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Progressives and Democrats need to stop fearing who we are

4 min read

A friend of mine introduced me to Jim Rigby, a pastor in Austin, Texas, whom I am very impressed with because of his thought process, his compassion, and his clear thinking. When the attacks started on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, he made a statement that should resonate with every progressive and Democrat. Rigby wrote, “We liberals need to make damn sure that what most offends us most about Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is not that she is disrespectful and arrogant, but that she is who we pretend to be, but really aren’t.”

While I think he is right with respect to some people, I think the biggest issue is fear. The fact is that every poll proves that most Americans want the tenets that progressives support, but somehow, we cannot get there.

I continue to sense fear in progressives and Democrats that is completely uncalled-for. Know this: The plutocracy has no problem if Donald Trump remains in power. It would prefer a more intelligent leader, but it could live with him.

The thing is that many Americans are currently so fearful that the plutocracy, the puppeteers, see an opportunity. They know that they can convince those who are paralyzed by the fear of extending a Trump presidency into voting for someone who is acceptable to them by calling them “electable.” It is important that we not be fooled by the hoodwink.

“We can’t choose a candidate we don’t believe in just because we are too scared to do anything else,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said it best in the debate. “And we can’t ask other people to vote for a candidate we don’t believe in. Democrats win when we figure out what is right, and we get out there and fight for it. I am not afraid. And for Democrats to win, you cannot be afraid either.”

Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College in 2016 by fewer than 80,000 votes combined in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. But she won the popular vote by almost 3,000,000 votes. Clinton did not do enough campaigning in those states, even as activists urged her campaign to do so. Even with the voter suppression in many of these states, the turnout was almost enough for a big victory all around. But almost is not good enough.

Clinton’s Democratic Party platform was decidedly progressive. It wasn’t some swing to the left that lost the election–just some tweaks in a few districts in the respective states.

Why does the Democratic Party narrative of the 2020 election focus on some dubious electability metric? Why are there so many entrants in the Democratic Party primaries even though most had to have known they did not stand a chance of winning? How come most of these characters are center-right?

During both Democratic debates, a slew of center-right candidates attacked the progressives on the stage. More surprisingly, they used right-wing talking points against the Affordable Care Act. It was relentless. The progressives onstage were never deterred. And instead, the attacking men were ultimately politically neutered. It seems like many of these candidates have a purpose: disruption. It was as if they were reading a recent Thomas L. Friedman op-ed.

Dear Democrats: This is not complicated! Just nominate a decent, sane person, one committed to reunifying the country and creating more good jobs, a person who can gain the support of the independents, moderate Republicans and suburban women who abandoned Donald Trump in the midterms and thus swung the House of Representatives to the Democrats and could do the same for the presidency. And that candidate can win!

But please, spare me the revolution! It can wait. Win the presidency, hold the House and narrow the spread in the Senate, and a lot of good things still can be accomplished. “No,” you say, “the left wants a revolution now!” O.K., I’ll give the left a revolution now: four more years of Donald Trump.

Friedman gets this one wrong. Removing Trump is how the revolution begins. It seems to many that a number of these candidates are promoters of a crippling fear. They continuously attempt to move progressives to the right.

Michael Moore recently appeared on MSNBC and dismissed Friedman. He said that Democrats must go bold.

The fear Democrats currently experience as they choose whether to elevate a progressive candidate or a center-right candidate is uncalled-for and unnecessary. The American population, and specifically the Democratic population, have been polled and have shown that they are ready for progressive policies such as Medicare for All, pay-it-forward tuition, and much more. We should not fear elevating these candidates and punishing those who are nothing more than the wards of the plutocracy, of the oligarchy.

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