The root word of progressive is progress. The take away from this past election has been that the country has realized that a two party system is not conducive to moving forward. The bifurcation of the political arena is exactly what Progressives are fighting against. As we search for a more inclusive and nuanced government, we can not fall into the same trap of excluding those on the right.
This mistake was the cornerstone of Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential run as voters looked for a candidate that held a more detailed and comprehensive understanding of the makeup of America. When we label everything Democrat or Republican, Left or Right, we lose what’s in between. This false dichotomy locks us into a constant battle that stifles creativity. We lose flexibility if we can’t find a common language and common ground to reach our goals.
Obviously, there are policies and actions that the right supports that won’t fit under a Progressive umbrella, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who identifies as Right or Conservative is automatically against all Progressive ideology. Caring about the welfare of others is not unique to the Left. Progressivism is about a global morality, leveraging outreach and compassion politically.
Progress is growth, not just expansion within the bubble.
We often find ourselves fighting the same battles over and over again. If we learned nothing this cycle, we learned that some issues could unify instead of divide. A lot of divisiveness was sown for a political effect this cycle. Especially, around the one issue that unites the vast majority of Americans — the economy. We should have learned from Occupy Wall Street. The 99% vs. the 1% resonated for a reason.
People in the reddest of red states know that the system is rigged against the average person. The problem is that they are handed enough “red meat bad guys” to point at by their media, government officials, and other institutions. We saw Bernie barnstorming Republican strongholds, at will. The same roaring support came from those crowds as they did from New York, California, and Vermont.
We saw that Democrats in elected office are not Progressive. On some issues, they would not even be considered “left.” For instance, thirteen Democratic Senators voted against an amendment to import drugs from Canada. If the ACA is truly in jeopardy, this move could have saved countless lives and millions of dollars, while vastly improving the quality of life for sick Americans.
There is room for Progressive values across the political spectrum. We need to marshal our forces, get our narrative together and be willing to reach out to folks that may not share 100% of our beliefs. Conversation costs nothing. If we believe that most humans care about each other and we want to be an inclusive movement; we must be willing to break bread with anyone.