If I were a progressive candidate, Id take positions because they were right, not just because they were safe, and damn the political consequences. If because I did so I lose, well then I lose. Hell, this is no time for caution. This is no time for candidates who are technocratic and careful. This is a time for candidates who are passionate, and bold, and brave.
If I were a progressive candidate, Id speak to voters hopes, their worries, and to what gives them despair late at night. And if I didnt know, Id be damn sure to find out by asking them directly, not inferring from polls. Voters ask only that candidates know who they are, what they think, what they need, and what their rights are. They ask that candidates care more about people than about what they think. They need candidates who will say to them: "You and me both, pal."
If I were a progressive candidate, Id give my best answers to the real questions on voters minds. My God, who the hell really cares about gay marriage and flag burning? Folks across America are asking: "How will we prosper? What will make us secure? What will happen if my family loses our health care? How will we afford to send our kids to college? How will we afford to save for our retirement?"
If I were a progressive candidate, Id speak not out of hopelessness, but out of hope. Hope is more sustaining than fear. Id present a clear vision for the future, a fresh agenda of new ideas, rather than a stale litany of old tired ones. Id help people to imagine more ambitiously what we can do together, and to realize what we can never do apart.
If I were a progressive candidate, Id criticize without sounding as if I wanted America to fail. Id describe what I love about America, and then talk about what I want to do to make her better. While Americans are proud of their country, they are not blind to her shortcomings. But tell them how awful she is, or patronize their pride, and you can forget about ever being elected.
If I were a progressive candidate, Id mobilize and persuade, rather than continue only to mobilize the persuaded. Lets face it, there is no great untapped reserve of liberals and progressives out there that well is producing as much as it ever did and ever will. Its time to explore for new sources of political energy.
If I were a progressive candidate, Id run on a platform that would Make America Safe, Rebuild America First, Make Work Pay, Strengthen Health Care, Educate Children Well, Provide Tuition Relief, Protect Retirement Security. Create New Energy, and Save Our Environment. Lets keep it simple, folks. These are the things that matter.
If I were a progressive candidate, Id champion a just society that doesnt discriminate based on gender, race, orientation or creed. Id champion an opportunity society that makes the American dream real for every American who reaches for it. Id champion a secure society, but one where our security is found most in the health, education, courage, and innovation of the American people.
Id champion a government of the Have-Nots, not the Haves. Id champion an America where government doesnt turn its back on its own people. Id champion an America whose great strength its people work together once again to build a stronger, smarter, healthier and safer nation.
For though America is a great nation, a nation cannot remain great unless it remains good, and prosperous. A nation cannot remain prosperous unless its people work tirelessly together to keep the scales of justice balanced for all, the halls of learning wide enough for all, the advances of science available to all, and the avenues of opportunity open to all.