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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: Tough Love for Democrats

The following post by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from The Bulwark:

Charlie Sykes wrote up some of our conversation on the Bulwark podcase. Nice job by Charlie.

“To even get in the door with many working class and rural voters and make their pitch,” writes Ruy Teixeira, “Democrats need to convince these voters that they are not looked down on, their concerns are taken seriously, and their views on culturally-freighted issues will not be summarily dismissed as unenlightened. With today’s Democratic party, unfortunately, that is difficult. Resistance is stiff to any compromise that might involve moving to the center on such issues.”

Resistance? You don’t know the half of it.

ICYMI: Ruy, who has spent decades as a progressive analyst, joined me on Wednesday’s podcast to talk about his recent articles about the Democrats’ challenges on crime, culture, immigration, economics, and patriotism.

Democrats Must Move to the Center on Cultural Issues

Democrats Must Promote an Abundance Agenda

It’s great stuff, and it’s very much worth your time. (And also quite timely given today’s headlines: Democrats Worry as G.O.P. Attack Ads Take a Toll in Wisconsin.” And: “In key battlegrounds, GOP onslaught of crime ads tightens Senate races.”)

You can listen to our whole conversation here . . . or, if you are a Bulwark+ member, you can listen to the ad-free version here.

Not surprisingly, not everyone is in the mood for this kind of tough love right now. Here’s a comment from one Bulwark+ listener:

We are where we are now – it’s a month til the midterms. So:


2. Make the best of the situation with the candidates we have to defeat the lunatic GOP slate and save our democracy from these racist ass terrorists.

As much as I appreciate the sentiment, I’m afraid there will not be any shutting up anytime soon.

Some clarification also seems to be in order: It’s not our role to be cheerleaders or flacks; others can do that. Our job is to tell you the truth and give our best analysis, especially if we think we might be sailing at flank speed into an iceberg. With all due respect, if you want a safe space, or a rah-rah for our side site, you really ought to look elsewhere.

And here’s the thing about Ruy’s tough love: he’s saying these things because, unlike too many of his fellow Democrats, he actually does think we face an existential crisis . . . and he is trying to explain how not to lose to what our listener calls “these racist ass terrorists.”

That’s what makes Ruy’s warnings so important — and urgent. If you haven’t read his stuff, his latest piece is a good place to start. His advice: “Embrace patriotism and don’t apologize for it.”

That’s the creed of ordinary Americans even if many activist Democrats reject it. Illustrating this, a survey project by the More in Common group was able to separate out a group they termed “progressive activists” who were 8 percent of the population (but punch far above their weight in the Democratic party) and are described as “deeply concerned with issues concerning equity, fairness, and America’s direction today. They tend to be more secular, cosmopolitan, and highly engaged with social media”.

These progressive activists’ attitude toward their own country departs greatly from not just that of average Americans but from pretty much any other group you might care to name, including average nonwhite Americans. Black, Hispanic and Asian Americans, in fact, are highly likely to be proud to be Americans and highly likely to say they would still choose to live in America if they could choose to live anywhere in the world. In contrast, progressive activists are loathe to express these sentiments. For example, just 34 percent of progressive activists say they are “proud to be American” compared to 62 percent of Asians, 70 percent of blacks, and 76 percent of Hispanics.

Here’s some more tough love from Ruy:

Exit take: The tough love will continue until morale improves.

One comment on “Teixeira: Tough Love for Democrats

  1. Watcher on

    Courting Charlie Sykes and joining the American Enterprise Institute are excellent ways to make left of center people take you seriously.


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