Professor McDaniel: Gov. Newsom Leads California Democratic Party to 'Muscular Liberalism'

Friday, January 11, 2019

THE GUARDIAN (LONDON) -- Some are already speculating that Newsom may be the most progressive governor in state history. But Jason McDaniel, a political scientist at San Francisco State University, said he sees Newsom’s push toward the left as less a personal evolution and more of one of the entire Democratic party.

“Gavin Newsom used to position himself as liberal but somewhat moderate and acceptable to independent voters, so to speak, but that’s not necessarily where the Democratic party’s energy is right now,” McDaniel said. “I think he recognizes that. I think that shows he’s understanding the evolution of the Democratic party.”

McDaniel said he believes the California Democratic party is entering into a era of “muscular liberalism.”

“It’s not just about defending existing programs and maintaining them,” he said. “It’s about establishing new programs and new services that are responsive to modern needs. Paid family leave for six months is an example of that. Extending healthcare benefits to undocumented immigrants — that idea would have been hugely controversial 10, 15 years ago and now that’s barely generating a ripple.”

This era of muscular liberalism was made possible, McDaniel said, in large part because of the state’s response to the longtime Republican rule of Congress. The flexing is only heightened now because of Trump.