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As one Republican after another announces a run for the party’s nomination, the GOP primary is swiftly becoming the circus of wacko one-upmanship we’ve come to expect, with each candidate scrambling to appear more right wing than the last.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the board, progressives who aren’t even running for president have gradually drawn together around a shared set of principles, making highly visible efforts to influence the Democratic agenda. Call it the “magnetic left” — by capturing the spotlight and forcing the conversation, they’re gently nudging the party’s needle towards broad reforms.

So it was on Tuesday afternoon, when Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (both of whom have denied any interest in a presidential candidacy, this year at least), spoke back to back for a progressive doubleheader at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“Over and over, American workers have taken the brunt of bad trade deals,” Warren said, attacking the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, an issue on which she has loudly opposed President Obama.

She decried the fallacy of “trickle-down” economics, espoused most often by Republicans, but she also took aim at the complicit Democrats who have allowed these policies to take hold: “A lot of Democrats seem to have floated along with the idea that the economic growth is in direct opposition to strengthening the well-being of America’s families, and that we have to choose economic growth or our families. That claim is flatly wrong.”

De Blasio campaigned for mayor on a “tale of two cities” platform, evoking New York’s stark economic divisions. Now, by expanding that message to the national stage, he has become a leading figure in the campaign against income inequality (to the consternation of some of his constituents, who say they feel neglected).

Following Warren’s speech, the mayor unveiled what he has called The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality, a liberal answer to the Contract with America

“There needs to be not only new debate in this country,” de Blasio said, “but there needs to be a movement that will carry these ideas forward.”

That movement has plainly begun.

Video of Bill de Blasio announcing the progressive agenda, courtesy of AP:

Photo: Kevin Case via Flickr

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