Corny but true: We need a new majority
Donald Trump has 88 million Twitter followers and almost 70 million Americans wanted him to be President. He represents a vast anti-democratic, anti- worker, racist, sexist, oppressive strain in American politics that won’t go away even though he will likely be leaving the oval office. The re-election of a McConnell-led Senate means the likely frustration of any efforts to enact progressive legislation during Biden’s first and likely only term.
I’ve been one of those progressive Democrats who has counseled compromise with more moderate forces in the Democratic party when it comes to candidates like Biden because I thought a true progressive could not succeed in today’s America-at-large. I think that was the right approach for 2016 and 2020. But I’m now beginning to wonder if it’s the right approach going forward.
Many if not most of Trump’s supporters are racist, sexist, homophobic reactionaries who will never tolerate progressive policies. But many are not those things. Rather, many are simply angry and alienated by a political culture that has historically ignored and oppressed them.
We need a policy approach and candidates who can appeal to these Americans in concrete ways and build a 21st Century progressive coalition unlike anything previously seen in our national politics.
Cancel culture, political correctness, Hollywood liberalism are not the answer. We need a left politics that speaks to the tens of millions of citizens of all races and ethnicities who can’t find security for themselves or their families in the modern economy, who are threatened by the pandemics of drugs and violence that are decimating their communities, whose cynicism of electoral politics is well-earned and who support Trump, not because of his reactionary politics, but because he represents a “Fuck You” to the power structure that oppresses them. We need a left politics that in the real world agrees: Fuck You to big business, Fuck You to big media that profits over our divisions and oppression, Fuck You to 20 Century political dynamics that threaten and separate us.
We need a politics that addresses racial anxieties head-on, in ways I think we yet don’t know how to do, but which are necessary so that class interests finally supersede those anxieties and build a strong multi-racial coaliton that is able to articulate the priority of unity on the economics of racism even while we accept our cultural differences.
We need an approach that nurtures and values younger leaders. The Warrens and Sanderses have awakened a generation, but they are not the leaders that will take us through the many battles for the American soul that face us.
I believe there’s a majority out there we can organize if we throw off the thinking and tactics of the 20th Century, eschew political correctness, and stop massaging our messaging until it loses the power of authenticity. It needs smart and practical truth-speakers able to stick it out, day by day, despite the obstacles, keeping their eyes on the prize.
We need people to lead us who can tell their truth and learn from the consequences, so they can continue to tell their truth in ways that will get others to share theirs.
Are you one of them?