Influential Centrist Groups Threaten Progressive Politics

America’s most progressive cities set the stage for centrist challengers to amplify an ideological divide.

What’s happening: Progressive Democrats are facing waves of challenges from centrist opposition in critical cities, exposing a deepening schism between the Left’s progressive and moderate membership.

Centrists target progressive cities: Influential centrist organizations aim to undermine the extreme politics of one of America’s most progressive cities – San Francisco – by coordinating the election of moderately aligned candidates who prioritize law and order, lower taxes, and decreased bureaucracy.

  • Ghost challengers: New York City is of key concern for progressives, who voiced a need to challenge incumbent mayor Eric Adams – a purported moderate – with a more openly leftist candidate, though one has yet to be found.

Widespread donor support: The trend is not limited to San Francisco and NYC. An infusion of financial support for moderates tips the balance in the 2024 primaries, after third-party group No Labels raised $21 million in 2022 and has already qualified for inclusion on ballots in 12 states.

  • Zoom out: According to a Gallup poll, 63 percent of American adults recognize the need for a third major political party.

Why it matters: Across the country, progressive politicians known for extreme ideological commitments — like “The Squad” — have jeopardized their standing within an increasingly divided Democrat Party.

  • A historical blueprint: In the 1960s, a similar wave of “New Left” radicals exercised influence over mainstream Democrat stances, provoking failed reform that ultimately birthed the Reagan era.

A long time coming: Many voters in progressive-controlled cities are frustrated by the “limousine politics” of an elite class that’s out of touch with normal Americans.