Just yesterday, someone I know suggested that the Democrats are “pussies” (yes, he used that term) because they’re not demanding a recount hard enough. Now, I covered this in a previous post, but recounts are not easy under the best of circumstances. Also, there is a possibility that a recount wouldn’t help, anyway. I mean, if the Russians did hack into a few districts in key states, they may have altered some votes, which means the recount would fix nothing. It may take a year or two of forensic analysis of votes and machines to find out what actually happened, which is a job for journalists. Of course, if there were paper ballots available in all places, it might be easier to get an accurate count, or even audit the vote counts on an ongoing basis. In other words, wouldn’t it be great if, at the precinct level, precinct captains could get the electronic count and check it against the paper count? They could either verify the vote count or note any discrepancies or both. I think pretty much all liberals agree; that would be the best-case scenario.
There’s just one problem. You have to elect Democratic majorities to get that, in Congress and at the state level. Unfortunately, “unicorn progressives” seem incapable of letting that happen. Their unattainable quest for perfection – their quixotic quest to “restore” a Democratic Party that never existed – is killing the progressive movement, and they don’t seem even to notice.
I think it’s time we identified “unicorn progressives” and start shutting them down.
How do we know who they are? Here are the warning signs that your friend is a “unicorn progressive”:
- They spent all year demanding that Bernie Sanders be nominated, even though voters didn’t want him, and trashing Hillary Clinton as “dishonest,” but they blame “the Democrats” for the loss.
- They always screw up elections, scream “oops” at the top of their lungs and then demand that “the Democrats” bail them out by doing a recount.
- They still blame SCOTUS for the results of the 2000 election, even though they spent the 2000 election season trashing Gore and “the Democrats” in their support of Ralph Nader.
- They aways blame blame “the Democrats” when a majority of voters choose a nominee who isn’t a “perfect” progressive.
- They demand that all Democrats everywhere in the country adopt their “progressive” stance on the issues, even if they live in a 55% Republican district.
- They trashed Obama and Democrats for six years and then faulted “the Democrats” for losses in 2010 and 2014 because many candidates didn’t “embrace Obama.”
- Though they’re overwhelmingly white, they seem to think they know more about being a minority than minorities do.
- They seem to think that voters are only “motivated” by negativity.
- When they decide they like a candidate, the truth about that candidate cannot penetrate.
- If they decide to NOT like a candidate, the same applies. (For example, they trashed Hillary as a Goldwater Girl at 16, but shrugged when it was pointed out the Elizabeth Warren was a Republican until 1996. Ahem.)
- They falsely claim that “the Democrats” are too far right.
- They falsely claim that both major parties are “two sides of the same coin.”
- They claim that conservative Democrats “might as well be Republicans, which is ludicrous, unless you are stuck in 1946.
There are actually many signs that point to someone being a “unicorn progressive,” but this is a fairly representative sample of some of the most common. The problem with all of these is their tendency to confuse the hell out of voters and make them more likely to stay home. If we had encouraged voters to be enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton, they would have swarmed the polls in such numbers, Trump wouldn’t have had a chance, which means a recount wouldn’t even be necessary. Unfortunately, our side too often sounds very much like the right wing and, since most voters know the right wing is crazy, they listen to us and assume that the Democrats aren’t worth voting for, either. And while unicorn progressives might have some points about the “two-party system,” they are doing nothing about building an actual third party, anyway. Unicorn progressives may be the laziest demo in the electorate.
And what is it about their quest for political perfection? I’m one of the most idealistic people you’ll ever meet and I believe we can do a whole lot better as a country. I believe we can take care of everyone within our borders and also nurture the capitalist model so that it serves the people first. But I also know there is a cancer in our system and it has virtually taken over the Republican Party. Also, this notion that the Democratic Party was always a “progressive bastion,” as many unicorn progressives seem to be deluded into believing, is just pure bullshit. The very idea that the Democratic Party has “moved right” is fantasy that only serves the unicorn cause.
Here’s some reality for you. From the 1930s through the 1960s, the progressive movement worked with Democrats and got a lot done. We ended the Great Depression and won World War II and then we used progressive values to build the strongest economy in the history of the world in a way that floated all boats. At the same time, we passed and enforced civil rights laws that have drawn us closer to the egalitarian nation the Founders imagined. However, all of that was done through legislation and, while Democrats had supermajorities in Congress through most of that period, a large part of that supermajority was made up of Dixiecrats. Surely, you remember names like Thurmond, Wallace, Helms, Lott and Maddox, among many others? They were all Democrats during that period. The governors who were blocking schoolhouse doors were Democrats, not Republicans. The governments that were fighting to keep Jim Crow laws were run by Democrats.
Now, virtually all of those Democrats are Republican and the liberal Republicans who helped us get civil rights laws passed are all Democrats. So, please explain where this idea that the Democratic Party “moved right” came from? Please explain how we were able to get civil rights and voting rights laws passed with about one-third of the Democratic Party representing the far right, but now, with a Republican Party that is dominated by every strain of right winger in the country, we can’t seem to beat them in an election. How do they get control of a supermajority of state houses and a majority of governorships in this country, including states that are traditionally blue, when they are farther to the right than the Democratic Party has ever dreamed of. Only a quarter of voters identify as Republican, and yet they kick our asses every election? How is that possible?
They only make up about 10-15% of all liberals, but they tend to have money, so they have louder voices than the rest of us. They don’t understand that idealism is not reality. They tend to call themselves activists, but they don’t really do anything but piss and moan. The professional left is their binky, and they doesn’t care about much of anything except clicks. All year, professional lefties got behind Bernie Sanders like a dog with a chew toy and they refused to let go, even when it was clear the voters weren’t going to nominate him. Worse, they possess this absurd notion that, in order to support Bernie, they had to trash Hillary. They have no concept that Hillary and Bernie were/are on the same side. They acted the same with Nader. In order to promote Nader, these idiots felt like they had to attack Gore, who was on the same side. This notion that “anyone who is running against my candidate is the enemy” is stupid and childish and it has to go. And it’s a hallmark of “unicorn progressive” thought.
What can I say? Despite their admiration of themselves, unicorn progressives are not very smart, politically speaking. They tend to be white, male, college educated and generally upper middle class or higher. yet, they believe their education gives them more insight about being a Person of Color, a woman or an immigrant than Persons of Color, women and immigrants possess. Republicans have largely dominated the politics for a generation, even though they’re a minority and their party represents what used to be the fringe of American politics. Yet, the concept that progressives would do better working WITH Democrats than against them doesn’t even occur to these people, despite the fact that we can point to the post-Depression era as a perfect example of exactly that. Being against everything is stupid, politically speaking, and yet that, too, is a hallmark of unicorn progressive thinking.
If you’ve ever seen the classic film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” then you’ll remember the scene in which the owner of Swamp Castle describes how he built it. The first two castles sank into the swamp, of course, as castles built on swamps are wont to do. But the third one, by God, stayed up (so far), quite possibly because it was sitting on the first two sunken castles. That’s funny, but there’s also a lesson there. If you want to build something that lasts, which is what progressives should be about, you can’t ignore the foundation upon which we sit. For nearly a half century, neocons have built one hell of a swamp and because we allow the unicorn progressives to have too loud a voice, we’re not creating a decent foundation. Unicorn progressives have been politically negligent for nearly 50 years, but they never learn anything.
Since 1980, a neocon minority (and no, unicorn progressives, Hillary Clinton is in no way a neocon!) has had control of a large portion of the government, while unicorn progressives have largely ignored the process. According to exit polls, self-described “liberals” had just about the lowest turnout. Also, they represented the only turnout for Jill Stein. Worse, tens of thousands of unicorn progressives who supported Sanders in the primary voted for Gary Johnson, of all people, in the general. How do you go from Bernie Sanders to Gary Johnson and claim you have principles? That’s pretty much impossible.
It’s time those of us who are ACTUALLY progressive and ACTUALLY liberal speak up and have more of a say in how the progressive movement, well, progresses. Stop falling for their click bait and start demanding more emotional intelligence from our left-leaning media people. All progressives need to rejoin the Democratic Party, to amplify our voice. We have to focus more on a progressive message and less on mimicking the right wing. And we have to encourage everyone to vote by giving them something to vote for. In 2018 and beyond, we have to give Democrats a series of historic wins. There is no other choice and unicorn progressives don’t seem to care about making any. They bitch about Republicans and they bitch about Democrats, but they do nothing about creating an alternative.
Nothing progressive can happen until we push the right wing back to the fringes, where they belong. And make no mistake; all right wingers vote Republican, when they vote. When the right wingers start losing big, the GOP will clean house, which is good for unicorn progressives, anyway, since that will cause a lot of conservative Democrats to re-join the Republican Party, which is bad for the short-term, but great for the long term. Meanwhile, we should work to attract voters by offering a positive progressive message. Politics isn’t about issues, it’s about doing whatever is necessary to effect policy and make laws that better people’s lives. If you’re not appealing to a majority of voters in a bid to win every election, you’re not making progress. And like it or not, the right wing has built a hell of a large swamp in 40 years, and that is what we have to build on. Unicorn progressives need to either help us or get out of the way.