Opinion | Democrats and progressivism

The 2020 results weren’t the Blue Wave we expected — but it was a step toward progress.

Peyton Downing, Opinions Editor

Close election we just got ourselves through, huh? Democrats got the presidency but lost a couple House seats and the Senate will come down to Georgia senate run-off races.

Now if you’re listening to Democrats like Nancy Pelosi or Abigail Spanberger, you’d think that it was the far-left faction of Democrats that cost America the Blue Wave.

I think Claire McCaskill put it best when she said, “Whether you are talking guns or…abortion…or gay marriage and rights for ‘transexuals’ and other people who we as a party ‘look after’ and make sure they are treated fairly. As we circled the issues we left voters behind and Republicans dove in.”

That’s complete and utter nonsense.

Before I say anything else — if you’re a conservative — this next conversation isn’t for you. I don’t care about your opinions on Medicare-for-all or the Green New Deal. You’ve already proven that anything to the left of John McCain is socialism in your eyes.

First, let me point you toward Democrat voter registration. As pointed out by TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier, when the George Floyd protests kicked off, Democrat voter registration soared.

Defund the police didn’t depress turnout — it made a surge of turnout.

And then comes the races themselves. Surprisingly enough, Progressives took home a lot of wins. Co-sponsors of Medicare For All won swing districts and others like Katie Porter cemented their holds in conservative districts.

But if it wasn’t progressives that cost us the win, what did? Well, it’s fairly simple.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez put it best on Twitter in the days following the election.

“Underinvestment across the board. Some campaigns spent $0 on digital the week before the election. Others who spent did so in very poor ways.”

We need new ways of outreach. We’re not in the Clinton-era anymore — TV and paper ads just don’t go as far as they need to. Old, incrementalist policies don’t excite voters.

People don’t want things to stay the same — they want change. That’s why Trump won back in 2016.

The GOP saw the writing on the wall and went with it to get elected. If we want any form of liberal policies to stay relevant in the future, we need to push harder.

“Moderate” Republicans who want a reason to swap to the Democrats don’t exist — at the very least, not as much as the Lincoln Project wants you to believe.

The People For Bernie Facebook page got three million more interactions than Project Lincoln since the start of this year — without spending a single cent. Or stealing memes from people.

Progressivism sells — a lot.

Politico has an excellent piece discussing the American population of non-voters, and there’s one segment I want to draw attention to here:

“Researchers, for example, detected “passive liberals” as well—people who usually don’t vote but are generally aligned with Democrats when they do […] comprising 41 percent of nonvoters, or about 17 percent of the eligible electorate.”

If we reached out and snagged these voters, we could change the face of America forever. If you think that’s pie-in-the-sky thinking that people aren’t going to register en-masse for progressive ideals, then you’re wrong.

And Stacey Abrams already proved you wrong.

She and other progressives like her are the reason why Georgia is on track to flip blue, by registering voters en masse.

There is a time and place for marginal and incrementalist approaches. But nationally, it’s high time Democrats changed their approach. We won this time — let’s make sure it counts.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.