Doubling Down On a Failed Strategy

A politics that attempts to be all things to all people ends up as nothing, for no one.

Pundits are indulging the latest round of “progressives would win elections if they stopped being so damn progressive” takes. It’s as incoherent, and as wrong, as everything that has gone before:

As with Clinton in 1996, the conventional wisdom we are being asked to swallow is that the Democratic party (which already has the reputation of standing for nothing) should pander harder to people who are diametrically opposed to the values of its base.

It’s as if the 2016 election never happened. Despite the victory of an outspoken demagogue who repeatedly, loudly asserted how his “vision for the country was the only right one,” liberals and progressives are being told that they can only win if they soft-pedal their approach.

Many of his supporters downplay the racist and nativist overtones of a lot of Trump’s rhetoric, choosing instead to highlight the idea he is a “truth teller” who disdains focus groups and speaks from the gut. A democratic restoration movement should take a page from that playbook, rather than the failed approach of Bill and Hillary Clinton. A politics which gives citizens something to vote for, rather than just against, can present itself as a clear alternative.

A wishy-washy “middle way” will prolong the disaffection with conventional politics which helped elect Trump in the first place. And any attempt to coddle the Trump supporters who are primed to find reasons to feel victimized seems doomed to end in failure:

Of course, this could just be the latest iteration of the classic IOKIYAR (It’s OK if You’re A Republican) double standard…

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