Is it possible? Democrats actually standing up and fighting for progressive policies?
Paul Krugman takes a crack at why this might be the way of the electoral future:
Part of the answer is that Democrats, despite defeats in midterm elections, believe — rightly or wrongly — that the political wind is at their backs. Growing ethnic diversity is producing what should be a more favorable electorate; growing tolerance is turning social issues, once a source of Republican strength, into a Democratic advantage instead. Reagan was elected by a nation in which half the public still disapproved of interracial marriage; Mrs. Clinton is running to lead a nation in which 60 percent support same-sex marriage.
E.J. Dionne, Jr., focuses on Hillary Clinton's role in this new, muscular, progressive offensive:At the same time, Democrats seem finally to have taken on board something political scientists have been telling us for years: adopting “centrist” positions in an attempt to attract swing voters is a mug’s game, because such voters don’t exist. Most supposed independents are in fact strongly aligned with one party or the other, and the handful who aren’t are mainly just confused. So you might as well take a stand for what you believe in.
... Clinton is trying to forge a new consensus and is unashamed to pile up policy proposals: on family leave, child care, college affordability, incentives to employers for higher wages, immigration reform, clean energy and limits on the power of wealthy campaign donors.
Her platform is more progressive because the political center is in a different place in 2015 than it was in 1991 when Bill Clinton touted his “New Covenant.” Americans are more socially liberal now. The financial implosion of 2008 fostered a deep skepticism about Wall Street. Growing resentment of inequality, stagnating wages and blocked social mobility is justified not by ideology but by the often-bitter facts about contemporary capitalism.
Doubtless, we owe a lot to principled progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders for being the conscience of the party (i.e., "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party"). That their fight for progressive values has led the way for others to follow should not be lost in the discussion.