Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Next Steps for the Left

Adapted from a comment thread on BOPnews which asked "How do we create a governing coalition that can bridge the urban/rural divide?"

Is "bridging the urban/rural divide" what we really want to do?

The way I see it, we can either solidify towards the center of the political spectrum and reach out to middle-American moderates, or we can remake the party as being truly liberal - far more to the left then its core is now - and educate America as to what true liberalism means. The right has been so successful at defining liberalism as a vague folly. If America understood what liberalism really stands for - not what the Republicans say it stands for - then I suspect that [in my own fantasy universe without historical continuity] most Americans would happily identify themselves as liberals.

Look at the silly "Liberalism = Socialism" meme.

We say, "helping the poor, protecting workers' rights, providing financial security for the elderly and working towards enabling universal access to healthcare doesn't make us Socialists" and they reply, "We're all for that, too, we just hate paying for your Mapplethorpe exhibitions."

Somebody had the idea not too long ago to use the word "progressive" instead of liberal, however the right has begun to successfully villify progressive as well.

We need to identify a core handful of issues that we all feel strongly about... Let's say civil rights, healthcare, social security and education for example, and we need to push the hell out of those issues, showing why we [the left] are the only ones who can be entrusted to improve these things in our country, along with how the Republicans have proven historically that they cannot.

Going into this election, I perhaps naively felt that the most important issue was the Bush Administration's contempt for the opinions of the rest of the world. In my heart this remains a big issue, but it appears that it was largely incomprehensible and irrlevant as an issue to the majority of the electorate.

Everybody can relate to civil rights, social security, health care and education and these should be easy issues for a political organization to talk about.

Keep the focus on these types of issues and save repairing America's image abroad for after we are in power again.

The time to start is now.

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