The Monday Morning Teaser

For a long time, I’ve been pointing to conservative violence and conservative violent rhetoric. So it was a shock to hear that someone I probably would have agreed with on a lot of issues had gone to the park where the Republican congressional baseball team was practicing and started shooting.

Public shootings should be wake-up calls, and so I spent a big chunk of this week thinking about what people like me need to wake up to. As usual, I think conservatives went overboard in their responses, acting as if violence were a purely liberal problem they have nothing to learn from. I don’t see any reason to give in to that view, and yet I don’t want to dodge the issue with the kind of yeah-but-the-other-side-is-worse response that we hear far too often from both sides. I still think the other side is worse, but so what? That doesn’t absolve us from working on our piece of the problem.

The result of that meditation is this week’s first featured post, “Political Violence is Our Issue Too”. It should be out shortly.

The other thing that caught my attention this week was the Virginia gubernatorial primary, which was supposed to be a neck-and-neck battle for the future of the Democratic Party between an establishment candidate endorsed by all the top Virginia Democrats and an upstart progressive supported by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The establishment candidate won easily.

That outcome cemented a set of doubts that has been growing in my mind for some while: I keep hearing the argument that the progressive revolution has all the youth and the energy and is the wave of the future, and that the out-of-touch centrist establishment just needs to get out of the way. But I wonder: When is all that youth and energy going to start translating into votes?

Not being all that young myself, I’ve lived through a lot of liberal crusades. From McGovern to Nader to Kucinich, I keep running into the delusion that the Left is far more popular than it actually is. So with regard to today’s progressive movement, I’m in a prove-it-to-me mood. Somebody’s going to have to win something, preferably something the establishment can’t win, before I’m going to take all this rhetoric seriously.

I think about the Tea Party, and about Trump, who I regard as their candidate. Nobody got out of the way to make room for them. They took over the Republican Party by winning elections. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable test. Anyway, much more of that argument will appear at around 10 EDT in the second featured post “Why I’m Still Skeptical about the Progressive Revolution”.

Look for the weekly summary to be out about noon.

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Comments

  • Jessica  On June 19, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Regarding the VA primary results, I think that Tom Perriello is not quite the progressive that he is often billed as. He voted against Dodd-Frank, and supported the Stupak amendment to the ACA. Ralph Northam has a long history with the VA Democratic party and is the establishment choice for sure, but he is more progressive than Perriello on a number of issues, most notably women’s reproductive rights. I consider myself a progressive, and I voted for Northam.

  • Stan Buchanan  On June 19, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    I’ve read several opinion pieces lately about how the Tea Party seemed to come out of nowhere, took over the GOP, and is constantly busy out-organizing its opponents. But the Tea Party was not a genuine grass-roots organization. It was and is instead an Astro-turf or artificial turf organization. It began as a project, as I recall, of the Koch brothers and their collaborators, and continues to reap millions of dollars from right-wing sources.

    The contrast, then, is between a well-funded movement and one that’s not–and not whether one is more popular than the other. And it’s very doubtful that a true leftist candidate–and Sanders is just mildly to the left–would ever garner such support.

    (And of course the recent voter suppression efforts of the GOP have been successful in electing otherwise unelectable candidates to legislatures across the nation.)

    There aren’t any easy solutions to this. Either the more or less centrist candidates usually offered up by the Democratic Party are going to have to produce and campaign for a wildly popular set of policies that would overwhelm the effects of money in politics; or legal and constitutional changes will have to be made to nullify the effects of “big money” in our political system; or both.

    • MD  On June 20, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      Issue One is working to “nullify the effects of ‘big money’ in our political system.” Former elected officials, both Democrat and Republican are involved. More info at issueone.org

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