A Political Primer for White Liberal Millennials

Being Better Liberals
26

There is a touching connection going on between white millennial far lefties (whom I am told are the future! Yay!) and old white Hippie-type “progressives,” who are still convinced that they are political geniuses, despite the fact that their last “win” in the political arena was making the Vietnam War unpalatable to the politicians holding office at the time. The “old guard” of white liberal “Hippies” is teaching this group of white, far-left millennials everything they know, and it is killing the already moribund progressive movement.

As a public service, and to fulfill this blog’s mission of “cutting the crap,” I feel it my duty to correct the record about some of the stupid shit I hear from far left millennials on a daily basis. So, here I am. I’m sure you have heard this stuff from a millennial white “progressives” at one time or another, so please pass this on when you do. These are things anyone who would rather be progressive than simply call themselves one should know instinctively by now. They are in no particular order, but these are things that will bring “progress” to liberals and the “progressive movement.”

Stop deifying Bernie Sanders. He is only a politician, and he’s not even a good one.

I’m not sure where the “Bernie is God” idea came from, but it’s time to nip this one in the bud. Bernie is a good guy and yes, he is progressive. However, he’s a 75-year-old man who has been successful in a tiny white-dominated state and, quite literally, nowhere else. Stop sending around articles claiming Bernie is “the most popular politician in America,” because that is absurd. A healthy portion of the population doesn’t even know who Bernie Sanders is. Many think he’s basically Larry David. The reason his “unfavorable” ratings were lower than Hillary Clinton’s is because he had lower name recognition. Bernie is popular among white liberal “independents,” and just about no one else.

As for his political record, he is famous for saying shit you white “independents” want to hear. That doesn’t make him right, it doesn’t make him successful and it doesn’t make him special. And if you are delusional enough to think Bernie is a “leader” in the 2020 presidential race, you are fostering two very great delusions simultaneously. First of all, halfway through 2017 is not a good time to even consider what might happen in 2020. Right now, the only two things any actual liberal or progressive should be thinking about at the moment are getting rid of Trump, which means putting pressure on the GOP, and preparing for a Democratic wave in 2018. Bernie Sanders will be just short of his 80th birthday in January 2021, which likely disqualifies him from being elected in the first place. And in the meantime, you’d better hope he has a Democratic majority in the Senate, so that he can perhaps get some important bills passed, because to date, he’s passed almost nothing. Hillary got more done in 8 years in Congress than Sanders has in more than twice that much. But hey; he says all the right things, doesn’t he? And, obviously, you are into your own ego more than moving the country forward.

Stop using the word “populist” until you know what it means.

This is a key component of the hippie-millennial crossover event. If one more of these geniuses tells me who’s a “populist” and who isn’t, I’m going to scream. The definition of “populist” necessarily varies among demographic groups and among districts. The definition in Beverly Hills, California and Montgomery County, Maryland will be different than in rural counties in Missouri and Arkansas. And stop calling white politicians “populist,” while deriding Black politicians who are successful. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Hillary Clinton are all more populist than Bernie Sanders because those three have had to appeal to a wide cross-section of the population, whereas Bernie Sanders only has to appeal to white people to win.

And stop pretending you know what “most people think,” because you don’t. If you think the average American wants a $15 per hour minimum wage, “free college” and “single-payer,” you don’t just misunderstand the word, “populist,” but you’re not qualified to make the judgment in the first place. If you are completely “anti-corporation,” you have no clue how the world really works. Also, those poor people you claim to care so much about? They think you sound like an idiot.

Stop trashing Democrats and calling for “reform” of the Democratic Party.

The fact that you have particular stands on issues does not give you the credibility to demand anything of the Democratic Party. if you are a registered Democrat, great; we need you. Come to the local meetings and have input into what we stand for. But you had better be prepared because you will likely be outnumbered a lot of the time. I know I am. if you fear rejection, it might be tough. But that is how you change a political party. You do it from within. Registering as “independent” and shouting at the party to “earn your vote” is just pure arrogance and ego. Your vote exists so that you can participate as part of the democratic process. It’s not a tool to get everyone else to give you what you want.

There are TWO viable political parties in this country and one of them has gone way off the deep end. Democrats and Republicans used to be somewhat similar, but that hasn’t been the case for about 50 years now. In the late 1960s, Democrats jettisoned the far right and the Republicans welcomed them with open arms. Most of the actual conservatives – people who lean that way but aren’t racist and crazy, ended up “independent” or as Democrats. In other words, you have Democrats, who have jettisoned their worst elements and are less crazy than they used to be and you have Republicans, who have been taking in all of the strays from the old Democratic Party, to go along with the rich folks, who instigated the Great Depression and the Great Recession, but you think it’s the Democratic Party that needs “reform”?

Stop implying that Democrats and Republicans are alike. They’re not even close.

As noted, these white  millennial “independent progressives” are always on about all the faults of the Democratic Party, as if it should be perfect, somehow. However, what is worse is their constant insinuation that Democrats and Republicans are too much alike. This, despite the reality that exists. There is almost nothing similar between these two parties right now. None. When you claim they are “both” after the money, you are LYING. The money both parties get comes from completely different sources, as I have written about often on this blog. Whereas the top donors to Republicans are all major corporate interests, including some that are hopelessly corrupt, like big tobacco and the fossil fuel industries, the Democratic Party’s largest donors are labor unions, retirement groups, trial lawyers, healthcare delivery interests and academics. If you think anyone can win in a post-Citizens United world with only $27 donations from old ladies and Millennial idealists, think again. And here’s the fun part; you can’t reform the campaign finance system unless Democrats win. So, there’s the paradox; the campaign finance system needs to be changed, but as long as Republicans keep winning, that can’t happen.

The same is true of the healthcare system. Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act as the beginning of a reform of the healthcare financing system and, as Republicans have demonstrated, they want to go back to the old system, which was completely non-sustainable and actually killed people. And no, the issue is NOT “single-payer.” The issue is universal healthcare. Oh, sure, “Medicare for all” is a wonderful idea, if you can pull it off. However, it’s not the only possible solution and no reform will happen with Republicans in charge. You need Democrats to dominate the system, if you actually want to reform the healthcare financing system. So, why would you even imply that Democrats and Republicans are alike in any way? You want free college? With Democrats, there’s a shot because they have always increased access to college access and provided ways to pay for it. Democrats see education as an investment, while Republicans see everything as a cost. With the GOP in charge, tuitions go up and grants and scholarships have been cut sharply. Want a $15 minimum wage? Democrats have raised the minimum every time they’ve had the chance, whereas a majority of Republicans are against the very concept of “forcing” businesses to pay a living wage.

One LIE the Hippie-Millennial coalition tell repeatedly is that some Democrats are just as bad as Republicans. They refer to them as “Blue Dogs” and they have been targeting them for years now. The problem is, there is not a single Democrats who is as bad as the best Republican. Yesterday, someone started ragging on Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia who is running for reelection next year. Basically, they were telling me that Manchin votes with Republicans more than any other Democrat. That may be technically true, but it’s meaningless. You see, West Virginia has gone very red in recent decades, which means any Democrat from that state has to toe a very thin line in representing his state in Congress. Therefore, to expect Manchin to vote like Bernie is just fantasy. And while Manchin does vote with Republicans more than other Democrats, he still votes with Democrats more than 80 percent of the time. If Manchin is replaced next year, it will be that much harder for Bernie Sanders and other progressives in Congress to get anything done. And he will be replaced by a teabagger, who will vote with Republicans far more than Manchin. In what way is replacing someone who votes with Democrats 80 percent of the time with someone who votes with them 2 percent of the time “progress”? Please explain that.

Stop quoting ridiculous numbers of “independents” as if they’re all like you.

Another habit these white Hippies-Millennials have is in quoting me the “numbers” of “independents” in the country as “proof” that those who register independent matter more than… I’m not sure who.  Again, yesterday, I was told that Democrats should be kowtowing to “independents” because they are “43 percent” of all voters. First of all, no they’re not. The number is 35 percent, at most. (Source) And that number includes people who are registered with one of the 134 registered “third parties” in this country, which means it includes Greens, Libertarians, Communists, Socialists, and many others. That number also includes many people who refuse to belong to the Republican Party because it’s “too liberal.” In fact, much of the Trumper “base” is made up of “independents,” including white nationalists, Nazis and the like. That means, if you’re touting the total number of “independents” as a reason to not ignore you, you are actually holding up your 10-15 percent of the electorate, at most, as something of a ransom. Blackmail is not appealing, which is why you’re losing.

And let’s be real…

Unless you’re winning elections, you’re not fostering “progress.”

Let’s be real, Millenials. If you are glomming on to the far lefties who cut their teeth in the 1960s as your political mentors, you are seriously not interested in the progress that lies in the heart of the name you like to call yourself. I was born in 1958. When I was 10, someone thought it would be cute to have me stand in front of the Nixon-Agnew headquarters in my hometown of Arbutus and hand out bumper stickers and buttons while wearing a straw hat with “Nixon-Agnew” emblazoned on it. Four years later, I was hooked on politics and that drew my first mentor; a liberal Republican who was realizing that his species was endangered even then. I have always been a staunch liberal; I believe about 99 percent of what the staunchest Bernie Stans believe. The problem is, I also live in the real world. The Hippie-types, not so much. In 1968, with Republicans openly welcoming Dixiecrats and white supremacists into their fold, these assholes decided it would be a good idea to protest the Democratic Convention. they love to brag about how “they” ended the Vietnam War, but electing Nixon didn’t actually do that. Not only that, but it gave the Republicans a foot in the door, which they should never have. Republicans pushed us into the Great Depression and they have spent 80 years trying to kill the New Deal and every reform that came following World War II.

You millennials are too young to realize this, but before Reagan, Democrats dominated the political landscape. As a result of that, we built the greatest economic power in the history of the world, including the model for building a middle class that every other developed nation has followed ever since. The Democratic Party also led the civil rights movement, with an able assist from the liberals who used to be in the Republican Party, but who are all Democrats now. That hasn’t happened in a while because the “hippie” far lefties who are trying to mentor you white Millennial “progressives” have undermined them every way you can imagine. In the late 1960s, they didn’t think Ted Kennedy’s universal health plan was “progressive enough,” so they essentially opened the door to Nixon’s alternative, the dreaded “Health Maintenance Organization.” if you don’t know what that is, thank President Obama and Democrats for the ACA. Basically, insurance companies gave doctors and hospitals lump sums every year and they got to keep everything they didn’t spend on healthcare.

In 1972, they manipulated the system to run the worst Democratic candidate in history. I worked with McGovern’s campaign in 1972, but looking back, it was pure hell. In 1976, these same idiots drooled over Jerry Brown and refused to support Carter, which meant Carter barely beat Ford, a very weak GOP candidate. Four years later, they put all their efforts into getting Ted Kennedy elected and trashed Carter enough to elect Reagan. they keep repeating that trend. And their anti-Democtatic rhetoric has led to almost 50 years of really low turnout. Even after Barack Obama ran two stellar campaigns, they still haven’t gotten the hint. They keep killing the progressive movement by refusing to work to win elections. And it’s just a simple fact; if you never win, you’re not getting anything done.

Stop requiring a pinky ring, secret handshake and limited membership to be a “progressive.” 

If you truly believe that what you are saying is right, then stand by that. However, you must also be aware that you have to win elections, which means you have to get a majority of voters to agree with you. See, the thing is, these white Millenial “progressives” keep slapping labels on people in order to limit the membership of their group to as few people as possible. This is how we lose. Being a progressive isn’t special; everyone should be one. When you micro-manage who can be a progressive, you reduce the likelihood of ever being successful politically. Too often, you are acting on your white privilege. Get a clue; you make up about 5-10 percent of all liberals in this country. The other 90-95 percent of liberals are happily Democrats. If you think of yourself as the “Democratic base,” white Millennial “progressives,” you are delusional and acting entirely on ego. People of Color, especially Women of Color, vote almost exclusively for Democrats and they support Democrats strongly. Latinos (except for a smallish group in South Florida) vote strongly for Democrats and support them very strongly. LGBT people vote and support Democrats very strongly, as do recent immigrants.

THEY are all the “Democratic base,” not white Millennial “progressive” idealists. That’s because you don’t vote for or even support Democrats. You won’t join the Democratic Party, but you make demands of it incessantly and petulantly. That doesn’t make you a part of the “base.” That makes you arrogant and it means you value your white privilege over political activism and accomplishment.

 

In closing, I’d just like to ask, given that you claim to care about the poor, the working class and the middle class, why are you usually working against them? You don’t think you are, but they are all invested heavily in the Democratic Party. So why are you white, upper-middle class Millennial types undermining them by demanding that the Democratic Party cater to your whims? For that matter, why do you think your college education makes you better able to understand what they are going through than they? If you don’t mean to come across that way, then stop doing that.

Let’s end this with one simple piece of advice that has served me well in my 59 years.

Shut up and listen and stop thinking you know everything.

 


Also published on Medium.

Yet another Baby Boomer trying to blame our nation’s political problems on their favorite catch-all ‘millenial’ boogeyman. This is the world your generation bequeathed to us. How about you sit down and shut up while we try to clean up the mess you old folks made. You pretentious, condescending clown.

I generally find that the hippies etc. want to sit in the corner and throw rocks and expect someone else to do the heavy lifting of actually getting candidates elected. They expect everybody to cater to their demands, tote the load while they issue the orders. I say if you want to change the way things are get to work doing so and quit whining.

I don’t know who wrote this, but it’s arrogant as hell. I’ve been part of the Dem party and they continue to ignore (aka didn’t listen to) the membership. The power structure where the money is has directed the same milk toast candidates and platform that they only give lip service to. Candidates aren’t allowed to stick their necks out to achieve goals, certainly nothing that would rock the wants of the power at the top. If they’d spend less time asking for money and support an agenda that fights the interests if the few wealthy, that would be a great start. The Dem party has become a party of the wealthy, not the party of the people of this country. Why don’t we have single payer health care, why are we fighting the corporate world on climate change that is clearly a much bigger threat than North Korea or Afganistan, why are our children of color being shot or imprisoned, why don’t we have better schools investing in our children, and on and on? What happened to the Dems when they had the power to make a difference in people’s lives? Well?

@Julie

I don’t know how “[you]’ve been a part of the Dem party” (that is, how active you’ve been) or where you got the idea that the party ignores its members.

First, you are a Democrat if you vote for Democrats and if you vote in every single local, state and national election – that’s it. That’s all it takes for your voice to be heard. It’s not like AAA where you get a “membership” card.

Second, you are also a Democrat if you are an activist at the grass roots level – phone bank, canvass, GOTV etc as often as possible. I have phone banked and canvassed, passed out sample ballots at polling stations, etc for decades (I’m sixty). That is how you make your voice heard and make a difference.

Third, it is stuff and nonsense to say that the Democratic party has become the party of the wealthy – sure, some Democrats are wealthy, but I’m not nor are most of the Democrats I know. And certainly the vast majority of the nearly 66 million who voted for
Hillary aren’t wealthy. And so what if there are wealthy Democrats? I am happy that there are wealthy progressives that can donate $2700 (per election) to a candidate or more if they donate to local, state and national party organizations. Those donations support the grass roots on the ground efforts to elect progressive candidates.

Fourth, look around and you can see examples of where ordinary Democrats are making their voices heard. Yesterday, in Fairfax County, VA there was a special election for an at-large School Board seat. The weird date of the election was due to Republican shenanigans – they tried to sneak this election in under the radar so they’d win (when turnout is low they win). But something wonderful happened – turnout was expected to be around 4% – it was around 10%! The highly qualified Democrat (Karen Keys-Gamara) won 2 to 1 against a woefully unqualified Republican. This happened only because everyone was paying attention and 100s of grass roots volunteers made phone calls, passed out leaflets, wrote postcards. Why was this election important? Because that is how Republicans have managed to make inroads – they start at the local level, then to the state level and then the national level.

Finally, is your last question serious? Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, ACA and so on (this may seem like a crazy suggestion but you could probably google it). And for more recent history you can click on the link at the top of this blog “The Obama Legacy: Nearly 500 Accomplishments.”

I wrote this and yes, it’s probably a bit arrogant, but so is your response. I don’t talk about my personal experiences working inside the Democratic Party for two reasons; 1) it’s only my experience and 2) I really don’t work with the party that closely. However, when a candidate I work for needs something, the party is enormously responsive. They are also extremely responsive to their base, which consists of people who vote for and support them every time they run.

You make a few statements here that are just outright lies. The power structure only raises and distributes money. They don’t choose the candidates. Democratic voters choose the candidates and, if your candidate doesn’t do well, it’s because they’re not making their case to rank and file Democrats. I’m not sure what you mean by “the same (milquetoast) candidates and platform that they only give lip service to,” but I can tell you, if milquetoast candidates are running where you are, it’s because no one else can get enough votes to win.

This notion of “power at the top” is also absurd. There is none. If there was, Hillary Clinton would have won in 2008 and not Barack Obama. For that matter, Bill Bradley would have gotten the nomination in 1992, not Bill Clinton. The Democratic Party doesn’t have people at the top that thwart the will of the people. Bernie lost because very few Democrats chose to vote for him.

The Democratic Party being the party of the wealthy is just too stupid for words, especially since the wealthy support the GOP almost exclusively. Do Democrats ask for money? Sure. but their biggest supporters are labor, academics, trial lawyers, high tech, renewable energy, and retired people. About 80-85% of all financial services sector money goes to Republicans. Only Republicans have nominated a billionaire for president and approved billionaires for the Cabinet. IOW, that statement is a LIE. The Democratic Party is and always has been the party of the people.

Also, Democrats have led the way on climate change. Jimmy Carter and the Democrats in the late 1970s set up an energy saving system that was saving 5% per year until Ronald Reagan and the GOP killed it. During their only two two-year stints in control of the government, in 1993-1994 and 2009-2010, Democrats invested record amounts in the fight against fossil fuel dependency and President Obama negotiated and signed the Paris Accords.

Also, I can tell you’re white, because your worry about “children of color” is quite faux touching. Democrats always invest in schools and they instituted the CHiP program and they have been trying to put an end to the warehousing of poor people in the prison system.

Put simply, Democrats haven’t had much opportunity to get much done because people like your sorry ass trash them and make it harder for them to win. You lie and bullshit and make it sound as if there is a choice regarding which party to support.

You last question? The last time Democrats had the power to make a difference, they stopped a fucking depression, raised taxes on the rich and reduced them on the poor and they got the beginnings of a universal health insurance system started. They passed a series of fixes to prevent the economy from crashing again and made it so the next bailout will be paid by the financial system and not the taxpayers. And all of that was in two years because people just like you whined and complained and called them and President Obama a disappointment and caused the Democrats to lose power to the Republicans. So, forgive my arrogant ass when I say, YOU are the problem. YOU are the type of asshole this article discusses. Shut up and learn something. Your arrogance is greater than mine has ever been, since I don’t have to lie to make a point.

Just thank you! Thank you, Seasealya and Milt! Sorry I don’t have a lot more to add, but I so appreciate reading your thoughts here. It gives me hope. This problem of having to go up against people who have, essentially, all the same issues we all do on the left, but they drive a wedge right through the middle of the very thing we need to make the changes we want to see. Destruction of the Democratic party is extremely counterproductive. Your points need to be drilled into the heads of some of these dissenting voices. Thank you!

I’m trying, Mitch. I am just tired of our side losing. It is OBVIOUS that, to be progressive, we have to put everything into the Democratic Party, if for no other reason than the GOP is so awful. Every time one of us trashes Democrats, we help to nail the progressive coffin.

I agree, Julie. Arrogant and dismissive. We need someone left of center to counter the extreme right politics of the Republicans. When the opposite side is firmly entrenched up among the trees on the far Right bank of the river, having our side sitting in the middle of the stream on the slippery rocks and trying to pull them to meet us in the center (and also fighting the current) does not bode well.

Do you know what’s arrogant? You acting as if you know how politics works.

We need someone left of center… yes, yes we do. However, the Millennial “progressive independents” keep trashing Democrats because they’re not “far enough left.” Hillary wasn’t “progressive” enough. Cory Booker isn’t “progressive” enough. Kamala Harris isn’t “progressive” enough. The people I speak of in the article don’t care about “left of center.” They want so far left that most Americans won’t vote for them.

And that’s the problem. Your analogy to a river is really good, but you get it ass backward. If you have ever run a kayak, you know the ONLY place to be in in the center of the river. If you’re on the far left or far right, you’re in the shallowest water and most likely to smack against a tree or get stock on the rocks.

The vast majority of the American people are somewhere in the center. Probably about 80% of the electorate is “moderate.” Your vision of “balancing out” the right by just as far left actually acknowledges that the ideal place to be is in the center.

Politics is NOT about being correct. It is NOT about getting 100% of everything. It’s about finding as much compromise as you can find and still move in the right direction. People like the targets of this screed have been KILLING the progressive movement they claim to love so much because they understand politics as much as you do. You want progress? You have to win. And that means you have to get as many votes as possible. You will NEVER get those votes standing on the side and demanding that everyone come to you.

Tina – you came over to a blog that has the name “Please cut the crap.” What did you expect? At least Milt asks nicely. He asks “please.” Your appraisal sounds more like a poem you just read by Walt Whitman. I’m not quite sure how you got “dismissive” out of the overall message the author is conveying, because I got quite the opposite. I’d say if you really got the underlying message, it’s a call for us all to cut the crap and come together.

I also don’t mind being called “arrogant.” And I suppose “dismissive” is possible, since these people need to either join up with us to fight against the GOP or just go take up a new hobby. I’d rather have their energy working with us, but they don’t seem keen on that.

@Tina

” We need someone left of center to counter the extreme right politics of the Republicans.”

Well then, you are in luck!!! I am left of center. That is why I am a Democrat. That is why I always vote for, volunteer for and donate to Democratic candidates. The Democratic Party is the left of center party.

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