Why Progressives Must Push Democrats, Not Just Bash Republicans

Some folks have expressed exasperation that some progressive voices have spent lots of time pushing Democrats to be better on policy, rather than spending lots of time bashing Republicans. Their theory is that Republicans are the real enemy and Democrats are the real allies, and so therefore, criticizing, pressuring and cajoling Democrats is a destructive waste of time.


But here's the thing: Democrats control 100% of the votes to pass legislation through the House, 95% (57 out of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster) of the votes to pass legislation through the Senate and 100% of the single presidential vote needed to sign legislation into law. They also control the state house, state senate and governorship in states that comprise more than one third of the entire U.S. population. So that means despite the cable news paradigm that attempts to portray every political fight as an epic red-versus-blue battle between Republicans and Democrats, the real fight to pass concrete policy - at least for these two years - is mostly inside the Democratic Party.

Indeed, if most of us in the progressive movement consider ourselves Democrats or allied with Democrats, then Barack Obama was absolutely right when he said, "we are the ones we've been waiting for." We, the Democratic coalition, are the ones who have the overwhelming power to change things, or not change things, and barely a day goes by where we don't see evidence of Democrats - not Republicans - standing in the way of change.

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