Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Unify, Don't Divide. The Road to a Successful Progressive Politics.

Work and family. Universal Rights. Patriotism. Time for the left to get its act together and concentrate on what can unify, not divide, the American people. John Halpin and Peter Juul explain at The Liberal Patriot:
"The splits in the American electorate are well documented, along not only partisan lines but also along racial, gender, generational, regional, and educational lines. Trying to win elections by maximizing the participation of any one or small combination of these groups through polarizing ideological politics simply doesn’t work for Democrats.
One, because most Democrats and other Americans are normal working- and middle-class voters, not vanguards of the revolution. Two, because the imbalance of the American system—particularly the Senate and the Electoral College but also heavily gerrymandered House districts—means Democrats must compete in areas of the country with many voters who are either skeptical or outright hostile to their party brand. They will need to bring in more independents and Biden Republicans if they want to build viable majorities in the states and federal government.
Is this structural imbalance unfair and illogical? Yes, in a majoritarian sense and in practical terms of getting things done. But if you run a political party you must deal with things as they are today while working to improve political systems over the longer term.
You can’t build majority coalitions within this existing structure without first devising a strategy to get lots of people who don’t like Democrats to get behind some shared values and priorities that transcend all the differences and mutual distrust that divide people these days. Democrats will need to define and rally disparate people around a vision of the common good that advances equal dignity and rights for all people and delivers economic success for the entire nation....
Work and family. Nothing is more central to the well-being of people and their sense of dignity than a meaningful and well-paid job that supports a stable family life. Regardless of where you’re from or what you think about the world, work and family are shared priorities that unite Americans. Democrats need to be the party of workers and their families above all else....
Universal rights. Politics needs aspirational values to help people get beyond divisions and rank selfishness, or else the country just falls apart as people retreat into their own enclaves and gated communities. It’s not hard to do this. The Golden Rule, for example, is one of the most cited but underused theorems in all of politics. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is a pretty good guide to morality, politics, and life....
Democrats need to stop appealing to voters based on divergent group characteristics and start appealing to voters based on a common sense of political equality, universal rights, and economic opportunity for everyone.
Patriotism. Political parties that constantly dunk on their own country’s failings don’t normally do well. People of all stripes want and need to believe in their own country, warts and all. Common citizenship is one thing we share and our democratic values are worth defending and upholding across generations.
So, Americans need to know Democrats see the country as fundamentally a good place, not a rotten one that is irredeemable. This doesn’t mean burying our heads in the sand. Rather, it means understanding that America has made enormous progress over its long history and highlighting how Americans of many backgrounds fought hard and continue to fight—through their individual actions and through our legal systems—to collectively overcome discrimination and exclusion of people in ways that undermine our national values....
Beyond embracing our complex history as a nation, it’s also important to convey that America still has a lot to do to maintain its democracy and keep up its position in the world. We don’t want to fall behind in the global economy. Democrats therefore need to advance a patriotic project of national rebuilding—in all parts of the country and for all kinds of people—as a central driving force in politics....
Politics works best when different groups of people get together to overcome their differences to promote shared values and aspirations and advance shared priorities that help all people. Politics doesn’t work at all if every group pushes their own agenda and expects everyone else to accept it as the top priority.
This is the project Democrats need to embrace if they want to win more elections in more places, bolster the national economy, and pass more state and federal legislation to help workers and families across the country. Building political unity is a hard business, and Democrats need to treat it like one if they want to be successful going forward."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot. And subscribe!

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