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Monday, December 26, 2016

Some year-end good news for progressives: We actually made progress in 2016

Bernie Sanders at a November rally on Capitol Hill for economic and social justice. (photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders at a November rally on Capitol Hill for economic and social justice. (photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

2016 is the last gasp for angry white conservatives

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
26 December 16
 

OK, I hear you: Donald Trump is a huge step backward for our country. It was, however, the last gasp for the angry white conservatives. They may have one more national election in them, but the electorate is becoming more progressive. Millennials will lead us in the right direction.

Bigotry is not as big a deal in our schools and playgrounds as it was in the past that many Trump supporters want to return to. Race and gender are not seen as obstacles by our youth. That is one of the reasons Hillary Clinton did not do as well with young people as Bernie. Young women do not fear the glass ceiling like their elders. It’s easy for them to imagine a woman in the White House, so it wasn’t a factor they considered when choosing their candidate.

Of course, African Americans know the presidency is a job they can aspire to and achieve.

The establishment of the Democratic Party erred in ignoring the negatives of a Hillary Clinton candidacy and blocked the candidate who energized their base from receiving the nomination.

The movement that Bernie Sanders awakened is unstoppable.  Many in the establishment are reading the writing on the wall and moving in our direction. Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid are supporting Keith Ellison because they know that progressives have touched a nerve and will continue to build a majority, either as Democrats or in a new party. They know they have to make room in the Democratic Party for the Political Revolution or watch the party fade away.

I know many of you advocate letting the Democratic Party wither on the vine, but I think that would be a mistake. It will take too long to replace it with a party that the American public will take seriously. The best strategic move is to take control of the Democratic Party.

While the country took a step backward in November, progressives went from Dennis Kucinich in 2008, who never made it out of Iowa and New Hampshire, to getting 13 million votes and winning 22 states in 2016. We are on the rise, and if we look forward and continue to organize we can lead the Democratic Party when the demographic shift in the country gives us the advantage.

Donald Trump and his surrogates have said it many times. According to The Hill: “I think this will be the last election if I don’t win,” Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Brody File.” “I think this will be the last election that the Republicans have a chance of winning because you’re going to have people flowing across the border, you’re going to have illegal immigrants coming in and they’re going to be legalized and they’re going to be able to vote, and once that all happens, you can forget it.”

Michele Bachmann echoed Trump’s remarks: “If you look at the numbers of people who vote and who live in the country and who Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to bring into the country, this is the last election when we even have a chance to vote for somebody who will stand up for godly moral principles. This is it,” Bachmann told the radio program.

OK ... This was Trump and Bachman using fear to motivate conservatives to vote, but there is some truth in what they were saying. Donald is wrong that it would take more illegal immigration to change the demographics of the country. According to the Census bureau, in 2055 a majority of Americans will be non-white. Between now and then the minority vote will continue to rise. Forget the identity politics if you want, Generation X is more progressive than their parents. Millennials are even more progressive than Generation X. Our day is coming.

We must continue to build our movement and be prepared to lead when the tipping point hits. Change doesn’t come overnight, but at times it comes quickly. We made more progress in 2016 than we have made in decades.

I know that many of you thought Bernie conceded too soon. The reality is Bernie picks his battles wisely. He knew when to move on to the next fight. The Democratic Party establishment stopped him short of the nomination, but he knew he had built a movement that they wouldn’t be able to hold back forever. He could have directed that movement in the wrong direction. If he had gone third party or Green and even got 15% of the vote, Trump would still be President, and Bernie would be blamed for the Democrats’ loss.

Instead, we find ourselves in a position where Bernie’s choice for DNC chair is a frontrunner. In states around the country, Berniecrats are taking leadership positions in the party. Bernie and the political revolution are stronger today than if they had run a third party campaign that would have been seen as a spoiler. Bernie did what was right for the movement and the country. 

One day when progressives take power, 2016 will be seen as a turning point.



Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

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