Every time hear some stupid people trying to hang political losses on something people said or did that supposedly turned off voters, I am always dumbfounded and amazed. SMH. In the aftermath of just concluded 2020 U.S. Elections, and the down ballot losses suffered by the Democratic Party, a Virginia U.S. House of Representatives Democrat, and former CIA officer, Abigail Spanberger, went on the attack in a post-election conference call to blame progressives talk about "socialism" for the loss, and Majority Whip James Clyburn, went on mainstream television to holler at Democratic "sloganeering." Both Spanberger and Clyburn were onloading on the progressive/Left wing of the Democratic Party as somehow the new clear and present danger to winning elections.
"We need to not ever use the words 'socialist' or 'socialism' ever again," Spanberger shouted on caucus call. "Because while people think it doesn't matter, it does matter. And we lost good members because of it." It's this kind of political histrionics that helps to obfuscate the real problems of the party, and a refusal to take responsibility while passing and apportioning blame. Spanberger's tirade was also without foundation, merit or evidence but opined that "scare words" like defunding the police, socialism and other progressive language created a backlash that caused Democrats to lose their supermajority in the House of Representatives.
Instead of doing a thorough and objective analysis - starting with the outstanding need for reconciliation of the various unhappy factions within the party - Spanberger and company chose the easy way out - point fingers and hurl accusations without any facts. So, let me start from the facts: (1) Democrats entered the 2020 election cycle with a slate of presidential candidates all challenging an incumbent president that was and is universally unpopular, and an administration that has bungled the COVID-19 pandemic response with breathtaking incompetence and ineptness. (2) The socio-economic situation was dire with record numbers of Americans out of jobs, and an avalanche of business closings across the board. And (3) Congressional Republicans did little or nothing to curtail or stem the recklessness of a rogue president who routinely abused both the spirit and letter of the U.S. Constitution. That's the political climate of the 2020 presidential elections.
And despite all of this Democrats raised over $1,5 billion in donations from July to September 2020 alone. They raised money in the midst of the racial turbulence triggered by systemic police brutality and the killing of George Floyd and others. Literally thousands of Americans marched in the streets for social justice calling for among other things to "defund the police." In the face of this huge wave of human protests all of the Democrats now Monday morning quarterbacking were conspicuously silent. They said little to nothing because on the backs of this righteous protests and a SOCIAL MOVEMENT demanding change 15 Senate Democrats in close races out raised their Republican challengers by more than $200 MILLION. These are the facts. All of the "socialism is bad" shouting cannot compensate for the fact that Democrats had $1.5 billion in their campaign war chest, and had their "chosen candidate' - a moderate Democrat - at the top of the ticket (not a raging socialist). And, oh yes, with a professional campaign operation to boot, how could the party fail to deal with some isolated, bad messaging utterances by a few select local candidates?
There's also no evidence that down ballot Democrats ran or even articulated anything resembling "socialism." What the blamers are doing is taking a swipe at the progressive wing of the Democratic Party because they are uncomfortable with this group. This is but one of the unresolved issues of the 2016 campaign and the handpicked Democratic National Committee (DNC) leader, Tom Perez, who remained largely hidden during this past political cycle. Insiders say there is a move afoot to replace him with a more youthful, millennial candidate in December. It's also a pre-emptive strike by Nancy Pelosi loyalists against the very real possibility that she could face a serious and credible challenge to her position as Speaker of the House of Representative. I say this because the numbers and facts of the election do not point to "sloganeering" and "socialism" as the reason for the down ballot losses.
Again, the facts: (1) Remember, as the Black Lives Matter street protests this summer reached it height, Democratic voter registration also soared to over 1 million, easily dwarfing that of Republicans during the same time period. (2) in fact, progressive door-knocking helped smash voter turnout records on the Democratic side in key swing states like Michigan, while further down the ballot, all six swing state Democrats who supported the "radical/socialist" idea of guaranteeing health care for all won re-election. (3) Finally, every single co-sponsor of Medicare For All who ran in this election cycle won their race. That's rightevery single one. AND, at the same time 97 of the 98 co-sponsors of the Green New Deal ALL WON THEIR RACES.
All of the above should be enough to refute the utterly baseless claims circulating amongst the center-left flamethrowers in the Democratic Party who want to promote a new agenda and narrative by casting unfounded and unproven aspersions against their real or perceived "Leftist challengers/progressives" in the party. But no amount of shouting, name-calling and deflection will hide the fact that all across America in this election cycle, leftist/progressive policy proposals won - big. Consider the following: Every single bill offering recreational or medicinal marijuana legalization passed, including in deeply red and Republican Montana and Mississippi. Floridians overwhelmingly voted to increase the state's minimum wage to $15, even while Democrats lost the state. Finally, Arizona passed a wealth tax increase (Gasp! Socialism!) on its richest residents to boost local school funding. And Nebraskans overwhelmingly approved a cap on the predatory payday loan interest rates that bury so many poor and working-class families in debt.
2016 should have been a wake-up call for Democrats. Back then the worst presidential candidate in a generation won against the best qualified and prepared Democratic Party candidate also in a generation. The party today still operates with a 1980s mindset. It continues to set aside its own faults. It ignored the fact that in 2016 Hillary Clinton ran a monumentally inept and unprofessional campaign. Unable to stomach (still) the loss, Democrats fell back on promoting ad nauseum the "Russia meddled; Russia did it" narrative that resulted in a weak, House impeachment of Donald Trump, and his acquittal in the Senate that further divided the nation.
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