What Liberals Can Learn from the NRA

Why the left must abandon identity politics and focus on income inequality

An essay by comedian/author Matt Ruby. Want more? Sign up here to get my newsletter.


“Income inequality” is only a priority for white, cis men. The rest of us have bigger problems.

Spotted that on Twitter. And I get it. But lemme channel my inner Bernie bro to try to break it down.

This is about winning. You want to win, right? Because right now, Republicans have President, Senate, House, and majority of Governors and state legislatures. This sucks. The left’s current approach is a failure.

On the other hand, look at the NRA. They win all the time. Why? Their solidarity on one issue and one issue only: gun rights. This single-minded focus gives them victory after victory.

So what is the one issue the left should rally around? Climate change, women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, health care, LGBT Rights? These are all important/worthy causes. But single-issue focus on any of these will lead to more losing. The votes just aren’t there. At least not yet.

The right answer? Income inequality. This is the issue that can put progressives back in power. The country, left and right, is sick of the 1% owning and controlling everything.

This is not saying those other issues are unimportant. It is saying they do not provide a winning, one-issue, NRA-like strategy for progressives.

The left can remain divided (“I want to talk about MY issue”) and keep on losing or it can unite behind the one issue that will galvanize a majority and lead to victory. Plus, focusing on income inequality also greatly impacts most of these other issues in a beneficial way.

Bernie and Elizabeth are trying to show the way. The question: Is the left willing/able to unite and win? If not, the current trend of Republicans controlling everything will continue.

Bottom line: EVEN IF YOU CARE MORE ABOUT ONE OF THESE OTHER ISSUES, FOCUSING ON INCOME INEQUALITY IS THE BEST WAY TO GET WHAT YOU WANT.

EVEN IF YOU CARE MORE ABOUT ONE OF THESE OTHER ISSUES, FOCUSING ON INCOME INEQUALITY IS THE BEST WAY TO GET WHAT YOU WANT.

I’m not saying this is fair or the way it *should* be. I’m just saying it is.

What am I missing?

Sincerely,
A WHITE CIS MANSPLAINER WHO WANTS TO END REPUBLICAN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING


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