Either Way, the Left Loses.
Why this election is proving to be so painful for progressives and leftists.
Like everyone else, I’ve been doing my best to adjust to the new normal here in the United States as the West Coast burns, coronavirus rages, and tens of millions of people are unemployed without health insurance, unsure of how they’ll be able to afford to put food on the table let alone pay rent. Some days, obviously, are better than others. There are some days — like the one weekend a month that I go visit my Mom — that I am actually able to succeed in my efforts to put it all aside for even just a matter of hours, and be relatively at peace.
And then there are the days where it feels as though everything is crumbling around me. The days where not even my job at the local nursing home, and immersing myself entirely in caring for my residents is able to distract me. In fact, seeing the toll that simply missing their families is taking on them, it’s become the opposite. There have been an increasing number of times where the full weight of everything that’s happening, and how I — even at just 25 years old — might not ever live to see the country fully recover feels so heavy I can barely breathe.
The election, of course, has only served as yet another grim reminder of just how dire the circumstances really are for tens of millions of people, and how fundamentally ill-equipped we are — regardless of who wins — to deal with it. I’m not sure that the more moderate, right leaning voters within the democratic party truly understands just how brutally painful, demoralizing, and degrading this election has become for progressives, and leftists in particular around the country. As we get closer and closer to November 3rd, it only becomes more clear with each passing day that either way this election goes, the left still loses.
If Joe Biden loses the election, the democrats will blame the left and absurdly claim that Joe Biden ran too far to the left, arguing that in the next election the democratic party will have no choice but to move even further to the right. If democrats win, they will point to that as an indication that they never really did need the left, and still proceed to move further to the right.
These concerns are not raised in an effort to discourage anyone from voting, but rather to cultivate some understanding as to where so many on the left are coming from, particularly the younger ones.
For days, images of blood red skies have filled our social media feeds as fires consume the states of Washington, Oregon, and California, and the immediate reaction of loyal democratic voters and pundits is to simply call for us to vote, as though it’s supposed to be some source of comfort that the alternative to a climate science denying president is a pro-fracking corporatist who explicitly said nothing would fundamentally change. As liberals in the generations before us have done, we are expected to swallow our pride, be gracious in our defeat, and embrace Joe Biden as the nominee without acknowledging what we stand to lose in the aftermath.
When I say that the left loses either way, I am not just talking about Bernie Sanders or a single presidential campaign, but more importantly the consequences. I’m not talking about any typical election that liberals are used to, in which they are able to shrug off the loss and just hope for better next time. It’s hard not to digest the way virtually everything is crumbling and realize that for my generation, we are rapidly losing the luxury of even having a next time. Not only that, but those in positions of power seem to have a vested interest in crushing any reason for hope we might have.
When I say the left loses either way, I’m not just talking about this election. I’m talking about a planet that’s slipping away from us, and the chance to have a world we aren’t terrified to bring our children and grandchildren into. I’m talking about chances of being able to retire with dignity, and have decent paying jobs. I’m talking about the opportunity to have guaranteed healthcare for everyone that has now been set back an untold number of years, regardless of who wins.
My undeniable sadness and anger has resulted in probably justifiable accusations of being cynical, but it happens to be one of those times where it is just difficult not to be.
While there are a multitude of disconnects between the liberal loyal democratic party voters and the new emerging left, one is that for us young leftists, we don’t just want something to vote for as opposed to just something to vote against, we need it. Four more years with no change is one that my generation objectively cannot afford so yes, a number of us have taken this 2020 election particularly hard. There is an incredible amount of frustration, anger, pain, and even fear. Fear not only of four more years of Trump, but fear of what the future we are inheriting will look like after four more years of more of the same. If I’m being honest it’s been next to impossible not to take the outcome of this primary, and the total disregard of what it means for my generation and the ones who come after us personally.
Given everything we have at stake, how can we not?
Having said that, we also cannot afford to wallow in the anger and frustration any more than we can afford to wait four more years. As significant as this election was, it should go without saying that we need to channel that resulting energy into something productive. We may have lost the battle, but there is still a war to be waged. If the time has passed to beg for our rights, it’s time to organize and take them.