The Progressive Path Forward

credit: iStock/Suppachok Nuthep
  • Immigration reform
  • Protection for the environment
  • Prison reform
  • Policing and judicial equity for minorities
  • Better gun legislation
  • Abortion rights
  • Increasing income and wealth equity
  • The senate, where every state, no matter how small its human population, gets the same two votes.
  • The process for amending our constitution, which requires approval by all but twelve of our fifty states.

1. Patience and Strategy

This is not a plan that will achieve all of its results in a single election cycle, or perhaps even a couple of them.

2. A Sympathetic President

My plan doesn’t require our president to be an active supporter or leader, but we need to elect a president who will not obstruct progress.

3. A Focus on Demonstrable Results and Broad Positive Impacts

While working on all of this, progressives need to focus on demonstrable results that will produce felt benefits for a large majority of the population.

4. Policy Formulation and Coordination at the National Level

In We Are Indivisible Greenberg and Levin summarized the work of the Koch brothers by saying:

5. Coordinated Implementation at the State and Local Levels

National leaders — including, but not necessarily limited to, elected officials — then need to plan and implement — working with and through selected local elected officials — a coordinated rollout of the target policies and legislation in left-leaning states and cities. This can include pilot efforts in regions that are early adopters, possibly followed by suitable modifications, and then by implementation in late adopters. Note that this will require progressive majorities at the local level, but not at the national level.

6. Cooperation, Not Competition, Between Progressive Population Centers

When Amazon conducted a nationwide search for new headquarters, states and cities were falling all over themselves to see who could offer Amazon the sweetest deal and the largest tax incentives. But why let big companies force us to compete with one another, allowing them to walk away with sweetheart deals, and leaving the winners with buyer’s remorse? Instead, why not work together to come up with reasonable terms, and then let companies pick cities based on the actual attributes of the cities, and the companies’ own lists of priorities? This way cities and citizens win, and big companies can’t bully us into accepting terms that leave local governments with all of the problems, without the tax base needed to solve any of them.

7. Intentional Distribution of Work

And as long as progressives are cooperating, why don’t we work together to encourage large companies to move work to areas of the country that need it? This would not only help the people in those communities, it would help to expand our progressive base to new parts of the country. Why do all of our large, successful metropolitan areas feel like they need to endlessly continue their own growth? Is this really what their citizens want? Or is it just something that makes their political leaders wealthier and more powerful?

8. Success Stories

The advantage held by progressives is that, unlike the conservatives, we actually want to do things that will benefit most people. So, unlike the conservatives, we don’t need to keep any of this a secret. No, instead we need to shout it from the rooftops. We can let everyone know what we’re planning, and what we’re doing, and how it’s turned out.

9. Real Competition between Progressives and Conservatives

But of course, if we’re going to talk about how well the progressive agenda is faring, we need to compare and contrast it with something else.

  1. Alaska — 3 electoral votes
  2. Arkansas — 6 electoral votes
  3. Idaho — 4 electoral votes
  4. Mississippi — 6 electoral votes
  5. Missouri — 10 electoral votes
  6. Nebraska — 5 electoral votes
  7. North Dakota — 3 electoral votes
  8. Oklahoma — 7 electoral votes
  9. South Dakota — 3 electoral votes
  10. Utah — 6 electoral votes
  11. Wyoming — 3 electoral votes

The Bottom Line

Progressives tend to be united in their resistance to Trump and the current GOP, but tend to fragment themselves over everything else. But our nation and our world cannot stand another round of seesawing back and forth between progressives and conservatives, leaving us deadlocked more often than not, unable to make any real progress. What we need instead is a viable, forward-looking strategy that will work consistently over the long haul, making real progress along the way.

Chief Practopian at The Practical Utopian

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