intra-Democratic debate about whether to focus on or ignore what's popular

Lots of chatter in democratic circles about "popularism." That Democrats should think about which of their priorities are popular. Be loud about the popular ones. And downplay/softpeddle the unpopular ones. Arguments against it seem to be

(1) Most people are very apathetic and just go with what their network tells them is right. So you need to focus on getting your base enthusiastic so they can convert people

(2) Individual elections don't matter, indeed every dog will have a day in the sun. Instead what's important is creating programs or "structural change" that builds new constituencies and helps you in the future

I'm not sure if you're a party of technocratic government (2) is actually that good. If you're a social planner are you happy with social security + medicaid which are essentially flat taxes on labor income. And then a transfer to the richest generation of about 9% of GDP. I don't know if that's a win. And it doesn't really turn old people Democratic.

It seems like you want to make programs as unpermanent as possible. Both so you have the flexibility to do whatever technocrats think are right. And to keep the electorate voting for you rather than relying on the default that social security continues to exist