By Jason Taylor
Sometimes I think that Bernie supporters and Progressives are nearly as dumb as the people who voted for Donald Trump. In 2016 they were warned that if they sat on their hands or voted third party the country would elect Trump and they would end up with a conservative Supreme Court for the next thirty years. But no; they were too smart to listen. You would think they would have learned something. Backing their favorite candidate is great fun, but it doesn’t mean anything if they don’t win. They need to learn how to count. It is far better to back a candidate that can win, who you will be able to communicate with and talk to, then backing your perfect candidate who doesn’t have a serious (count ALL the votes) chance.
Left-wing Democrats certainly have valid policy arguments to make on many issues. But they need to learn that there are times to stick to your principles, and times to vote strategically.
Donald Trump is President because too many Sanders supporters voted for Jill Stein instead of Hillary. George W. Bush got elected in 2000 because too many left-wing Democrats voted for Ralph Nader instead of Al Gore. Make your argument in the primaries, by all means. But if you lose, you still need to support the Democratic candidate in November. The GOP always manages to close ranks in November and support the party candidate even if they don’t particularly like him/her. That’s why they control all three branches of the federal government as well as a majority of state governments.
I recently spoke with a bunch of Democratic Socialists still convinced they did the right thing in voting for Jill Stein. They’re not bothered by the fact that the Supreme Court is now controlled by the far-right, something that would not have happened if Hillary Clinton was elected, and didn’t care that in voting for Stein, who had no chance of winning, they played a real part in helping pass the Trump/Republican Tax break for billionaires that is bankrupting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP. The same goes for the destruction of NATO, the growing trade wars, pulling out of the Paris Accords, environmental destruction, the destruction of the Iran Deal, the vilification of immigrants, the growth of racism, need I go on? The answer was the same, “things had to get worse to get better.” Famous last words.
Things have gotten so bad so fast the country may never recover. I recently spoke with a bunch of Trump supporters too, thrilled to change the discussion from Trump, who they emphasized is not running, to Abdul Mohamed El-Sayed and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, newly anointed heading the Democratic Socialists, and presumably, the Democratic Party. But these folks here didn’t care that in facing a despot like Trump they needed to stop using self-righteousness as a justification for helping him destroy the country. They still don’t care.
America is not Denmark or the E.U. Those societies may be more just, their people happier and almost gun-free. These are all things to work for, but it will not happen in one election cycle.
The Democratic extremists will be repeating the 2016 mistake of putting their own purist ideology ahead of the party’s strategic campaigns to win elections. Swing voters, who are essential for winning the midterms, will stay home rather than support a party who identify themselves as Socialists, no matter how much they disagree with the opposition.
The message I keep getting from those advocating extreme left politics either haven’t studied the history of our country or have forgotten it, along with the principles that run deep within it.
They seem to have forgotten that along with socially equitable policies such as openness to immigration, we have something called The American Dream, which is the beacon that inspires those immigrants to come here. Without the capitalism that affords those opportunities for prosperity and success, would so many try to come here? Without the freedoms of at least somewhat limited government, would so many seek to come here?
I’m a moderate Democrat, and I see the value in governing from the center. We are a large country with diverse ideas. For Democrats to move more to the left as a party is to embrace the idea of forcing more radical policies onto those citizens who disagree, not to work at compromise or solutions that work for all citizens. Let’s take note of what has happened to the Republican party since the birth of the Tea Party. It has split the party to the point of destroying it and has led to radical politics on the right. Why would we Democrats want to repeat their mistakes?
If the Democrats go too far to the left, they may blow it. If they can’t win in 2018, they are already in trouble for 2020. If they lose 2020, Trump may have four Supreme Court justices during his presidency, making the court 7–2 for the next couple decades or so, not to mention an extension of the carnage he has already unleashed.
Notice how organized labor — the real bastion of the left — is backing the “mainstream” or “centrist” Democrats. In the topsy-turvy world we live in, the “centrists” are the real left, and “the left” are right-wing identitarians. They’re the nonwhite version of the white nationalists they profess to hate so much. I will give Sanders credit, he is for real, but throwing his lot in with these groups will dilute whatever appeal his message might have by tying it to identity politics and open borders. The working-classes will never back those positions. If the Democrats turn into a progressive identity politics worshiping cult they will lose whatever appeal they might have had left with the average person and will wind up as little more than a powerless vehicle for rich progressives to virtue-signal, and to never actually accomplish anything.
This isn’t a time to be ideological. It’s a time to be practical and win elections.
Let’s look at the top issues. “Medicare for all” is an easy sell to voters because our existing health care system is user and buyer unfriendly. It imposes excessive costs that render our goods and services less competitive in international markets. The US can have better healthcare and pay less. “Abolish Ice” is not a viable program all by itself. We have immigration laws, and we require federal police to enforce them. “Reform ICE, fire Trump.” That slogan makes political sense.
Let me tell the young people a secret. We all want universal health care, we all want an equitable sharing of profits, we all want sensible gun regulation, we all want affordable education, we all want racial and gender equality, we want clean air, water, politics, freedom from religion, checks on dark money, consumer protections and an out of control Congress and an out for total control president. If we have different roads for achieving those goals it doesn’t mean we’ve lost sight of them, it just means that some of us, have been down these roads before and know what potholes to avoid.