The Last 21 Days

Here’s a little “inside baseball” for those of you who are really into politics. This is the most critical time in any election cycle; the last three weeks are absolutely when voters really assess what’s at stake and decide who to vote for. If we are going to have a wave election — and we need about 3-4 of them in a row — what we do and say in the last three weeks will determine how that will happen. This is when voters decide which candidates they think will do the best job while serving them in government. Just as critically, this is also when voters decide whether or not it’s worthwhile to even show up on Election Day. In every campaign in this country, staffers and surrogates will double down and work their asses off to get out the vote to the extent possible and to get people to vote for their team.

This final 21 days is critical for the progressive movement, as well. We need to create a Democratic wave this year and repeat it over the next 3-4 election cycles. No, we can’t hold out for the perfect Democratic candidates; if you haven’t figured it out yet, there is no such thing or, at least, the definition of “perfect” varies from district to district and state to state. Democratic nominations were made a while ago, through a democratic process and you have no choice but to accept those results. That means embracing the Democratic Party and its imperfections, if for no other reason than they’re not the Republican Party. There is no equivalence to be made between the two major parties at this point in time. In some ways, yes, the Democratic Party has moved to the right a little bit, but really, have they? Think about it; we got the New Deal, civil rights legislation, Social Security and Medicare when about a quarter of the Demoratic Party featured people like Lester Maddox, George Wallace, Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms. The reason Democrats got those things done was because they had complete control of the process and could count on some liberal Republicans to help them offset the opposition of the Dixiecrats. Now, all of the batshit crazies are on the Republican side. Sure, the Democratic Party has a lot of conservatives, but they tend to be sane conservatives who think the GOP is too crazy for them.

Republicans occupy most governor’s mansions. They are a majority in most state legislatures. And, of course, they run Congress. Of course, Hillary Clinton has to win; that should go without saying. Any self-described “progressive” who plans to vote for Jill Stein or (especially) Gary Johnson are dumber than posts. We have to get behind Hillary 100%. However, if you want that “revolution,” keeping the White House sure as hell isn’t enough. Democrats need to dominate all up and down the line. We, as progressives, have to make sure Republicans don’t have a chance to enact policy. The way to do that is to encourage turnout. Republicans are already looking at lower-than-usual turnout; this is our chance to make a statement as progressives.

No more trashing Hillary Clinton. Instead encourage people to show up at the polls by praising her as the only decent alternative, which just happens to be true. You can’t be serious if you’re even considering the other three. No more whining about “Blue Dogs.” The fact is, before the “Great Blue Dog Purge” of 2010-2014, most Blue Dogs voted with the Progressive Caucus at about a 90% clip. Their replacements, pretty much all Tea Party fanatics, have voted that way pretty much never. It’s hard to see anything progressive in those results. We have two major parties to deal with, not 12. The Democratic Party may be imperfect, but the GOP is downright evil. It is damned near impossible to think of a bad thing Democrats have ever done, really, whereas it’s far more difficult to think of anything good Republicans have done. I mean, what is the worst thing Democrats have done over the last 20 years and compare it to the GOP record.

I will be spending the last 21 days of this election season on this blog detailing all of the reasons why voting for Democrats is a net plus for progressives. I will also note why focusing on Trump alone is a stupid idea, politically.

You want Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Russ Feingold to have power of any kind? Great, then give them a Democratic Senate majority. Without it, they’re powerless. And yes, Majority Leader Schumer is more progressive than Majority Leader McConnell. I don’t know where some professional lefties got the idea that politics is a popularity contest akin to votes for prom king, but it doesn’t matter if you “like” someone. And if we can’t give Democrats 60 Senate seats this year, we can do it in 2018 and build massive momentum going into 2020 and 2022, when we count people and redraw districts. If you hate the very idea of Speaker Ryan, then goddammit, make Nancy Pelosi Speaker again. She was actually very effective. Tired of losing reproductive rights? Well, you should be paying attention because all of the worst laws that reduce them come from Republican states, so you know what to do there.

Progressives made great strides from 1933 to about 1970 because they worked WITH Democrats and made sure they always had a large majority. It’s time we did that again. For this last 21 days, make sure Democrats win everything. And then repeat that in 2018 and 2020, at least. You’ll be surprised at how progressive we become.

About Milt Shook

A writer with more than 45 years in the political game (and let's face it, it is a game). I am a liberal because facts have a liberal bias, and I really like facts. If you like facts, you'll like this blog. If not, you'll have a hard time.

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