The left loses. Consistently. Almost predictably. Now, we can talk about 1000 reasons as to why the vote is bent, the system is rigged, etcetera, ad nauseam. But I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about why WE lose. what is it that we do that makes it so fucking easy for the right-wing to run roughshod over everything? (Put down your stress ball and just give me a minute. I’m not going to be telling you anything you don’t know, if you’re willing to admit it.)
- We fight with ourselves.
Conservatives* Have a major advantage in unity. Not unity with everyone else. No, as far as they’re concerned the “leftist Marxist Stalinist snowflakes” can walk in to the ocean and die. But voting wise, they vote with almost uniformity. They are party adherent, and will vote in concert like a military drill.
*Conservatives in this context do not mean an average fiscal conservative. It means the right-wing Gestapo that we have come to know and loathe. It is not meant to group moderate or centrist people in with them.
Like North Korean soldiers except a little more totalitarian and rigid.
We however, tend to have more diversity of opinion and thought. This is a good thing, socially. It’s through diverse experience and knowledge that we progress. It’s a major stumbling block for the electoral process though. We can’t come together as effectively.
This is the pre-argument argument for the pre-argument about what to have for lunch.
This fracture leads us to work towards separate goals, and when the time comes to go with the majority choice, unity is grudging and often elusive. In American politics, you have the runners-up sometimes not voting, or even voting for the opposition. In Canadian or other parliamentary systems, you inevitably see multiple left of center parties going up against a single right of center choice. In either case, this merely serves to help the people we DON’T want to be elected, get elected.’
2.) We are lazy about voting.
Conservatives are hyper-motivated to vote. Which, if you think about it is really odd coming from a group of people who primarily believe that God has a plan and that his plan will happen and we can’t stop him. Of course not all of the right-wing are Evangelical Christians, but they do make up a larger portion of it.
God can do anything. Except vote, so we’ll handle that.
By contrast, we need to be wooed to vote. Cajoled. Reminded. Pestered. (don’t “not all liberals” me.) It’s as if civic duty is a horrifying torture, and we do our best to block it out of our minds. Or, we just have no desire to consistently vote because it’s just so gosh darn inconvenient. If stopping the antithesis of everything you believe in doesn’t motivate you to get up off your ass and cast a vote, I don’t know what will.
Midterms? But I just voted for… something… like only 2 years ago.
Turnout matters. When we don’t treat voting as a necessary and crucial aspect of living in our democracies, we hand elected positions to the other side almost by default.
3.) We demand a product that doesn’t exist
There is a naive need for our politicians to be pure as the fresh driven snow. Blameless, spotless, no faults, no flaws. In other words, a figment of our imaginations. I don’t know where we got this ideological sieve from. Nobody really meets up to the expectations, unless we are wilfully blind to some of their flaws. They’re fucking politicians, not cherubs. The right will vote for a bucket of three-week-unflushed toilet water if the right party sticker is smacked on the side. They kind of just did. We lose hard when we are unengaged due to perceived, or even real flaws that pale in comparison to what we end up with.
Item 324, the candidate must wear virginal white after bathing daily in rose-water.
4.) We aren’t willing to put solid work in before demanding our end goal
This is one where the conservatives have an advantage not because of anything THEY do. In fact, they don’t do anything about future goals at all, other than tearing down the rights of others and trying to install a despotic theocracy. But liberals and progressives have a tendency to have no tolerance for the long game, and want everything slid on to their plate immediately. In America, for example, there is demand for single payer healthcare, college tuitions regulated or abolished, and other very, very good goals.
But we don’t wait. We don’t pragmatically choose the options that get us one step closer to the goal. We pout and carry on that we don’t get it now, like spoiled children.
Just finish the house now. Once we’re up there we won’t notice the missing foundation.
This is of course short-sighted, and detrimental to the very progress we seek to make. We need to slow down, and build it brick by brick, even if we don’t live to see it built. If we truly want to make the WORLD a better place, we shouldn’t be primarily focused on what we as individual can get NOW.
All in all, the lack of pragmatism that the left side has is a hard obstacle, born out of ordinarily good intentions and the odd hissy fit. I’m not suggesting we change who we are. Keep being diverse. Keep having lofty goals. Keep demanding better out of our candidates.
But stop expecting it to descend from mount Olympus on the back of a swan to spread gold apples to one and all. Do the work, get the pay off. This is of course, a vast oversimplification. But I don’t think any of the points are inaccurate. We need to do better, for those who come after us.