2017-06-22 – They’re calling Jon Ossoff’s defeat in Tuesday’s special election in Georgia a wake-up call for Democrats. Wasn’t Hillary’s defeat last November a wake-up call? Wasn’t GOP stonewalling of Obama’s Supreme Court nomination a wake-up call? Wasn’t George Bush’s defeat of Al Gore a wake-up call? The list goes on and on.
How many times can you snooze a wake-up call?
Here’s the thing. A lot of Democrats are afraid of standing for anything. If they think that a loss was because a campaign was perceived as too far to the left, they move the campaign a little to the right. But that misses the point.
No one will vote for GOP-Lite when they can vote for @RealGOP. It’s as simple as that. Why vote for sniveling cowards when warriors are available?
Now, I have spent the last I-don’t-know-how-long posting blogs arguing for outreach to white working class. Aren’t I now contradicting myself?
These are two completely different things. To the extent we have a vision and a program, we Democrats stand for equality and upward mobility. This means bringing people of color into the middle class, but it also means getting a fair shake for labor. It means an end to redistributing the wealth upward.
My liberal friends are constantly expressing their amazement that white working class voters vote “against their interests.” And it is true that the Democratic program, such that it is, would give a lot of economic benefits to these folks that the GOP doesn’t offer.
But it’s not just the program. Our program is just fine. We don’t have to become GOP-Lite. But we need to have more respect for the people we say we’re going to benefit. And we’ve got to listen to their pain, not ignore it. Treating people with respect and listening should be a sign of strength, not an abandonment of principle.
So when a candidate like Jon Ossoff is smeared by Republicans who say he is just like Nancy Pelosi, the answer should not be to distance himself from her and the party. The answer should be “I’ll be 10 times the threat of Nancy Pelosi!”
Look how many votes our candidates get even when they shrink from their convictions. Wouldn’t a little courage get them over the finish line?
(Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren understand this, but many of their followers do not.)
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