One Key to Victory: Stop the Perpetual Anger

I’ve never understood why so many progressives seem so angry. Perhaps it’s because I’m rarely angry myself. Anger doesn’t make things better for anyone but the angry person, and even that is rare, and almost never lasts.

In politics, anger is poisonous. It’s impossible to stress this enough; progressives cannot win without aligning ourselves with moderate voters, and almost no moderate voters are motivated by anger. In fact, they tend to be repulsed by displays of anger and tend to react to it with disgust. They can’t stand the right wing, mostly because their politics is repulsive, but also because they’re always angry about something. When we act much like the Republicans, always speaking negatively about everything, they react the same way, and more often than not, they stay home.That works for the current GOP; in fact, their main electoral strategy is to drive down turnout to make the votes from their “base”

What works for the right wing actually works against us.

That shouldn’t be surprising to most “political junkies,” right? Different people have different motivations. The moderates we need to attract to win elections don’t want to elect angry politicians, they want to elect competent politicians.  Moderate voters don’t care about the same issues, and they certainly don’t care what we think the issues should be. The goal of most voters, especially the moderates, is to elect people competent enough to know and understand the issues for them, and who will do something to fix them on their own, without bothering them with it. That is, after all, what a government is supposed to be about. It’s why they are called “representatives.” To moderate voters, politicians  in Washington or the state house should know more about the issues than voters, and address them. They have enough to worry about, just living life. They don’t need us piling on.

Put simply, the electorate only knows little bit about most issues because they pay politicians to care, so they don’t have to. They don’t need a bunch of know-it-all progressives telling them what the “real” issues are. Basically, all of the “concern,” the screaming and the overwrought histrionics do more to hurt the progressive cause than to make things better for the people we claim we care so much about. MOST voters want hope, and they don’t respond positively to fear. Who does?

You know, it’s funny. For eight years, these same folks — especially those in the professional left — chastised the Bush Administration for stoking fear in the American populace. And yet, that same subset of progressives try to do the same thing time after time. Think about the hysteria our side often tries to gin up.

The planet is doomed if everyone doesn’t believe in global warming or climate change, or whatever we’ll call it next week!

If we don’t ban all “assault weapons” immediately, will mean the end of us all!

Just this past week, I’ve been told by many progressives that cutting the SNAP (food stamp) program by 2% over five years will cause millions of people to starve to death!

Not everything is a crisis, and every issue that doesn’t go the way we want it to is destined to cause unimaginable gloom and doom, and create unbearable sorrow for everyone who isn’t rich. Stop looking at individual votes on every single bill that doesn’t go the way they want as a major tragedy. And stop whining because there’s no “public option” in Obamacare reform.

If you think I’m exaggerating, go peruse the progressive blogs. Good luck finding positive pieces in there. Good luck finding solutions to problems, or even positive strategies for winning. Instead, you’ll find “progressives” telling people why we can’t win. Citizens United! Gerrymandering! The party not in the White House can’t gain seats in off year elections!

I have one thing to say about that, folks. Barack Obama.

These so-called “progressives” specialize in telling us everything that’s wrong and how terrible every politician is, especially the Democrats and Obama. They really seem to despise Obama. That’s why it’s really hard to think of these folks as actual progressives.  They are certainly not politically astute. They treat both parties as if they’re the same, and actually say so every chance they get. The very concept of both parties being the same right now is absurd on its face, yet these political “experts” say it over and over, and their acolytes repeat it and attack anyone who points out that it’s not true.

To those of us who actually pay attention, Barack Obama could very well be the most brilliant politician of our day. The only difference between me and the professional left is that I live in the real world, where there are no messiahs or unicorns.But think about this; Obama got a black man elected president. Twice. He also got health insurance reform passed after a century of trying. He was handed the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, and despite the most obstructionist Republican Congress in history, he still managed to end the recession and move us forward, albeit more slowly than we would like.

But whether or not you think Obama’s the best in history, he’s still politically smarter than any pundit out there. Most of the professional left thought he had no chance to become president when he announced in 2007.  I know I didn’t. I thought he had a few years of seasoning before he was ready, and nearly everyone on the progressive side thought Hillary Clinton couldn’t be beaten for the Democratic nomination. Yet, Obama knew it was possible and got himself elected. Yet, you’ll sit there and trust the professional left over him? Based on what? Those people have never been right about anything, and they’re almost 100% negative. It’s not possible to win elections that way, and if you’re not into politics to make sure the best people win elections, you’re not really into politics. Obama won twice because he was positive. How could anyone think they sound smart because they trust the Monday morning quarterbacks in the professional left over this president? Progressives have been on the sidelines in the political process for 40 years now; how much longer do we have to lose before we figure out we’re doing something wrong? Our loudest voices tend to be politically tone deaf, yet a small but significant number of progressives drools over them as if they’re gods.

Get this straight. Our negativity and reliance on fear is killing the progressive movement and has been for years. Ask yourself this; if someone’s always yelling at you, do you listen more closely or tune them out? Answer honestly, and you’ll know why we keep losing elections. We have to attract voters, not repel them. Put down the negativity and stop trying to stoke fear. Being just like the right wing is not progressive, and it doesn’t work, politically. We have to have hope, and we have to push solutions. That’s how we win elections. And if you’re not in this to win elections, then stop calling yourself a “political junkie.” You’re not.

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One comment

  1. You are good and I agree with what you say about anger. It does extend beyond the political arena and one can open any newspaper and notice how many articles seem to say that someone became angry and committed an act of violence on another person. Civility is no longer a part of our conversations with each other.

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