Sen. John Fetterman Rejects Progressive Label: 'That Left Me'

 June 6, 2024

Fetterman asserts that he no longer identifies as a progressive and has transitioned to a more mainstream Democratic stance.

In a recent interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., responded to progressive critics who have questioned his current political stance, asserting that he never left the progressive label; rather, the label left him. Fetterman stated:

I'm not a progressive, I just identified myself as a regular Democrat. Now, eight years ago, I was a progressive, but the situation's changed, and I‘ve been very clear that I didn’t leave that label. That label left me.

According to Fox News, Fetterman emphasized the need to focus on more pressing issues, such as the actions of former President Donald Trump, instead of engaging in internal party purity tests. This shift reflects Fetterman's evolving political priorities and the broader concerns he believes the Democratic Party should address.

Sen. John Fetterman Discusses Israel And Border Security

Fetterman's stance on Israel and border security has notably diverged from several of his party members. The senator has been a steadfast supporter of Israel and has voiced concerns over border security, which contrasts with the views of some progressive Democrats.

When asked by Bash to respond to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who accused President Biden of using "the same tools as Donald Trump" on border security, Fetterman defended the president's approach. "She's entitled to her own opinion," Fetterman said, "but it does also seem like some of the harshest words for the president in this situation seem to be more coming from very safe, and blue, very kinds of places. Now in Pennsylvania, border security is an important issue."

Fetterman articulated that it is reasonable for Democrats to support secure borders, emphasizing that such concerns should not be viewed as contrary to being pro-immigration.

Fetterman Faces Criticism From Both Sides

The senator's position on border security and Israel has made him a target for criticism from both progressive members of his party and the right. Fetterman expressed that both sides have been hoping for his political demise over these stances.

In a March interview with Fox News' Chad Pergram, Fetterman elaborated on his views regarding immigration and border security. He highlighted the significant number of encounters at the border, comparing it to the population of Pittsburgh to illustrate the scale of the issue.

Fetterman argued that advocating for a secure border is not incompatible with supporting immigration. "You can be very pro-immigration, but also demand and require that we have a secure border there as well," he said.

When you started just following the numbers that are coming again and then when you’ve reached 200,000 or 250,000 folks that are encountered at the border — I mean that’s astonishing. And then just putting that in the context of Pennsylvania. I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness. That’s nearly the size of Pittsburgh.’ And that’s our second-largest city.

Fetterman Encourages Democrats To Engage On Border Issue

In December 2023, Fetterman urged his fellow Democrats to engage more actively in discussions about border security. He called for a reasonable conversation on the issue, suggesting that concerns about the border are not inherently xenophobic.

"I hope Democrats can understand that it isn’t xenophobic to be concerned about the border," Fetterman told Politico. "It’s a reasonable conversation, and Democrats should engage." During his interview with Bash, Fetterman predicted that President Biden would win Pennsylvania again in 2024, although he acknowledged it would be a close race.


Sen. John Fetterman's recent statements highlight his shift away from the progressive label, focusing instead on mainstream Democratic values. His support for Israel and calls for secure borders have sparked criticism from various factions, yet he remains steadfast in his beliefs. Fetterman continues to advocate for a balanced approach to immigration, urging his party to engage in constructive dialogue on border security. As he looks ahead to the 2024 election, Fetterman is confident in President Biden's prospects in Pennsylvania despite anticipating a tight race.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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