Barring impeachment or resignation, Donald Trump is in position to ram his agenda down our throats at least until January 2019. The House is firmly in Republican control, and the GOP has just enough seats in the Senate to rubberstamp all but the most controversial legislation he proposes.
Trump and the GOP are intent on repealing Obamacare, gutting Social Security, killing PBS, and defunding Planned Parenthood. They’ve already put one justice on the Supreme Court, and we seemed destined for a war in North Korea.
This is truly a nightmarish scenario for America democracy, and the left has plenty of blame for the situation we find ourselves in. Yes, I know this will anger plenty of liberals and progressives, but many of them are responsible for our present clusterfuck.
I’m not just talking about the people who refused to vote for Hillary Clinton, or voted for Jill Stein out of spite or Russian manipulation in 2016. We didn’t arrive here overnight, this is the result of years of apathy and/or armchair activism.
We didn’t lose seats in Congress or at the state level just because of Republican gerrymandering and other dirty tricks. As easy as it is to blame the GOP, racism and everything else, we have plenty of blame to spread around on our side.
Democrats have had a hard time connecting with voters in swing states and Republican territory for decades. There has been plenty of elitism from establishment liberals in places like San Francisco or New York, people who look down on country folks as being backwards and stupid. I’ve lost track of the times people have dismissed me, a liberal, because I live in the Deep South and don’t line up 100 percent with their ideology.
If I as a gun-owning liberal who prefers East Carolina BBQ over tofu feels out of touch with the establishment elite, imagine how centrist or even moderately conservative Democrats must feel when they encounter national political figures on the rare day when one of them shows up in a place like Louisiana?
As much as it pains me to say it, the Democratic Party is mostly unwilling and unable to compete in red states, and they don’t seem to care. In 2015, John Bel Edwards won the governor’s race in Louisiana, but that was only because he was a conservative Democrat who was running against a very unpopular Republican, David Vitter – after 2 terms of the much-hated Bobby Jindal.
I guarantee you that most people outside of Louisiana or Democratic leadership know that Louisiana has a Democrat as governor. Yes, he is a conservative Democrat, but Governor Edwards expanded Medicaid, he is for LGBT rights and equal pay. That’s incredibly progressive for Louisiana, or any other red state. This is the type of candidate who would win elections in other places across the South, yet you won’t see the DNC line up to fund people like him, if they even bothered to run for state offices.
I know that issues like gun regulations, raising the minimum wage and other progressive issues play well in reliably blue states. However, these ideas are so far from priorities in red states when they’re dealing with rampant poverty and crumbling infrastructure.
Due to the culture wars and the lack of a 50 state strategy, Republicans have a stranglehold on state governments. This allows them to swing presidential elections and stack state legislatures with motivated right-wing conservatives while liberals sit on the sidelines wringing their hands over a lack of representation.
There are people like my friend Lamar White Jr who are trying to turn the tide against the far-right here in Louisiana and elsewhere. They managed to get John Bel Edwards elected and they’re fighting like hell with real journalism and holding politicians accountable, but we can’t do this on our own.
There is a great opportunity to harness a backlash against Trump’s pathetic poll numbers, even with moderate Republicans. But this can’t be done without national help, and for blue state liberals to step out of their comfort zones. In special elections in Kansas and Georgia, Democrats are close to taking back reliably conservative seats in Congress, thanks to national help.
We need liberals to spend less time on social media bullshit, stop sharing fake news, stop signing Moveon.org petitions, and focus on taking the fight to the far-right in their backyards. You may not get candidates like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders from Mississippi or Alabama, but I’ll gladly take John Bel Edwards over Ted Cruz or Bill Cassidy any day of the week.