In an op-ed in the New York Times Thursday, Mark Penn and Andrew Stein argue that the “path back to power for the Democratic Party today, as it was in the 1990s, is unquestionably to move to the center and reject the siren calls of the left, whose policies and ideas have weakened the party.” Penn is the former chief strategist of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign and was a prominent advisor to President Bill Clinton. Stein is a former New York City Council president.
Their Democratic party credentials are not in question, and yet they all but call for an explicit repudiation of “Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and a host of well-funded groups [that] have embraced sharply leftist ideas” while acknowledging the “need to … adopt an agenda of renewed growth, greater protection for American workers and a return to fiscal responsibility.
Further, the op-ed makes a specific point of arguing that Democrats have lost voters due to an embrace of political correctness and large-scale efforts by the party to demean and diminish the role of religion in public life. Specifically, they argue Democrats need to support free speech on campus, and that their strong positions on issues like sanctuary cities and transgender bathrooms have cost them electorally. At times the op-ed reads as if they are encouraging Democrats to poach significant elements of Donald Trump's platform, urging Democrats in Congress to cooperate on infrastructure issues, bolster manufacturing, and get behind tough-on-crime measures.