Our present nightmare arises from the sad circumstance that we lefties, following the disappointing 2016 election result, failed to champion a progressive agenda in any meaningful way.
We failed to see any good in an anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian, anti-war election result, choosing only to see racism, ignorance, and hate (much of which was sheer projection, coming from the most conservative and bigoted sectors of our own party — the ones who didn’t blink when the Clintons spent the 2008 primary race-baiting Barack Obama and trafficking in a little Birtherism; the ones oblivious to The New Jim Crow and President Obama’s expansion of the neocon agenda).
We failed to congratulate our anti-establishment counterparts on the right, and thank them for defeating two extraordinarily destructive and toxic political dynasties, the Bushes and Clintons, who together had ushered in an age of corporatized American neo-fascism (or “Inverted Totalitarianism,” as the late, acclaimed political theorist, Sheldon Wolin, termed it).
We failed to use the resulting goodwill to rally Trump’s base and the sensible center to push our new president to make good on the few excellent promises he made, which put him consistently to Sec. Clinton’s left: repealing NAFTA, rapprochement with Russia, and restoring Glass-Steagall (and Clinton’s favored/“gold standard” TPP promised to subvert not just banking regulations, but virtually all government regulations).
Instead, we lefties had a self-indulgent, hypocritical, Identity Politics-laden meltdown and comported ourselves like a rabble of Tea Party maniacs, upset with a legitimate election result — and spouting evidence-free claims about “Russian hacking.”
That was hugely gullible of us, not seeing that blaming a cartoonishly vilified Vladimir Putin was the best way to not examine the rigged primary… and push Donald Trump further to the right, on matters of war. (The neocons had bet big on Hillary Clinton, only to find themselves scrambling to co-opt Trump’s presidency in the ensuing months.)
Today’s left is teeth-gnashing, hair-rending miserable because we have failed to stand up for our purported values. Yet again. And the right is reaping the dividends. Yet again.
By and large, we have let the usual suspects in the corporate MSM talk us into accepting a voter-disenfranchising, neoconservative, neo-McCarthyist “Democratic Party” — consumed with conspiracy theories, impeachment fantasies, and war, war, war — just as progressive politics has reached unprecedented popularity across the country.
Bernie’s democratic socialist agenda has been embraced by strong majorities of Americans, giving any liberal party an easy path to defeating Trump and the GOP in 2018 and 2020 — yet the Democrats continue to spurn that path and marginalize Sen. Sanders, the most popular politician in the country. They denounce the progressive policy wish list, including Medicare-for-All, using classic right-wing talking points (“government takeover”).
Imagine how miserable we’re going to be after the 2018 “Democratic sweep” turns out to be just another hollow fantasy spun by politicians, pundits, and infotainers whose only purpose is to contain the left.