Okay this is more theory than nuts and bolts, but it's something that is repeatedly occurring to me as the face of the Democratic Party becomes more progressive. I think there could be a very important difference between "push" progressives and "pull" progressives, and it could even impact the voting behavior of Independents. First, I need to delineate the term "progressive." It has come to mean, in major part, a set of political positions that is in some ways opposed to the "mainstream liberal" or "moderate." Those sorts of definitions would cloud this discussion, so I'd like to avoid them. Progressiveness is a position of advocacy for reform. Progressiveness can also consist of a xenophobic brand of racist anti-immigrant sentiment that exists right alongside pro-suffrage positions, which is anachronistic as hell yet a very important period of U.S. history. But today, progressiveness is exclusively a liberal movement, so the best definition to use today is that a "progressive" is a liberal advocating for reform. The "Pull" Progressive Because this is an idea I don't have fleshed out, I'm keeping it simple. Please feel free to kick my ass if I'm out of line. The Pull Progressive is the one who drags you, kicking and screaming, toward the reforms that they feel are required by their political and moral beliefs. I say "kicking and screaming" which is not a fair evaluation, but is an effective image. They generally place more importance on the acquisition of political power, which will allow them to pass their proposals (Mitch McConnell would be a "pull conservative" by comparison). The Pull Progressive begins at a position based on values like "healthcare is a basic human right" and seeks to instill that value in you, overcoming your hesitation with the force of good morals. The fact that healthcare costs are out of control justifies the value that healthcare is a basic human right that should be administered by the government. The Pull Progressive is more likely to demand a switch to UHC. I choose healthcare for this example because I agree with that "pull" value, and since I am arguing against Pull Progressives, I want the example to be against my interests. The "Push" Progressive The Push Progressive is the one who progresses with the electorate, in a more literal sense, toward reform. They generally start with values that are more politically neutral, look at results and analyze options, and try to push you toward the solution they favor. They place more importance on consensus and bipartisanship, so that less raw political power is required to effect change. Instead, political power is more of a currency. The Pull Progressive begins at a position that the state of American healthcare is insufficient, and convinces you that the government must become more involved by pointing to public opinion and the failure of capitalism to control drug prices. The fact that healthcare costs are out of control justifies the departure from the status quo. The Push Progressive is more likely to expand Medicare to the public option and/or try to salvage the ACA. My intuition is that Independents (who lean a bit right in the U.S. today) are going to be more receptive to the Push Progressive than the Pull Progressive. They will feel as if they are being dragged, kicking and screaming, if the Pull Progressive gets his way. This is independent of any actual results that the Push or Pull Progressive might achieve. This is about the political approach in light of American attitudes and values. The Push Progressive is something closer to a political ally, somebody closer to the "centrist" team (not necessarily centrist but the word will suffice for this discussion). Something working against this idea is that the Push Progressive is more reliant on data, on science and studies, and American Independent voters are not always the most receptive to facts and analysis, as they are skeptical of knowledge. The Pull Progressive is more reliant on values-based persuasion, which is something that American voters seem to respond to. On balance, I like a Push Progressive who is a skilled enough orator to appeal to values while making the case for progress from the center (rather than progress initiated from the wing), but the cost of this in terms of airtime, concision in messaging, and the appearance of consistency makes this a difficult tightrope-walk requiring a full range of political skills. I guess calling for a perfect politician is a big ask. But if I have to choose between the two styles of progressiveness, I choose the Push Progressive because on average, he is using harder analysis, coming from a place that is more relatable to the political center of the country, and can effect more change. This approach might also reduce the variance of political gains and losses, making the country less swingy and more stable, though that is not necessarily true. What is your impression? Is this a fair distinction to make, and does it make sense or even matter? In any case, I think it's a good thing to think about.