Russia is a critical story. But it is neither the story that affects America’s dinner table, health, or financial well-being. Many of us in the Liberal Intelligensia love the intricacies of this story. After all, who would believe that the Republican leadership would be so soft on their patriotism that they are willing to put their heads in the sand and play dumb?
It would do Progressives well to remember a few realities. Fifty-two percent of white women and eighty-one percent of white evangelicals voted the man who spoke about violating women, grabbing them by their genitals, imposing his physicality on them as he disregarded their humanity.
The Trump voter knew that Trump had some relationship with the Russians. In fact, Fox News and Republicans were praising Vladimir Putin as a better leader than President Obama. The Trump voter saw a candidate, that refused to criticize Putin irrespective of whatever vile act he committed.
Donald Trump swindled Trump University students. He stiffed vendors, employees, and much more. The Trump voter heard all of that. But a large percentage of Americans have so had it with the establishment of both parties that enough of them stayed home or voted for Trump and gave him an electoral win.
Trump never had stellar poll numbers. But he did not need to be popular, he just needed the votes in the right places to win, and he got them.
In watching the hyperventilation on Russia, it is clear that Progressives are repeating the same mistakes of our last several elections that have decimated the Democratic bench throughout the state and in the Federal Government. The people’s party, the Democrats, are out of step with the people.
Nothing in the Russian story will improve the personal economies of working class Americans. It will not give them good health care. It will not rebuild infrastructure to provide jobs. It will not educate our children. So while working class America continue to suffer from subpar wages, while they continue to see their healthcare cost rise they hear a narrative anathema to their reality. The Liberal Intelligensia, the Democratic Establishment, is concentrating on a subject that will do absolutely nothing to make their lives better while at the same time giving President Charlatan an excuse for his inability to accomplish anything for the working class.
No one is asking that we ignore the Russian story. In fact, taking it off of the front burner as folks build a substantive evidence based case would be much more effective. Think how impactful a breaking story that is well developed where the Trump family’s financial entanglements and collusion with Russia emerge. It would be much more effective than the daily Russian repetitiousness which causes all but the political buffs to switch to the Food Channel, Discovery Channel, ESPN, or some other station to break said monotony.
So on what should the Progressive Intelligensia expend its resources? — education in a manner that is palatable to working class America. The three biggest Trump disruptive policies, Trumpcare, Tax Cuts, and Immigration, can be tied into a perfect economic narrative that tags Republicans for the charlatans that they are.
Instead of spending time repeating the same old Russian story, go to every industrialized country and do reports with real people interacting with their health care systems illustrating pricing and outcomes. Go to high taxed industrialized countries and talk to working class people who can describe the social benefits they receive from their government. Do the mathematical analysis that shows that when Americans include their insurance cost, babysitting cost, elderly care cost, and other cost absorbed by the state, how much more efficient it is than some invisible source is capturing some unearned profit. The shortage of farm workers created by Trump’s xenophobic stance will ensure higher prices for our produce and other farm goods.
Most of us in the Progressive Intelligensia know there is a fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats who truly believe in the Democratic Platform. The problem is that we are governed within a thin center that minimizes the differences where many in the working class see as a convergence into the Establishment of little distinction.
Many of us are hesitant to engage those who chose Trump because we simply know how flawed they are. A few weeks ago I wrote the following I hope more would heed.
Many Americans are racists. Some are homophobes. Too many are sexists. A growing number are xenophobic. Misogyny still reigns. Americans are humans with all the frailty humanity brings. We will not fix these defect within our lifetime.
We can break the backs of the Republicans by avoiding an unachievable purity by working on economic, health, and other commonalities while refusing to allow our human defects from stopping all progress. It can be done. Here is an aside that Liberals should note. I have been to many many Netroots Conferences and a couple TEA Party conferences. This black Caribbean Latino with a Panamanian accent was treated better at the TEA Party conference than at Netroots when outside of my DailyKos click. In fact, I wrote about one shocking experience at Netroots Nation 2015 that is worth a read. Look, of course, the TEA Party was trying to make a point with me. But that is my point. We can suppress our bad urges when we want to accomplish some goal.
Liberals will do well to read the Politico piece titled “Why Liberals Aren’t as Tolerant as They Think” which may open the eyes of those willing to self-examine. It’s something we work on within our local Progressive groups.
If Progressives don’t change our game now, we would have squandered the opportunity to take over the House and the Senate in 2018 and the Presidency in 2020. Republicans care less about losing Trump than we do. They will be happy with President Pence and the semblance of a Republican ultra Conservative rebirth. And so far they can sell a bad product much better than we are able to sell a good product.