Editor’s note: This article was submitted prior to November 6, 2018.
As I observe the scenic western part of our nation via rail, I cannot help but be astounded by the impact of the 2018 elections. It is one thing to see people talk about the presidential elections as the top of the ticket is the sexiest thing you can ask for in any election cycle, but this midterm is radically different. People are not just talking about the House races and whether it will go to the Democrats or stay in Republican hands, no, they are talking about state attorney general races, gubernatorial races, and even their local races in their communities.
As I sit watching some of the most beautiful vistas race by, I cannot help but overhear a conversation occur about how dire the consequences will be if the nation does not elect a healthy majority in the House at the very least. Then the topic, to my astonishment, is changed to their attorney general race in the state of New York. I hear anger over the loss of Zephyr Teachout, how the state Democrat Party for New York is “criminally corrupt” and needs to be investigated. Did you happen to catch what is so curious about this conversation that was overheard? This nation desperately needs the Democrats to win yet one of the strongest Democratic state parties outside of my beloved California is “corrupt.” It’s an interesting paradox at the very least.
This problem, this paradox, is at the heart of the issue facing this country: binary rationales dictating that the Republican Party is leading this nation down a fascist path so the “only alternative” is the equally disheartening and corporate-owned Democratic Party. People legitimately believe that they are saving the republic from damnation by voting Democratic.
Unfortunately, with the decks stacked against any outside political parties, the ability to vote for a true progressive untainted by an association to the Democratic Party is extremely limited. This is why simply voting Democrat should not be a resting point; it should not be seen as “victory” nor a completion point. We have to vote in our respective states for the candidates that will bring checks to the Trump White House as a vital first step, but in no way is it a solution to the issues.
This 2018 campaign season has not been about voting for ideals, policies, or platforms but for voting for either your anger at the President of the United States OR voting because you have been positioned to be terrified of everything that is not like you. Fear versus anger — that is an emotionally driven election cycle and that leaves all of these candidates able to do whatever they want because all they campaigned on was either anger or fear.
This election cycle has been completely devoid of talk on actual immigration reform, how Americans do not feel the uptick in the economy, ending institutional racism, and getting all women (not just the white ones) paid equally for the work they do. It has not been about the terrifying threat that the environment poses and how we must shift now to green energy or be a doomed species. This has not been about foreign military interventionism nor has it been about this country interfering in democratically elected Latin American governments. No, this is about two basic concepts that should not be a factor in an election: fear vs. anger.
I have just scratched the surface on the plethora of issues that exist, but if I continued to write about what this election has failed to address, I would need to turn this into a blog because this would cease to be an article. So here we sit, the Sunday before the 2018 midterms with voting for either party based on a very basic emotion, either fear or anger, and that is no way to change this country for the American People. As a Progressive or a Leftist, this election cycle has had to have driven you absolutely mad, with good reason. Before you hypothetically go off the deep end, let me be a voice that tethers you to reality.
Our policies are being heard.
I know, you are going to want to shout at me, “Wait a minute! The Democrats are running like Democrats and they do not represent us!” You are correct in that assertion; I’m not even debating that talking point. What I will say is that the party, to survive, has had to adopt things like single payer, talk of abolishing ICE, and talk of a federal jobs guarantee, among other issues, with inequality that is race- or sex-based. These are the first steps to bringing down the current political system as we know it.
It has taken since the first American election of 1789 to get us into this mess. We all see the real issues of corruption, misrepresentation, and the corrosive nature to our rights that the Duopoly represents. It is going to take more than the 2016 and 2018 election cycles to help break the programming instilled in the American electorate to see past a very flawed two-party system. We see how the Democrats pay lip service time and time again to the real issues of racism, sexism, economic inequality, LGBTQ+ rights, education reform, and immigration reform that talks a good talk but in the end never materializes. We see through the cheery “promises” made and to the harsh reality of what actually happens, which is next to nothing when the rubber meets the road.
This infuriates us when we see lemmings scream out, “vote Blue, no matter who!” It is utter nonsense that brought us people like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who, despite allegations of Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulting potentially several women, still voted with Republicans to confirm an absolutely unqualified SCOTUS nominee. Vote Blue, no matter who, is the dying mantra of a party that is so out of touch with its base that such a stupid mantra could exist. It is perplexing to watch a party that has been owned by the oligarchs for so long that it cannot embrace a basic right that all Americans embrace: Medicare for All. Democrats fume when you point to the numerous issues in which the Democrat Party votes in lockstep with the Republican Party. They become enraged when you attack Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi, who have not had the courage to take on a people-centric bill and get it over the hump in the last 20 years. Both of these fossilized “leaders” essentially got their positions by waiting in line, not shifting the paradigm. But it’s ok, all of this is coming to an end.
It is just not ending tomorrow, unfortunately. The key is to vote however you need to now to combat the fascism of the Republican Party. On Wednesday, however, you pick right up and be a part of the grassroots efforts to form viable third parties. Continue to hold politicians to their promises, continue to run for office or to support the Progressives or Leftists that run in your communities. Continue to point out that the Democratic leadership is ancient, owned, and out of touch with our people and the needs of all Americans. Do not become disheartened by the current situation; we have caused a fracture in the Democratic Party between those that want to help all Americans and those that seek to be in the employ of the oligarchy. That is no small feat as both parties have all but an iron hold on the election process, but we are chipping away at a process that has been around since the formation of this country. It is going to take time; the key is to not give up on the process.
Related: The End of the Duopoly is Near
Beware of the grifters and know who they are. Be aware that our movement is people-powered and, with that, grifters seeking fame or wealth pop up all over the place. Do not allow them to go untested, do not just passively agree with them on Twitter, Snapchat, or Facebook, point out their hypocrisies and do not allow them to gain a foothold in our movement. But also remember that not everyone who disagrees with you is a “grifter”; you just disagree.
To be a Progressive or a Leftist does not mean that you agree on every single issue, it means that you agree on a majority of issues together. For example, I am a Marxist who disagrees with the Second Amendment. There are a great number of Marxists who adamantly oppose my position, but I do not call them anything other than Marxists because they agree with me on a majority of other issues. The Progressive/Left needs to stay unified as we seek to end the duopoly and not cannibalize each other over various issues. The beauty of this movement is that if you disagree with where we are going, you have multiple platforms in which to make your case and be heard.
As I had witnessed on the train, people are waking up to our argument, but it is going to take time to show them the reality of how we can take power back from the duopoly/oligarchy. We cannot expect everyone to instantaneously jump on our train because they have been trained to believe that any vote outside of the duopoly is a wasted vote. We have to exercise superhuman patience and be educated in our arguments against those that do not understand. We are squaring off against the wealthy and established political class. They have had the money and the years to drive their agenda into the conscience of the American voter. Stay on point, always lay out facts that are verifiable, and never back down.
This election cycle that has been all Id and no Ego has left many of us frustrated. It has been disheartening watching progressive candidates who, in theory, are finally the closest thing that represents us throw their lot in with the establishment Democrats. Yet, as frustrating as this all is, it is a sign that what we are doing is working. Yes, we don’t have a strong Green, PIP or DSA Party to represent us yet, but it is coming. Yes, most of us are stuck voting for a Democrat in our states, but they have had to come to us begging and pleading after dismissing us in 2016. We are making an impact. The most important thing to remember is that the faulty system we have labored under for so long has had a 229-year head start; it is going to take time to end that system.
After you vote on Tuesday, remember that your job is not over. Remember that we have to run for office, remember that the electorate is waking up to the reality that we have presented, and remember that we have so much more work to do. In the end, stay factually accurate, stay angry, stay passionate, but overall, stay patient. 2018 is a milestone in what we have been able to do in such a short time; do not give in to the yahoos that are the blue lemmings, don’t allow the GOP fascists an inch of room, and continue to mobilize, speak out, and educate the public on the concepts of more than two parties. Show them policies that will benefit all Americans and will actually make America great for the first time. We have got this; be patient, and on Wednesday, realize we have more work to do.