I know it’s been a while, but after a great election, I really wanted to think hard and make sure this blog lives up to its name. This blog is now called “the Pragmatic Progressive,” which means we will largely stay away from vast conspiracies and intriguing plots worthy of a Tom Clancy novel, just from a “left” point of view.
For example, a lot of lefties, especially on the far left outskirts of the progressive movement, have declared the Republican Party dead, primarily because it should be.
Frankly, I wish it was dead.
By all rights, it should be dead. The specter of Trumpism should have killed it.
However, it did not kill it. The Republican Party is not dead, and it has actually embraced Trumpism, which isn’t even a political movement. Trumpism is a parody of a “political movement,” if we’re going to give it any credit. And we really shouldn’t give it any credit.
What made this election great was that it proved, once and for all, that the people in this country have the ultimate power. We saw the highest voter turnout in modern history, and that includes the highest turnout among Republicans in nearly a century, and the people won. We also proved that, if everyone turns out to vote, the GOP has no chance oof winning anything.
This is why voter suppression and placing obstacles to voting is a major strategy of the GOP. They have known all along that the only chance they have of being a winning major party on a regular basis. This is what I have been screaming about on my blogs for more than 20 years. Turnout is the key! I bet, if you searched this 13-year-old blog, you’d find that phrase over 1,000 times. If you want to kill the Republican Party as it exists right now, it will take high turnout over quite some time, not just one single election.
It’s not like we lack the ammunition to manage it. We have tons of ammo. Ur side just has to get a couple of things straight. First, we have to figure out that, while creating a “third party” with a progressive perspective is possible, it will take a very long time AND it will have to become viable, which means either a first or second party.
It’s damn near impossible for our democratic system to have more than two viable parties at a time. It seems to be a feature of all democracies, honestly, whether they are winner-take-all elections, or parliamentary-style systems. If you do a survey of democracies, you’ll be hard pressed to find one that has more than two viable political parties at a time. That means, while we’re trying to build that progressive party, we will have to also support the Democratic Party because we have to run the current incarnation of the Republican Party into the ground and make sure it ceases to exist.
Our grandparents got the message. Way back in 1932, after Republicans created the conditions that led to the Great Depression, Democrats were handed the reins of government at nearly every level until the 1950s. Then, when they were allowed to have a little more government in the mid-1950s, and proceeded to run the most successful economy in history, they again panicked and pushed them back into the shadows until 1968.
That was when the GOP got tired of losing and took on the “Southern Strategy.” That’s when they decided to recruit the work faction in the Democratic Party into their ranks, to help them get back in power, and so that the beating they endured in the 1964 presidential election would never happen again. One of the major reasons the current GOP is so bad is because they’ve never stopped recruiting the racists and morons that made up the “Dixiecrats” into their fold. And because they are scared to death of losing them, they have become the most racist and xenophobic political party in American history.
Essentially, what we have now with the GOP is a political party that is economically daft and significantly anti-democratic. They have proclaimed, in public, that they don’t think everyone should be allowed to vote, and they have spent most of their recent time in charge trying to make voting considerably more difficult.
Only a political party with no principles would allow a creep like Donald Trump become their presidential nominee, and only a totally corrupt political party would support everything he has done in the past four years. If you’re a Republican because you’ve just “always been a Republican,” that’s fine, but you really need to look at what your party stands for these days.
Think about this a minute; DONALD TRUMP (the worst president and one of the most despicable human beings in history) got 73 million votes this year, despite the fact that nothing he says is truthful, and even though he has proven himself incapable of doing the job. He’s lied about his record on the economy, and he lied about his role in meeting the challenge of the pandemic, but he also lied every time he tried to cite the economy as “the best ever in history.” He’s never come clean on his finances and he is still the only presidential candidate in modern history to hide his tax returns from the public. He will also likely face multiple criminal charges after January 20. Keep in mind; there are still about two dozen credible rape allegations against him, and there are a lot of outstanding tax allegations against his business, so it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be facing charges for the things he did in office.
That does not mean we should let him off the hook for things he did as “president.” (I am going to be so happy to write that without quotes again in 16 days; you have no idea.) He needs to pay for trying to ban Muslims from the country, and Democrats have to change a number of laws and rules he passed that essentially violate what the United States is supposed to stand for, especially with regard to immigration and women.
In addition to that, however, we have to focus on making the entire Republican Party pay for their tendency to support this asshole on everything. We also need to prove that his support in this election was an anomaly. That means we have to make sure real Republicans feel embarrassed being a part of the current GOP.
That means we have to concentrate on what the GOP actually does and stop manufacturing conspiracies to attribute to them. There is plenty of real shit to slam them with, like their constant whining about the deficit, when they are responsible for almost all of it. When it comes to the economy, they are the cause of most downturns, including the Great Recession that Dubya Bush left us with. And we also have to correct the record when they lie, which is most of the time these days.
However, that also means we have to give them credit when they do the right thing and stop thinking there’s an angle when there isn’t. I know there’s a temptation to think the only way to get back at the GOP is to do exactly what they do, but we can’t. It’s pure stupidity to think we can be just like them in opposition to them, and voters won’t notice. We have to be as forthright and honest as possible, if only to differentiate ourselves from them. We don’t get to be as childish as they are and then claim the high road, and make no mistake; the high road is a winner most of the time.
And more than anything, we ALL have to VOTE. Every election. And we have to vote for the best VIABLE candidate possible, which will always be a Democrat, at least for a while. We have to put aside ur egos and think about the American people, for once. That means making sure everyone has access to health care, not that the health care system is perfect. It means pushing for a $15 per hour minimum wage for every city or region capable of affording it, but recognizing that not every city and region can afford it. We have to differentiate between huge national billion-dollar corporations that operate everywhere and small businesses that are simply trying to keep their head above water and help the latter whenever we can.
Just as importantly, we have to understand that ideals are a great basis for politics and government, but they are ideals, and may not be fully possible and practical. The constitutional ideal for a “more perfect union” recognized that “perfect” was not possible, but that doesn’t;’t mean we shouldn’t head in that direction. That is a truly progressive concept. It’s not “progressive” to demand that everyone follow your dictates, anymore than it’s progressive for right wingers to do it.
Getting Joe Biden elected is a great start, but it is only a start. We have to get rid of Trumpism, and we should force the GOP to reconstitute into a party that cares about America. However, we have only begun that process.
We still have a long way to go…
Also published on Medium.