Republicans turned America into an army of hipsters… and Democrats let them
Hipsters are the obnoxious group of people who like things because they are unpopular. Hipsters take pride in being out of style with the current trend in terms of their fashion and tastes, and act snobby about how much better they are than everyone else, with interests in things that are generally considered unpopular for a reason.
I’m about to use a definition for “Hipsterism” that comes from the YouTube show “The Most Popular Girls in School,” and though it’s a crude reference, I think you’ll find it’s a fairly apt one
So why am I talking about this in a political sense? Because this is exactly what’s happened to the United States when looking at the rest of the world.
Here is the 1972 Democratic policy platform. Notice anything about it? Yeah, it’s borderline socialist. Now, the Democrats didn’t win in 1972 (there’s a multitude of reasons including the proven cheating of the Nixon administration in what would become the Watergate scandal), but this sort of platform was common-place in a pre-Clinton Democratic Party. There were good reasons at the time for a shift towards the center, but in doing so, Democrats forgot what they’re supposed to be fighting for. Today, these sorts of policies are given a footnote in the DNC platform, worthy of a mention but never much actual action. Democrats are so stooped in the value of moderation that they come across as lukewarm towards ideas that once won Franklin Delano Roosevelt huge landslides for a reborn Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, in the past 30 years, we’ve seen something ominous emerge from the Republican Party. In capitalizing on this major weakness of the post-Clinton Democratic Party, Republicans emerged from the backwoods who could only be described as nasty and deceptive. Although I spare few kind words for Ronald Reagan, it would be difficult to doubt his authenticity. He had a genuine smile, and while his policies did hurt many working-class Americans with failures such as trickle-down economics, he made a good show of appealing to Americans on a personal level. This idea was hijacked in the 1990’s by Republicans like Newt Gingrich who would become today’s alt-right: selling poison with a smile.
And so we return to the hipster issue. It’s largely what the Republicans have done with a massive propaganda effort to cast any issue that sheds them in a negative light as some sort of Communist Socialist Marxist plot. And although the red-baiting seems so obvious from here in 2017, it’s worked. Bernie Sanders would be considered a centrist politician in many European political spheres, perhaps a little to the left of center but not by much. And yet ideas that Democrats claim to want, such as Single-Payer and Free Public Healthcare, are crazy to Democratic Politicians, and a hostile communist takeover of our government to Republican politicians.
Republicans have used hyperbole so effectively in their rhetoric that they’ve helped shift the entire system so far right it’s off the scale. They’ve turned politics on it’s head. They’ve made what works impossible in the eyes of the public. The things that nobody likes have become the things that everybody should want according to them.
We’ve taken the absolute backwards approach to progress. Americans in the last 30 years now work harder than ever for less money than ever while the people telling us to work harder get richer than ever. And that’s not even when taking inflation into account.
So how do we go about fixing this? Well, as of yet, modern European left-wing politics has not gone through a shift comparable to Clinton’s triangulation towards the center. This means that the Democrats now stand at the precipice of a largely unprecedented political decision: to either return to their roots in New Deal progressive policy, or plant their feet firmly in the camp of Third Way Clinton-era moderation. One of these is the solution, and the other is the problem.
It’s time to get loud Democrats. When you want healthcare for all, you want it. Own it. Be proud of it. Never be ashamed of wanting people to have better lives with easier access to vital facilities. Similarly, when we fight for civil rights, there can be no compromise in our rhetoric that all people deserve an equal opportunity. These aren’t “maybe” issues. People don’t die in “maybe” issues on a regular basis. It’s time to stop settling for less, and start demanding our due.