First, a question for progressives…
Aren’t you tired of losing ground?
The 2014 election was a disaster for progressives. I know, there were a few bright spots, like all of the “personhood” amendments going down in flames and a number of states increasing their minimum wage. However, overall, it was an unmitigated disaster. And while many on the left seem preternaturally disposed to finding someone else to blame someone or something else on it, we were absolutely at least partly to blame, with our side’s anti-Democratic Party and all-around negative rhetoric in full flower.
If this was a rare event, we could just shake it off and try again next time, but it’s not. In fact, over the past 40 years or more, it’s been a constant. We’re getting better in president years, but whatever gains we make then, we erase with the next midterm election. Only twice in the last 18 election cycles have we come away with Democratic control of Congress and the presidency. And let’s face it; there are two available choice in virtually every election, and Democrats are best of the two. Especially now.
We used to run the show. At one time, we aligned ourselves with the Democratic Party and got the New Deal, financial regulation, Social Security, Medicare, civil rights laws, environmental regulation, food and workplace safety legislation, Medicare and lots more. We were finally on the verge of becoming the nation the Founders envisioned.
These days, the loudest voices in progressive politics seem incapable of supporting the Democratic Party in general, and they demand ideological purity from the best candidates running for office. Because of this shift in strategy, since 1980 an increasingly radical right Republican Party has had far too much influence in the electorate, with Democrats in a functional minority. Despite this, progressive media types hold Democrats to a standard that is essentially impossible for a minority party, and their anti-Democratic rhetoric makes it more difficult for everyone involved. Progressives are seen as ineffective and unlikable, in part because our loudest voices tend to scream at people, instead of speaking to them. We’re no longer popular, and we can’t get anything done. And make no mistake; it’s largely our fault. While those who claim to speak for us demand perfection from everyone else, they demand nothing of the sort for themselves. In fact, they seem to have no idea how the system actually works, and they seem to neither notice nor care that we’ve been losing ground for nearly 40 years.
What do we do about this?