead appearing to actual Democratic primary voters who tend to be older, more moderate and more working class than Twitter filibusters would suggest.

Now that the 2022 House primaries we’ve got a new metric, so let’s dig into the data. Now, in New York’s 17th district, Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez endorsed progressive State Senator Alessandra Biaggi and challenge Congressman Sean Patrck Maloney, head of the DCCC. But Biaggi lost big time, 2-1. So too with Max Rose — a moderate military veteran and former congressman from Staten island who easily outpolled a progressive primary challenger.

Of course, it’s not just a New York thing. For example, in Michigan’s 11th district, Dem Rep Haley Stevens beat the more progressive Representative Andy Levin. in Ohio, progressive firebrand and former State Senator Nina Turner lost a rematch against the more moderate Congresswoman Shontel Brown. in North Carolina’s 1st district, State Senator Don Davis — former mayor, military veteran and pastor — defeated a primary candidate who tried to run to his left. in Illinois 7th, a much-hyped generational  rematch fell flat after community organizer Tina Collins lost to incumbent Danny Davis by around seven points — which was admittedly better than the 45-pont trouncing she took two years ago.

While in Texas, the last remaining anti-abortion Democrat in the House, Henry Cuellar, narrowly defeated a progressive challenge from Jessica Cisneros. But here’s a really surprising national stat. According to Brookings, only 34 percent of the nearly 500 Democrats who have run for House or Senate this cycle called themselves “progressive” while only about a quarter running on positions like defunding the police or the Green New Deal while less than two percent identify as “Democratic socialists” like AOC and Bernie Sanders.

(…)

But, bottom line, progressives have more cultural influence than political power right now. And so, despite all the noise about the far left taking over the Democratic party, the 2022 primary results show that’s not rooted in realty. And if you’re still trying to get your head around what’s happening, just listen to the Ragin’ Cajun, James Carville. “What’s going on,” he said, “is simply that the Democrats who actually vote are significantly more pragmatic than the Democrats who talk. And that’s your “Reality Check.”

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