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There's but one compelling, existential question for marginalized leftwing politics: will progressive clout be higher or lower when 2015 ends? If not, why not? Imagine the trend when the next inauguration caps another cash-stuffed, election fiasco: how much will the left have to cheer about? Whither the left (or the liberal middle) when Jeb and Hillary or their ilk possess the White House for four or eight years?
Reality is front and center: progressive Democrats can't even match the seditious Tea Party, fronting dozens of primary challenges against entrenched, "inevitable" GOP candidates. Does not the status quo, when notching another victory without fierce opposition, add to its entrenchment?
That dilemma dramatizes our most vexing question: if progressives can't gain ground during today's hard times, full of disasters at home and abroad, then when? If progressives don't gain when the right lurches between disgrace and farce, gloating with lies that scandalize reality, then when? Bright spots surface, but what notable change, especially on income distribution, speaks to unified progressive activism? If politics are truly in "Worse Shape Than We Thought," why aren't progressives gaining ground as
"huge numbers of Americans are now wary of both major political parties and increasingly upset about prospects in the long term. Many are convinced that a few big interests control policy. They crave effective action to reverse long term economic decline and runaway economic inequality, but nothing . . . will be offered to them by either of America's money-driven major parties."
Yankee Firebrands, Notable by Absence
Bottom line: if disorganized progressivism can't leverage this blatant "craving" for action, so much for reform, let alone systemic change. Or finding strong national leadership. Where are our conspicuous, Yankee insurgents, like England's Russell Brand, who call for "revolution" from the outside in? Not sustained inequality, nor unfair taxation, government gridlock, nor police injustice infuse an expanding protest movement that paints all the dots. What articulate, powerful TV interviewer will replace the departing Bill Moyers? What disruptive cable pundit even replaced Keith Obermann? See any new George Carlins lately, blending incendiary satire and politics?
When does a clear-thinking, inspired movement, recalling unified '60's protests, extend the rage against rogue cops stealing more than civil rights from so many minority youngsters? Or serial killers machine- gunning children? Must we wait for Pope Francis' U.S. visit next year to widely indict unbridled greed, speak for the poor, or remind Christians what defines their own stated compassion? There are stalwart leftwing voices, like Amy Goodman, but no unified vanguard awards progressive politics a national stage.