DIFFERENCES

One of the main problems a lot of progressives had (and have had for quite a while now) is the Democractic party's seemingly official stance of "Republican Lite" or "We're not them". The Democrats saw what Bill Clinton did, embrace a lot of positions nearer to the middle of the political spectrum, and have completely misunderstood why he did that. Instead of understanding that people really aren't "left" or "right" for the most part, they have beliefs in different areas all over the map, they've tried to totally blur the lines between the two major parties so they can lure people away from the right on maybe a few issues and get them to vote Democratic. As I think the 2004 election showed, that's not going to work. Instead of saying "Hey, those guys suck, vote for us," progressives need to force the Democratic party to say "Hey, here's where we can be better for you." And with the modern Republican party, I don't think that's too hard to do.

When I talk about the Republicans, I'm not talking about the majority of right-thinking Republican voters. I'm talking about the administration and the people in charge of the party who have swung farther to the right than most people would like if they thought about it. What we need to do is highlight that and the differences between them and us (us meaning the Democratic party in terms of elections but really I mean progressives).

The big idealogical difference between modern Republicans and progressives is that Republicans are all about money and progressives are about people. Look at Bush's campaign platform. Once you get rid of the religion and bigotry based agendas (which you're not going to get people to move on, ever), it comes down to money. Their issues were tax breaks, forcing you to move your social security money to the stock market, government spending, tax breaks, reducing corporate oversight/red tape (code for increasing corporate profits), etc. Of course people care about money, it's important. But even if you ignore the fact that none of these issues really benefit anyone but the top 10% and corporations, this is a pretty dry platform. Our issues need to point this out and play up how we are for people. Their issue is paying less for medicine, our issue needs to be maintaining quality of life for the elderly. They go for the pocketbook, we aim for the heart. All the while pointing out clearly even though all they talk about is money, they don't want it to go to us. The fact that almost all of tax cuts pushed through by Bush went to the top 30% or so should have been trumpted around the country by the Democrats and they ignored it. There were vague accusations but the time for vaguery is done. We need to show people in numbers and in stories how we are different. They are giving us all the rope we need to hang them, we just need the guts to tie the knot.