“The Democrats plan to attach themselves, tick-like, to a political movement that was born from resistance. They’ll drain it of its lifeblood and infect it with a debilitating disease, rendering the movement toothless, tired, and depleted. It’s up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
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“Energized to take on President Trump, these voters are also seeking to remake their own party as a ferocious — and ferociously liberal — opposition force. And many appear as focused on forcing progressive policies into the midterm debate as they are on defeating Republicans.”
“For the first time in half a century, liberals and leftists are finding their voice and finding each other. To formulate their future, Democrats must use the Resistance as a kind of real-world laboratory for democratic action. Allow it to hash out old grievances, try out unproven strategies, test new messages. Give it some time. See what works and what doesn’t. Let the best ideas prevail. Let them not look like the old ones, except where they need to. That is the promise and the potential of the opposition’s first 100 days. For now, that is all we need.”
The changes progressives are for: “Progressives also need to advance a concrete agenda, and that means taking on Democrats-In-Name-Only.”
“The danger here is that the default position of resistance is reversion, a return to what was. … But this reflex ignores an uncomfortable but inescapable reality: Trump is in the White House in large part because of the establishment’s failures over the past decades. … Democrats need to fight, but they need to fight for something, not just against the barbarians. They need to be the party of fundamental change, not the party of restoration.”
The explosion of Democratic discontent: “Now, approximately seven years after the Republican Party faced an insurgent uprising within its ranks, Democrats are confronting the beginnings of their own civil war between the party’s well-heeled establishment and its restless, grass-roots base.”
“From Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter, the left has been reborn. Can it find a way to harness the populist uprising that brought Trump to power?”
“It would be implausible to suggest that the American left is on the cusp of any great victory. It remains far from most concrete forms of political power. Yet its intellectual clarity can help guide and coordinate the work of grassroots activists, open up new alternatives for voters, and raise the bar of public argument.”
The response from elected Democratic officials to the Trump: “With their base angry and fired up, they may not have a choice.”
“Conservatives are much more clear-eyed—and that’s why they win so often.
And here’s another, closely-related lesson Democrats would do well to learn: nobody cares about your feelings. You can march, yell, and sign petitions all you want, but your voice won’t be heard until you figure out where the correct pressure points are located.
Conservatives understand the importance of power, and they go all out to get it and to block their opponents from exercising it. Progressives, meanwhile, are addicted to the affectations of powerlessness: the protest march, the petition, the complaint, the indignation over unfair play and hypocrisy, and the incessant pleading for those who hold power to listen to them. It would serve the left to stop clinging to an idealized version of how things should work and instead accept how they things actually work. It is far more important to understand power: what it is, how to get it, how to use it, and how to keep it.
Progressives need to take a lesson from the Tea Party if they want to advance their own agenda. Merely being loud and visible isn’t going to cut it. They have to organize, and they have to vote in every election: presidential, midterm, primary, and special. Only when they demonstrate a credible threat to politicians’ jobs will they get what they want. Winning, not whining, is what creates change.”
“The weak spots in Trump’s victory show that the future still lies with Bernie’s democratic-socialist coalition.”
“Let’s be frank. After this week’s electoral explosion, liberalism faces years in the wilderness. … In short, the Democrats’ exile is likely to be lengthy.”