One of the reasons white progressives have been relegated to also-ran status in the body politic of the United States over the past 30-40 years is based on assumptions we tend to make about the electorate. One of those key assumptions is that we are being stopped from success by the fact that most people who live in “red states” will never vote for a Democrat. This, despite the fact that all “red states” were once blue states and had majority Democratic legislatures, Democratic governors, Democratic Senators and sent Democrats to the House.
This is just faulty thinking, and it has infected our thinking for so long, we can’t even consider winning in many states and districts. And it’s a key reason we lose most of the time in so many regions of the country. For instance, it’s one main reason Bernie Sanders loses so badly in the Democratic primary. On Super Tuesday 2016, Hillary Clinton absolutely cleaned Bernie’s clock, winning some primaries with upwards of 80 percent of the vote, but the “Bernie or bust” people dismissed those states, calling them “the old Confederacy” and dismissing those primary wins because Democrats had “no chance” of winning them in the General Election.
It’s this attitude that marks our doom. The loudest and most vocal white liberals thin they’re smarter about politics than everyone else, which means they think they can predict everything. The problem is, they seem to have no concept of how voters think. Their predictions are based solely on assumptions; assumptions that no one likes us, so there is nothing we can do electorally in more than half the states in the union.
These Unicorn Progressives think the only way we can win the democracy is to write off half the voters and tell everyone else how smart we are; that we can fix every problem by sheer willpower. We don’t try to understand them because our loudest contingent doesn’t think we can do so. The reason the Bernie faithful will always lose is because they’re in a distinct minority and because they write off everyone who isn’t a true believer. When they wrote off “the old Confederacy” in 2016, after Hillary Clinton received far more votes than Bernie is because they’re politically inane. Hillary Clinton won by a large vote margin because she appealed to Black voters, many of whom live in and love their states, regardless of the majority.
You see, this is why Black voters don’t really like most white liberals/progressives; white libs are too quick to relegate Black voters to the fringes, and to feel sorry for them for having to live in Red States. It doesn’t even occur to many white liberals that the reason so many Black voters are “forced” to live in, say, Alabama, is because so many white liberals abandon them because the Democrats choose candidates who are “not progressive enough,” so they cast their vote for a “third party” or “independent” with no chance to win. This, to the modern unicorn progressive, is their version of “sending a message” and it’s both wrong-headed and downright creepy. Since when does voting for someone without a chance of winning constitute “sending a message” to anyone? The only candidate who gets to make policy is the one who wins, so what message is being sent by the candidate who comes in a distant fourth? And meanwhile, the poor people and minorities we supposedly care most about get screwed by the Republican Right Wing candidate who wins and gets to impose his will on the electorate.
We can win in red states and districts every time. The idea that we can’t win and have to write them off is ridiculous and offensive. We have to do two things, and we can turn most of the country deep blue.
First of all, we have to highlight the actual record of the Republican Party. That should be easy, even on economic grounds. Red states tend to be very poor and pay far less to workers. They tend to ignore regulations designed to keep workers and people safe and secure. When it comes to running the entire country, look at their results. In the last 80 years, you won’t find a recession that was not caused by Republicans, and every single recovery was led by a Democrat. The last two recessions – the Bush recession and the current Trump recession – were caused by a combination of incompetence and Republican policies that put the needs f the extremely rich ahead of the needs of everyone else. They also place tax cuts ahead of every other policy, although their tax cuts always benefit the extremely rich, to the detriment of the average American taxpayer. That’s why Republicans always leave behind huge deficits for our grandchildren to clean up later. And their hatred of regulation and government responsibility is why they have completely punted the coronavirus pandemic response, and left the economy in shambles.
The other thing we have to do is to understand that having more than two viable political parties is impossible. Two viable parties is the best we can hope for in a winner-take-all system, which is what we have. Voting for an “independent” or a “third party” candidate is a waste of your vote in the vast majority of elections because there are only two viable political parties. Voting for someone who can’t win is a function of ego and nothing more. We may be able to make a current third party into a second viable party, but it will take many election cycles
We can win all 50 states, as long as we have a sense of political reality. Even the reddest state has a lot of liberals and minorities who are naturally inclined to agree with us.
The Trump Administration is making a huge mistake by treating California as an enemy wasteland because they feel as if Trump will never win it, because California also has more Republicans than any other state in the union. Let’s not make the same mistake, by writing off all “red states” because we think we can’t win. We can, and it’s not even that difficult.