Progressive values are better for the poor and the middle-class. The last Gallup Poll list Conservatives at 37%, Moderates at 35%, and Liberals at 24%. Given the beating that the term Liberal received over the years, that number seem rather high. This poll indicates clearly that at least 59% of the country is not Conservative. More importantly, Americans want Liberal/Progressive policies even if they do not self-identify as Liberals. And guess what, even as Donald Trump won the electoral college, Hillary Clinton, a woman so caricatured that many hated her on the partly made up persona, still won the election way north of a million votes. It is evident the Democratic Platform is more in step with the vast majority of Americans.
So why are our elections even close? Republicans talk to people where they are. Democrats talk to people where they want them to be.
I recently wrote a mostly well-received DailyKos piece titled “Ignore Bannon. It is a Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare bait & switch” where I said the following.
While Steve Bannon’s Alt-Right White Nationalist proclivities are disturbing, more disturbing is his likely attempt to distort the news. That should be much more concerning.
It is obvious what Trump is doing. It is obvious what Paul Ryan is doing. It is obvious what Republicans are doing.
While Democrats and the media are hyperventilating about a white supremacist in the White House, Paul Ryan is giddy working to undo Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid. Ryan could not contain himself in his elation during his press conference this morning as he pointed this out using code words. He ignored questions about Bannon and pressed on about making big changes. What are these big changes? Our social safety net. They prefer the Right Wing lexicon ‘entitlements’ to make our social safety net seem like an unearned giveaway.
Some pushed back. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time,” some readers said. Some wanted moral purity. It is just wrong for Steve Bannon to be a member of the White House for his white supremacist proclivities.
Enough Americans voted for Donald Trump knowing who he is. In fact, he did better than Romney with minorities.
Trump fared little better among blacks and Hispanics than Romney did four years ago, Hillary Clinton did not run as strongly among these core Democratic groups as Obama did in 2012. Clinton held an 80-point advantage among blacks (88% to 8%) compared with Obama’s 87-point edge four years ago (93% to 6%). In 2008, Obama had a 91-point advantage among blacks.
Trump was never trying to win these votes. He just needed a message that appealed to enough. And you know what? “What the hell do you have to lose?” while offensive to most, touched some who say that and mean that.
Trump met the haters where they were. He met the uneducated where they were. Trump met the rich folks where they were. He met the white supremacists where they were. It was not enough to reach most Americans. But it was sufficient in the right states.
The current crop of Senators and Congresspersons do not fear Liberals and Progressives all out assault on Steve Bannon. Yes, we won the popular vote but the voters that matter in the states that matter knew that they were electing a sexist, misogynist, racist, and xenophobic president. Why would they care about a lieutenant of the same kind in the Oval Office? They don’t.
If Liberals and Progressives build the truthful narrative of the decimation of the programs Trump was to leave untouched or made better, the tide will turn. Just like the TEA Party made a caricature of Obamacare and other Obama policies, we must make of the Trump/Ryan plans. And we must be relentless.
I was and am a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter. Most importantly I am a real Progressive Democrat that lean much more left than most. Most of my tests put me more towards the Green Party. Ironically most of my Green friends score Democratic in those same tests. I am not an ideologue, however. I am willing to compromise. In fact, I am prepared to lose many battles as I keep my eye on the ball to win the war.
Unfortunately, many of my Progressive and Liberal brothers and sisters do not see it that way. They stayed home, voted for a third party, or even voted for Trump to ‘stick it to Hillary.’ I responded to one of my Facebook friends that voted for the third party as follows.
If you think things will be just as bad under either Trump or Clinton, then those who voted third party or did not vote did the right thing. If you think Trump would be worse, then that vote means they chose an outcome that did not have to be as bad as it is going to be. I believe in marking time till we get the grassroots built. Some do not share that opinion. I hope we learned our lesson and we all get together and build, period.
If Progressives are to win, they must continue their idealism, but they must be willing to bend. They must be prepared to do the grassroots work with or without the Democratic Party. Being right isn’t good enough. Others knowing you are correct and willing to follow you is.