I was reading a newspaper article from WashingtonPost.com and saw the following phrase: get to the left of.

“That’s what you do when you run for president,” said Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. “You get out front knowing that there are a whole lot of people who are not going to let anyone get to the left of them.”

Can somebody please explain its meaning to me?

I've been looking on the Internet for this phrase and found various instances of its use.

I think it might be synonymous with "to get rid of", "to oust", "to go back to the source/cause" or a phrase used in left-wing politics, depending on context. But I am only making wild guesses.

  • "Get to the left" could also refer to the left being the passing lane. I suspect it does refer to left-wing politics and being more left wing than other candidates. – Minnow Dec 29 '14 at 0:24
  • Yeah, a bit ambiguous. The meaning would likely be clearer with more context, but it could mean not allowing anyone to appear more liberal than you are, or it could be an auto racing metaphor meaning you're not going to let anyone pass you along the rail (not that I've ever heard such a metaphor, and if such exists it would be more likely to be familiar to the right-wing NASCAR audience). – Hot Licks Dec 29 '14 at 1:05
  • Let me see ... D-Va means he's a Democrat, and Democrats are to the left of Republicans (but still w-a-y right of center), and Democrats and Republicans are politicians. And you found that it's a phase used in left-wing politics. What's the problem? – andy256 Jan 11 '15 at 4:14
  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about connecting the dots. – andy256 Jan 11 '15 at 4:15

As this is a Democrat speaking, this would indicate "left-leaning" politics and with a Democrat as a President, the President in candidate mode has to appeal to enough voters to get enough votes, while realizing the partisan nature of his party has candidates that may lean further "to the left" of a moderate-as-candidate. This might mean that, as an example, someone might consider abortion as always allowable, even up to seconds before live birth, and possibly within an argument at just beyond birth. This would be a "left" topic, or "universal health care" but as provided by Affordable Care Act not far "left" enough as "single payer".


I would interpret this to mean not letting anyone get the inside lane. i.e. You get out in front and then hug the inside, so that no one can pass you.

I do not think that this phrase has anything to do with political leaning, left or right. It's just a matter of staying in front of ALL other contenders.

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