Being Liberal Means Being a Democrat…

There’s no other choice…

Look, government is important to all of us. It is how we, as a society, manage to make society better and preserve our human rights. Strong government has been demonstrated to make us better as a people; it is how we all get together and do great things. Back before the government was strong, our economy went through a large depression about every decade. Consumers were ripped off on a daily basis and they were actually safer putting their money into a can and burying it in a backyard than putting it into a bank. Banks were risky and they had little to do with making the economy better.

Now, we regulate most of the financial services industry through the government. Through our government, we have been able to create a banking system that is forced to treat our money as if it’s our money, not theirs and there are actually repercussions if they lose it. Not only that, but we have created systems that make everyone better. For example, we have created a system that makes it possible for anyone who wants to and works hard to own a home and create wealth in other ways. As a nation, we invest in people and we invest in making the economy and society better.

Government is also important to making sure everyone’s rights are respected. Government is the key to making sure we honor our promise of equal rights for all, at least someday. The justice system is how we at least have the opportunity to occupy an equal playing field, especially in recent years.

We rely on government for a lot. This notion that Republicans like to push, that we are actually a nation of 320 million individuals who are each responsible for ourselves is just a crock of shit. We rely on each other. The computer I am typing this on was designed by the folks at a major computer manufacturer. The Internet is provided by millions of people who created a network of their own and connected it to other networks. While a lot of people like to brag on the car they own, the fact is, it was made in a factory by other people who are just trying to make a living. If they have kids who are too young for school, they depend on someone to care for their child so they can work, and we rely on the government to provide us with the ability to know whether they can be trusted. And let’s be clear; we all rely on law enforcement to keep us safe, Firefighters, EMTs and ER doctors to get us out of trouble when something bad happens. And let’s be real; we all rely on health insurance when we get sick or injured in an accident, which means, we rely on everyone else in that insurance pool to pay our bills. And everything is regulated by government because we know from experience that a lot of people won’t act in our best interests if they are not forced by the law to do so.

Government is extremely important to our lives. Millions of people rely on the government to help them through a tough time and we rely on the people we put into government to keep a lot of people honest, when they would otherwise try to screw us.

However, as important as government is, it did not create us, we created it. And we created it so that we would have the ultimate say in how our society works. In other words, WE THE PEOPLE have the ultimate say as to who serves in government and what it does on our behalf. WE DO. And when something screwy happens, we the people are responsible for it. That’s why it puzzles me when so many “political junkies” act as is some outside force elected Donald Trump president. To hear many of them tell it, some outside force came in and handed the election to our Orange Overlord.

Now, I do think the Russians may have had a hand in it. I think they created some shenanigans, to be sure. However, here’s the thing; turnout was the lowest it’s been in a presidential election year since… um… 2000. Hmmm… I seem to remember that something similar happened that year. What was it? Let me think… Oh, right! A Republican dumbass was elected because turnout was down and the entire professional left spent the election year telling us how horrible Al Gore was.

Sound familiar?

Look, like most of the others reading this blog, I am depressed as hell that Cheeto-lini will be inaugurated in a few weeks. It makes me sick, to be honest. But I’m not depressed over this election. I’m depressed by the fact that a large portion of the left side of the aisle – MY SIDE – keeps fucking things up. We have been losing elections for a long time precisely because a certain group of really loud lefties keeps fucking the progressive movement and they don’t seem to notice. How can they not notice?  I mean, only about a quarter of the electorate self-identifies as Republican. That gives us access to the other three-quarters and yet, we keep letting the one-quarter win. How is that possible? Well… um… I can tell you how we can flip the script.

The question is, do you want to hear it?

  • Nothing else we do as liberals as important as winning elections. Therefore, the people who are intent on using Occupy and like “movements” as to how we should move forward as liberals should be roundly ignored, unless there is a solid electoral component to the movement. It is impossible for a movement to succeed unless there is a strategy to make sure Democrats win elections.
  • Yes, I said Democrats. Like it or not, there are two major parties in this country. TWO. And right now, while the Democratic Party may not be as perfect as you’d like, the Republican Party has gone completely radical right. If this year doesn’t prove that, I’m not sure what could prove it to you. You have to support Democrats. Period. We haven’t had the luxury of a protest vote for almost 50 years.
  • Might there be a third party someday? Sure, if someone decides to get serious about making one. However, a third political party can’t be created from the top down. You can’t start with president, you have to start with school boards and county and town councils and work your way up. Right now, there are 134 registered “third parties” in this country. If it’s possible to make one viable, you’d better do something different than the others, right?
  • Stop claiming both parties are the same. It’s a lie and it makes people stay home.  People staying home is why we keep losing.
  • Join the real world and stop fantasizing about perfection. No one in history has ever been perfect. FDR did a lot economically, but he also tried to pack the court and he rejected Keynesian economic until we got into World War II. And FDR and LBJ had Democratic supermajorities to get things done. Oh, yeah, and most states had Democratic majorities in their governments, too.
  • Learn which issues actually matter to people and learn which problems they worry about every day. No one actually votes against their interest and, truth be told, the people with “low information” are usually on the professional left. Also, the “white working class” is not a thing. And they have never voted liberal. They’re now Republican and before that, they were Dixiecrats. Learn some history. What some pro lefties have decided are the “white working class” are what most of us call “rednecks” and they’ve been solidly Republican for almost 50 years.

That will get us started. Professional left rhetoric killed us this year, not the Russians. If the pro left had told the truth more often, the Russians wouldn’t have been able to steal the election. Hillary Clinton is not dishonest; she’s more honest than most politicians, if you would bother to look. Just as importantly, no one stole the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders wasn’t a savior and it really does matter which party occupies every political office in this country. Democrats can be talked to and they try to do the right thing for the poor and middle class. Republicans are ideologically rigid, they don’t actually listen to anyone and they don’t care about the poor and middle class.

You are not smarter by being “non-partisan.” If you think that’s even possible these days, what the fuck is wrong with you? If you are liberal or progressive and you are not 100% in favor of the Democratic Party, you’re an idiot. And I only say that because the only other choice is the GOP, and the GOP doesn’t care about anything you claim to care about. At all.


Being Liberal Means Being a Democrat… — 8 Comments

  1. blame it all on Bernie Sanders is the one that divided the Democratic party with his need to tear down the democratic party and smeared Hillary did the damage. Now it will take years to come back, and hopefully without Bernie

    • Oh, stop it. Bernie Sanders is one man, one vote and he worked hard for Hillary and Democrats when it mattered. There is nothing to be gained by blaming him any more than anyone else.

  2. Very good post Mr. Shook. You have expressed exactly my concerns regarding the “purity” Left. Many are not able to move past the primary and instead of focusing on our current situation, they continue to post diaries and comments about how terrible Hillary Clinton is. Enough already. I read an article from The Hill from the beginning of December that clearly showed that in WI and MI the difference between Donald Trump’s lead over Hillary Clinton was less than the number of votes for Jill Stein. This is extremely depressing. I am beginning to wonder if perhaps the Democratic Party has been infiltrated by the Right and this is a very clever way of destroying the Party from within. I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory but those on the Left who hate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party do so with the same intensity as those on the Right. Reasoning with these people is impossible. At any rate, thank you once again for your sensible column. I think we are truly witnessing the beginning of the complete decline of our country and it is not going to be pretty.

  3. I would love to see three or four healthy parties in the U.S., but liberals and progressives truly cannot afford to be divided in fighting against the GOP. Not only are third and fourth parties an impossible pipe dream right now, but we may currently be in danger of becoming a one-party system if we don’t get our act together, yesterday. We cannot afford impossible standards of perfection in Democratic candidates. We cannot afford not to throw ourselves wholeheartedly behind the winner of a Democratic primary (even blue dogs), no matter what our level of personal disappointment may be that the other candidate didn’t win.

    I also believe we need to fight, tooth and nail, against the Republican “patriot” brand. No true patriot could have voted for Donald Trump. Gods, guns, and “Proud to Be an American” bumper stickers are meaningless branding. Sticking up for our constitution, our freedoms, and our people is patriotism.

    We have to support Democrats, no matter how centrist, and get them into local government, and we have to do it by the 2020 census. We definitely cannot afford to allow the GOP to control congressional redistricting again.

    • Three or four healthy parties is a mathematical impossibility in our system. With three, the GOP would just need 40% to dominate. With 4, they could dominate with 33%. Any third party would still have to work hand in hand with Dems. There would be no choice. We don’t need another party, anyway, since we can change the ones we have any way we want.

      • I agree that it is currently true that it is a mathematical possibility. And I think I was definitely agreeing that in the current environment, it’s essential to vote for Democrats and support the two-party system we have. In the impossible pipe dream, obviously at least one of the parties would be a “conservative” party that would siphon votes from the GOP. But for now, I will continue to speak out for and vote for Democrats of all stripes.

        However, changing the parties we have any way “we” want, isn’t entirely realistic, either. There are vast differences of opinion within the two parties about what we want. I, personally, want liberals to stop justifying fat-shaming by concern trolling about the extremely overhyped “obesity epidemic.” Laws about the maximum size of soft drink people can buy aren’t something I want. I also think anti-smoking laws have gone plenty far enough, at this point, and taxes on tobacco products are currently among the most punitive poor taxes in our system. The only party that actually seems to mostly agree with me on such issues is the putrid Libertarian party. But none of these opinions change the fact that Democrats are most definitely what I need. And I can be quiet about such misgivings. Democrats must win.