We live in a democratic republic.
Again, I am always amazed that I have to write/say that out loud to so many self-described progressives, but apparently, I do. And what that means is, you can demand all sorts of nice things, but if the people occupying government don’t want to do it for you, it’s not happening. It doesn’t matter how right you think something is, if a majority of the government doesn’t want to do something, it won’t get done. What that means is, you can have the coolest “movement” in history, but if it has no electoral strategy, it is doomed to failure.
I bring this up – again – because there are a whole lot of progressives out there right now who apparently still haven’t figured out that electoral politics is the key to everything and they don’t seem to get that supporting Democrats in every election is an absolute necessity, if for no other reason than opposition to Republicans is currently the most important thing we can do, politically. There is so much talk about “organizing” and “developing a strategy,” but the reality that they need a partner and an electoral strategy hasn’t occurred to them. Several of the most prominent of the professional left have promised to create something that would (and this is a quote) “dwarf the Occupy movement.” Seriously, in order for that term to impress anyone, wouldn’t the Occupy movement have to be something significantly larger than a “dwarf movement” in the first place?
This is another example of a significant portion of the progressive movement, predominantly made up of relatively well-off white “liberals” who think they’re smarter than the actual progressives who live Republican policies, speaking to each other and trying to impress their own small circle, and leaving the vast majority of Americans high and dry. This segment of the “progressive” movement, which I call a “movement,” but which has been stalled for roughly a half-century, is at least as oblivious to reality as the average Trump voter, even though they imagine themselves as political geniuses. I mean, how oblivious do you have to be to believe the Occupy movement was somehow successful at something? I mean, if you’re going to model a new movement after them, wouldn’t it be wise to be able to articulate a series of accomplishments or contributions they made to the country? What were they, exactly?
This is what kills the progressive movement. I know you think an “Idiocracy” is nigh, but a key component of Idiocracy is a lack of an opposing force. A bunch of white liberals who think they know more than anyone about anything is only marginally better than right wingers who do the same. They’re white, single and/or childless, but they think they know more about what it takes to raise a family than a single mother with three kids trying to make it with our incredible shrinking “safety net.” They seem to think they can relate to being black or brown than black and brown people do and they belittle black and brown people when they try to instruct them. And they take credit for good and reject credit for the bad that has happened.
Let’s be crystal clear about something here. Far left liberals are responsible for placing too much government in the hands of a radicalized Republican Party that has been dismantling our society little by little since about 1972. Actually, I peg the end of the progressive movement at 1968, when Hippie assholes chose to start working against the Democratic Party and allowed Nixon to become President. Democrats had a lot of momentum heading into that, so they kept a supermajority for a few additional years, but since then, this small-but-loud group of (mostly white and mostly male) “progressives” have been working against the Democrats. Since 1980, Republicans have dominated government, and it shows. Not that unicorn progressives and their professional left handlers would ever notice. Their little clique is so insular, they don’t notice what’s happening in the real world.
Most liberals, like me and the readers of this blog, understand that there is literally no problem that can’t be lain at the feet of the Republican Party. Not a single one. Yet, their world is so insular, they don’t seem to notice the effect their anti-Democratic Party rhetoric has on the population at large. They are so enthralled at the idea of “revolution” that they don’t even realize that the tools for actual revolution are at their fingertips. It’s called a majority, and we have one. The Republican Party has been radicalized, but less than a quarter of the population identifies with the party at all. Moreover, only about half of those who identify as Republican are actually radicalized; the other half wants their party to return to the sanity they once had. What that should mean to liberals is that only about 12 percent of the population is running the country and all we have to do is rally enough of the three-quarters of the country who are not Republican to win every election.
THAT is how you get a revolution. You win so many seats at every level of government that you get to make policy going forward. Not only would that allow us to make laws going forward, but it would allow us to repeal and replace a lot of the laws and policies that the increasingly radical Republicans have put in place over the time we have neglected the politics. And yes, I mean neglected. If you spend a significant amount of your time trying to impress others with how “progressive” you are, or you spend any of your time labeling others are less progressive than you, you should know that you are part of the problem. If a bill that you dont like passes and you spend any time at all railing about the handful of Democrats who may have voted with the Republican majority, you are not demonstrating how smart you are. You are not demonstrating how “progressive” you are. You are actually demonstrating how utterly clueless you are.
Yes, that’s right; if you are one of those who constantly rails against “Blue Dogs” or “conservaDems,” you are flat clueless and you should be ashamed of yourself because you are a major part of keeping the progressive movement down. You are a major reason why this country seems stuck on stupid. If you constantly claim people are “voting against their interests” or you refer to those who don’t vote the way you want them to as “low-information” voters, you are definitely part of the problem.
Let’s make something clear here. NO ONE with an IQ above 20 votes against their interests. NO ONE. You may not understand their interests, but that doesn’t make them stupid. And if someone is actually “low information,” isn’t the solution to that MORE information? Shouldn’t we be providing them with more information? Since when has pointing at someone and calling them stupid ever worked to make anyone’s life better?
The answer is, it has never worked. However, it is beside the point, anyway. Too many so-called “progressives” pretend to have interest in politics, but their definition of “politics” seems to dismiss elections as somehow unimportant. They imagine hitting everyone with their brilliance and just having everyone be so enthralled that they can’t imagine NOT going along. That’s not politics. Politics is about getting your point across to everyone and getting a majority of them to go along with you. That requires a heavy dose of reality and the reality is, being against Republicans is the most important thing we can do right now. Yes, sometimes, Democrats don’t act the way we want them to, but in the real world, Republicans work as a solid bloc and they work against everything we stand for.
Just for shits and giggles, let’s look at the Bernie Sanders agenda and see who’s responsible for the things they complained about…
- College students shouldn’t graduate with crippling debt. This one is easy. Democrats CREATED the concept of college financial aid. Remember the original GI Bill? Created by Democrats. Ever hear of Pell Grants? Claiborne Pell was a Democrat. Most public colleges were created by Democrats and under Democrats, they became the important research institutions they are today. Moreover, it was a Democrat named Obama who took the student loan system out of the private sector and made it so that we could create a better public system. “Free college” is unrealistic these days because we expect universities to do a hell of a lot more for a lot more people than they used to. However, leaving a university debt-free is manageable, although we will never get that with Republicans in charge. Not only do they cut the hell out of public funding for education, which causes tuitions to rise precipitously, but they also cut the hell out of grants and other financial aid. And given the chance to cut interest rates on student loans, they have repeatedly refused to do so. In other words, as long as Republicans are in charge at both the federal and state levels, students will continue to graduate with terrible debt and they will never get a break. Hillary Clinton and a Democratic Congress would have worked in the right direction. Trump and a Republican Congress are more likely to make things worse. Why does this seem so hard to the former Bernie Stans to grasp?
- We need universal health care, like every other industrialized nation on Earth. Another easy one, quite frankly. There have been many proposals by Democrats to create this since the late 1960s. And Republicans have killed all but one and the one they couldn’t kill because they didn’t have the votes, they were able to weaken through amendments. Democrats want universal health care. Bernie Stans want Medicare for all, right? They envision a “single-payer” health plan, right? Well, Democrats created Medicare, a single-payer plan. On the other hand, Republicans keep trying to kill Medicare. The only time Republicans have ever done anything about Medicare was to create Part D, the prescription drug plan, which the Affordable Care Act had to fix. Meanwhile, not only is Speaker Paul Ryan talking about turning Medicare into a voucher program, but we have Republicans on record as voting to repeal Obamacare nearly 70 times. Zero Republicans voted for the legislation in the first place. Hillary Clinton and the Democrats want to improve the health insurance system and they view health care as a right. Republicans see health care as a privilege that should be based on your ability to pay. Again, why is this so hard for some progressives to grasp? Opposing the Republican Party at every level should be a mandate for all progressives by now.
- Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Seriously, this is another easy one. Democrats created the minimum wage in the first place and only they have ever raised it. There have been times when a Republican president has signed a minimum wage increase, but it’s been rare and the bill he signed was written and passed by Democrats. All significant minimum wage increases, even at state and local levels, have been proposed and championed by Democrats, not Republicans. The minimum wage in 1968 is considered a bellwether as to where the minimum wage should be, which means, in 2016 dollars, it should be at about $10.99 an hour to keep up. On the other hand, numerous Republicans think the current minimum wage of $7.25 is too high and many have even suggesting getting rid of it altogether. So, here’s the question, I suppose; since Republicans are against the minimum wage altogether and think $7.25 is too high, what was the purpose of trashing Hillary Clinton, whose proposal of $12 per hour was actually above the 1968 wage equivalent? We now face disaster on that, all because Bernie Stans, professional lefties and unicorn progressives all had visions of a national $15 minimum wage and couldn’t compromise. Bet they’ll compromise now, huh? Well, we shouldn’t have to.
- Take on Wall Street, reinstate Glass-Steagall and break up the big banks. Yeah, okay. So, the progressive strategy of taking on Hillary Clinton and all Democrats who are imperfect not only kept the Republican Party in charge of Congress and most state legislatures, but it led to a corrupt billionaire with more conflicts of interest than anyone thought possible being elected president. Just curious; who do you imagine will “take on Wall Street” now? Republicans are not only not going to “take on Wall Street,” but they are looking to make them stronger. What do you think Speaker Ryan’s promises about Medicare and Social Security reform are all about? They are already talking about repealing Dodd-Frank; do Bernie Stans, pro lefties and unicorn progressives in general even know what that means? The regulations that have thus far prevented another Great Depression were passed and implemented by Democrats. On the other hand, the bill that repealed Glass-Steagall and created the market that actually took down the economy was written by Republicans and they have promised to do it again. So, what do you imagine is in store for us now, thanks to the “progressive” strategy of attacking Democrats and leaving Republicans alone? Hillary Clinton and Democrats would have strengthened Dodd-Frank and they would have at least considered expanded financial regulations. Now, there isn’t a chance in hell of either happening. How many times to Republicans have to crash the economy and the Democrats have to save it before the pro left and unicorn progressives get that Republicans must be opposed at all costs?
- Establishing systems to protect the most vulnerable Americans. Given that Democrats created welfare, wrote and passed workplace safety laws and protections and passed the only laws that provide environmental protections for the average American, this one is a piece of cake. Right now, 75% of the people in this country who are living in poverty are receiving zero cash assistance because of cuts made by Republicans in programs created and nurtured by Democrats. Right now, people receiving SNAP assistance (Food Stamps, a program created and nurtured by Democrats) are seeing their buying power lessened by Republican cuts, at a time when food inflation is increasing, primarily because the only alternative fuel programs approved by Republicans involve ethanol and the only food support programs they favor are those for sugar, corn and wheat. Democrats pander to the poor, but they deliver. Republicans don’t give a rat’s ass about the poor. Never have, never will.
I could continue, but I’ve made my point, which is that the unicorn progressive strategy of trying to perfect the Democratic Party is an asinine strategy, especially in light of the emergence of an increasingly radicalized Republican Party that doesn’t care about any of the things we actually care about. We have to stop losing, and the only way to win is to align ourselves with Democrats and stop working against them. Defeating the GOP is a far more worthy pursuit right now than working to perfect the Democratic Party. In fact, working to perfect the Democrats is about the stupidest political concept I have ever seen. If you want to create a fully progressive third party, then stop talking about it and DO IT. However, you should also realize that, if you do that, you will STILL have to align with Democrats against the real enemy, which now controls the GOP.
Again, we live in a democratic republic, which means you need a majority to win. And if you’re not trying to win, you’re being an idiot, politically speaking. Idiocracy isn’t just about right wingers, ya know. It also requires a lack of opposition from those who should know better.