After President Obama won reelection in 2012, I pointed out how progressive ideas did really well when put to the vote by the public on ballot measures. While the Republican party is celebrating their non-surprising gains in the legislative branch, progressive ideas absolutely dominated on the ballot, even in red states.
Taking a look at the 13 initiatives highlighted by CNN, 12 have been decided as of this writing. In only one case did the progressive side lose and even that was not a majority loss (58% approved medical marijuana in Florida, 60% was needed). CNN’s list did not include other victories for progressive thought, such as the legalization of marijuana in D.C. or the lopsided defeat of the North Dakota anti-choice measure. Whether it was marijuana, minimum wage laws, birth control or most other issues, the left won.
The fact is, progressive thought is winning and winning big everywhere in the country, even in the alleged “red states”. But the Republican wins would suggest a different story. How to explain this?
The reasons are many but I’m reminded here of something Bill Maher recently asked of Senator Elizabeth Warren: “Why aren’t there more people who talk like you in the Democratic Party?”
Again, there are a lot of factors at play here but there is little doubt Democrats have been (and many still are) terrible at pointing out what is a progressive position and what is a conservative one on so many issues. And when they fail to do that it not only makes voters ignorant as to who stands where, it takes all the energy out of your base and they will only lackadaisically support you, at best. Seriously, Democratic candidates. If you are going to lose, at least have some guts to speak forcefully about what it is your ideology means to the everyday person. Maybe then you won’t have to watch so many of your candidates lose while so much of your ideology wins.