The first thing every progressive should know is, most voters are already preternaturally inclined to vote for the Democratic Party. We’ve known this since the 1930s. Since 1932, registered Democrats have outnumbered registered Republicans by a significant margin, even when there was a trend in which more and more voters registered independent and third party. That is why, even when Republicans turnout is 85-90%, they barely eke out a majority. There are just fewer of them. And that means, progressives should be kicking their asses. Instead, our loudest element blames everything on them and whines about their imperfection. Ridiculous.
The average voter isn’t batshit. Most voters want a decent job that doesn’t suck and they want to raise a family, live in a decent home, enjoy a vacation or two every year and just feel peaceful and content with life. They also (and this is important) have neither the time nor the inclination to follow the news and the politics all that closely. They may ask around a week or two before the primary they’re expected to vote in, and they may engage with a general election a few weeks before, but most of the time, they’re working and paying bills and living life.
Again, this is important. While you, the average “news junkie,” are enthralled with “politics” and you want at least a dozen more debates, the simple fact is, no one will watch them after the first few. The monster ratings for the first GOP debate, subtitled the “Donald Trump Show,” got 25 million viewers, and the Democratic debate received about 15 million, which means 90% of the population did not watch them. And mark my words, unless the election is whisper-close by March, when the sixth one is scheduled, that proportion will be up to 98%.
Most voters also don’t care about your favorite catch-phrases, like “income inequality,” “Wall Street” and the Koch Brothers. In fact, they don’t even care about most “issues” the way you do. They understand the importance of climate change, but they expect the government to do something about it and they have no desire to run around like Chicken Little, shouting, “The sky is falling.” And if you think about it, that’s rational, because running around like Chicken Little does absolutely nothing about climate change.
Their view of the electoral process is pedestrian; they don’t go onto Google and research every candidate’s view on the issues; they listen to what they hear through the grapevine. They get their impressions of the candidates from what they hear. And no, that does not mean “the media.” It means they listen to people they come in contact with and their enthusiasm about someone or their party, within reason; like most rational people, they won’t listen to anyone shouting to or at them.
Again, most people are inclined to vote for Democrats, and the reason is obvious, if you watched the debate last week; Democrats are serious and Republicans are running a clown show. However, who do you expect them to vote for when they already think Republicans are nuts, but the rhetoric from our side of the debate is telling them that some Democrats are just as bad, or claiming that the Democratic frontrunner and (later) nominee “isn’t a real Democrat”?
There are absolutely no similarities between the two major parties right now. And when I say none, I mean none. You can whine and cry about Blue Dogs all you want (by the way, that’s another meaningless identifier; most voters just hear “Democrat”), but the fact of the matter is, at its peak, the Blue Dog Caucus never worked in unison to prevent any Democratic legislation from getting to the floor of the House, which is what the “Freedom Caucus” is doing right now. In fact, with the Blue Dog caucus at its peak, House Democrats passed 375 bills that were defeated by a Republican minority in the Senate, and the loudest group on our side inexplicably trashed Democrats for two solid years. And FYI, of the 40 members of the Freedom Caucus, 35 of them defeated Blue Dogs. And every single defeated member of the Blue Dogs caucus was replaced by a teabagger. So, whenever I hear or read “Progressives” brag about defeating Blue Dogs, I wonder how progressive they really are. Every member of the Blue Dog Caucus voted with Democrats 80% of the time, save one, and he voted with them two-thirds of the time. Voting in teabaggers is not an improvement, it really isn’t.
The current incarnation of the GOP is the craziest and most dangerous political organization in the history of this nation. They engineered the near-destruction of our economy, and they not only block any and all attempts to create jobs and bring the economy all the way back, but they want to do it all over again. They want to kill Dodd-Frank, and they think it was great when millions of people had mortgages they couldn’t afford. They want to dismantle healthcare reform and return us to the system that would have crashed the economy had mortgages not done so first and they want to privatize Social Security and Medicare.
The current GOP bears no resemblance to the one we grew up with. As crazy as they were when Reagan was in, they are far nuttier now. They are obsessed with government spending to the point that they will cut everything except weapons systems that we will never actually use and they target the poor every chance they get. They also operate under the concept that government itself can do nothing right — not just this government, but any government — and they do everything they can to prove that. They continue to try to cut taxes, which is what is actually the one thing that would make the government responsible again.
And let’s be real; their “defense” posture seems to be to bomb anyone who looks at us funny or who says bad things about us. They want us to have the biggest baddest weapons available, and when I say “us,” I don’t just mean the military. They are still seething and milk the ((Republican-caused) 9/11 terrorist attacks, which killed almost 3,000 people, every chance they get, but they won’t spend the relative pittance necessary to help the families of 9/11 victims. And while there are, on average, more than 33,000 gun deaths every year (that would be roughly a half million since 9/11), we can’t even talk about measures that might lessen gun violence in this country.
The current incarnation of the Republican Party is nothing like the one that produced people like Nixon, Goldwater and Reagan. It’s not even close. The current leadership of the GOP is on a veritable crusade to cut taxes and spending to the bone, and to give the very rich person a free pass to live here and profit from us for free. They suck at everything to do with government, especially when it comes to money. They brag about their business acumen, but really, they don’t seem capable of adding 2+2, and their approach to government is anything but “balanced.”
The old GOP had a crazy element, which they called the “Taft Wing,” but since the Southern Strategy, and their recruitment of Dixiecrats into their midst, in addition to irrational conservatives, they also have extreme racists and xenophobes leading them around by the nose. They say such nasty things primarily because they are afraid not to. Since the 1992 election, the last one when Republicans turned out at less than 80 percent, their leadership has been scared to death of their nutty “base.” That’s why we’ve had the Klown Kar saying all this crazy shit the last several election cycles; they need to throw red meat to their “base,” regardless of their irrationality. Of course, the crazy talk has the added value of turning rational voters off from even showing up; something with which the far left has been far too helpful.
The current GOP is crazy, and they need to be stopped. But we can’t stop them if we don’t increase voter turnout in every election. They don’t win because they get so many votes and have such an amazing agenda; our side loses, because we keep pushing a false equivalence between the two parties. They hate the GOP, for good reason, and when our side claims a Democrat is as bad as any Republican, they don’t switch to the GOP, they just don’t show up. We have to make clear this election and for the next few, that the entire Republican agenda is poison for our system. It’s killing us, and not all that slowly.
Our side needs to stop going after Democrats who don’t see everything exactly the way they do, or encouraging people to vote for third parties, or voting for third parties themselves. At this point, it’s all hands on deck, and we have to be pro-Democrat for a while. I know it sucks for many of you, but it’s the only way to save this country.
There’s another side benefit, too, if you would bother to think about it.
The only way the GOP will become less batshit is if they keep losing. If they lose for a while, the rational Republicans who are still left will wrest control of the party from the crazy “base” and a lot of conservative Democrats will go back to their natural party and move Democrats left, which is what progressives want, anyway, right?