The One Lie Democrats Have to Stop Telling
There's a kind of lie that only works for Republicans, no matter how many times Democrats try.
It's a sort of relabeling, to give the people what they want, but only on paper.
Trump is morally bankrupt? No problem--just call him "Christian" without any evidence, and the evangelicals will love him. In fact, by the middle of his first term, the entire Republican establishment will be using messianic language to describe him.
Not a single Republican in Congress believes in fiscal responsibility, small government, or the rule of law anymore? It's fine--just call them "conservative," and the whole party will pretend no change has occurred.
Today, I saw an op-ed piece trying to position Joe Biden as "progressive" because he once did something nice in the 1980s. The kind of lie we're bound to see a lot more of in the coming weeks. It was almost a word-for-word redux of all the bad spin surrounding Hillary Clinton in 2016. And we all know exactly how that turned out.
If you are a Democrat, and you believe the party's future should lie in adopting the the pre-Tea Party politics and platforms of the G.O.P. in hopes of peeling off enough "independent" votes to win--well, make your case. You and I would disagree, but at least then the disagreement would be honest.
No one who voted for the Iraq war is progressive. No one who voted for DOMA is progressive, nor is any champion of American drone strikes. No one who worked for an administration that set a record number of deportations is progressive. No one who actively courts Wall Street for campaign dollars is progressive. No one who rails against America's youth is progressive.
Voters saw through this in 2016. Any progressive candidate would have destroyed Trump in a landslide. Clinton barely won the popular vote, and lost the electoral vote because she couldn't energize the base enough, and she just didn't care about industrial states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Just calling her progressive was not enough. Everything that has happened to America since January 20, 2017 is the result.
Iowa and New Hampshire are coming. Then Nevada and South Carolina. Then Super Tuesday. The candidates are lining up pretty much exactly as they did in 2016, with the Dem establishment repackaging and throwing its weight behind the neolib dynasty candidate, and the actual progressives are polling neck and neck with him anyway. An old truism, often assigned to Einstein, claims, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results." Let's not lock ourselves into the same mistakes as 2016. Let's not fall for the same lies. We're Democrats. We can do better.