Why Liberals Cannot Afford To Apply Ideological Purity Tests

by Richard Schloss

Cities will vote Democratic no matter what, so Democrats can afford to be ultra-progressive when they campaign there. But, as Hillary found out, you can’t just win in all the urban areas and lose everywhere else. You also can’t run as a far-left progressive in a red state that’s not heavily urbanized.

Liberals cannot afford to apply “ideological purity tests” to candidates in the Deep South or Midwest if we are to have any hope of taking the House and/or Senate.

Democrats recently pulled off stunning upsets in deep red Alabama, and in a “safe” Republican district in Pennsylvania, because they were willing to tack to the Center, where they picked up moderate Republicans and independents disgusted with Trump.

Make no mistake: if they had espoused the same ultra-progressive ideas that win in places like New York and San Francisco, they would have lost by 20 or 30 points. “So what?” I hear some of you saying. “They might as well BE Republicans.”

With all due respect, that’s horse shit. Once in office, they will almost certainly drift back to the left — but they can’t do this unless they win in the first place — and you can rest assured that no Republican is going to govern as a centrist, much less a progressive.

If you don’t believe me, look at what happened with Kirsten Gillibrand, who was considered a “conservative Democrat” when she represented a red upstate New York district — but she used that support to win a Senate seat, and she’s now one of our most progressive Senators. And no, she’s not a “corporatist,” unless her voting record consistent with reigning in corporate excesses is just a clever ruse.

Holding out for people who sing all the right progressive notes when Trump and the GOP are rapidly phasing in their 21st-century American version of fascism is madness.

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Posted by on March 18, 2018. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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11 Responses to Why Liberals Cannot Afford To Apply Ideological Purity Tests

  1. jess Reply

    March 18, 2018 at 11:39 am

    I picked up my rental units mantra and have said it often. Vote blue no matter who. I have not and likely will never vote for a republican for anything, not even dog catcher.

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      March 18, 2018 at 11:44 am

      I agree Jess and I like the slogan: Vote Blue No Matter Who!

      • jess Reply

        March 18, 2018 at 12:00 pm

        Especially my dad Mike, mom was a dem but she was a nice quiet little Japanese/white woman that would never get very upset, unless it was at her beloved Jessica Marie….. I got my hate of Reagan from my dad, well started with my dad and I researched him after the fact and said, ayup I hate him even more now 🙂 He hated Reagan with a passion, for everything he did to fuck up California when he was in office here and took that little experiment nationwide.

        • Neil Bamforth Reply

          March 18, 2018 at 12:17 pm

          Not to mention ‘Bedtime For Bonzo’ 😜

      • Glenn R. Geist Reply

        March 18, 2018 at 2:59 pm

        Ah – shouldn’t that be ‘whom?’

        • jess Reply

          March 18, 2018 at 3:02 pm

          It does not rhyme the same way 🙂

  2. Neil Bamforth Reply

    March 18, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Albeit American politics sometimes bewilders me, I like the cut of your jib.

    The ‘central ground’ in politics is amazingly underpopulated in Blighty too.

    Assuming the political centre in the USA means the same as over here, it’s where our political leaders need to be…or where most of us would like them to be.

    There’s waaaaay too much far left and far right stuff going on.

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      March 18, 2018 at 11:51 am

      I actually find myself agreeing with you there Neil. Let’s all move to the center and see how that works out. If it doesn’t we can retreat to our respective corners and wait for the bell.

      • Neil Bamforth Reply

        March 18, 2018 at 12:15 pm


  3. Bill Formby Reply

    March 18, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    The only problem with being a centerist is that when your have someone like Trump in office the center actually moves to the right. It is like riding on a boat these days and there is so much weight so far to the right you start to look kindly toward folks who just normally on the right. I mean who would have thought I would be pulling for Corker from Tennessee. It reminds me of an old phrase, “I will hit you with so many rights you will beg for a left.”

  4. Shirley Reply

    March 18, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    It’s the same way here in Britain. This one doesn’t like this candidate because he or she doesn’t go far enough, or too far on one issue or another so the arms get crossed and the chin comes out, and that’s that. Makes no sense, because there’s no compromise.

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