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Est. April 5, 2002

Nov 19, 2020 - Issue 842
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Now that the 2020 election has concluded, there has been no shortage of commentary on how things played out: It was good for Republicans and bad for Democrats. The Grand Old Party (GOP) has become thoroughly Trumpified. The majority of Democratic voters rejected progressive policies. There was voter fraud in liberal districts. There was voter fraud in conservative districts. Trump voters are delusional. The pollsters are pathetically inept. White women still supported Trump more than the polls let on. Latino voters are more conservative than they are given credit for. More and more Black voters are rejecting the Democratic Party and its policies. The election results are a warning for the Democratic Party. President Trump has still not conceded and probably has something up his sleeve. The rhetoric goes on and on.

Finger pointing aside, it did not take long for many individuals from all corners of the political spectrum to hone in on one group of people: The progressive wing of the Democratic Party. From the deep state conspiracy theorists at FOX News to centrist Democrats, party elders, and various pundits on cable news - yes, indeed! - It appeared that everyone had something to say about this segment of the party.

Truth be told, many factions were scapegoated for the less-than-stellar performance of the Democrats, but progressives were held in particular contempt. The accusations were fast and furious, like buckets of hail thundering down from the sky.

Blame was placed squarely on the squad - the formidable, multiracial, and fiercely charismatic quartet of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib - citing the divisiveness of Black Lives Matter, identity politics, a too far-left agenda, and so on.

There were other supposed culprits, as well: The Democratic Socialist fat lady who refused to sing; the cancel culture critters who terrified otherwise sane and rational voters into splitting their tickets; the identity politics trio of Ivan, Irene, and Ichabod, who sent chills down the spines of millions of undecided voters (if you actually believe there were that many undecided voters in this election year) with their supposedly “callous and irrational” rhetoric. Plus, we certainly cannot forget the diabolical and certainly less-than-dynamic political duo of Devon and Dave. Goodness knows that the ample amount of demonic rhetoric they espoused regarding the demand that everyone be granted the right to adequate health care was nothing short of being a sacrilegious speech in the minds of many. Not to mention, bodacious Barry and belligerent Bethany who sounded alarm bells with their demands that members of the LGBTQ community be treated equally with their heterosexual brethren. After all, there is nothing that riles up the MAGA base of supporters like the three Gs - God, guns, and gays!

Enough with the facetiousness, you say! I concede that I may have gone somewhat overboard, but truth be told, there are LARGE kernels of truth in my assessments. More truthful is the fact that many Americans, regardless of how they define themselves politically, are in considerable unison that kitchen table issues ( such as

  • job training,

  • affordable education,

  • a fair and modern immigration system,

  • systemic and systematic racism,

  • entrepreneurial opportunities,

  • a safety net for those who may need one for varied reasons (especially children),

  • environmental issues,

  • living wage,

  • health care, etc.

all rank high on the list of crucial factors that American society is currently dealing with.

Now back to those who have decided to blame the left for the less-than-desirable showing earlier this month. The fact is that many provisions on the ballots in many states championed by liberal activists did in fact win. For example,

Such triumphs do not mean that all is well in Progressiveland, so to speak. The fact is that messaging can be and is often crucial to political success, for good or ill; slogans like “defund the police” and labels like “socialism” can have an adverse effect on how certain voters react to your arguments as well as positions. Research shows that more than a few people consider socialism to be synonymous with communism. Frightening visions of Mao Se Tung and Hugo Chavez emerge within their minds. Understandably, given the ruthlessness, unrestrained oppressive tactics, and horrific levels of tyranny these dictators imposed upon their citizens, coupled with vehement tyranny, lacerating limitations, and failures of communism, no aspirational person should or would want to live under such a repressive system.

Reforming the police or reviewing police culture (which is actually what “defunding the police” means) are slogans that are likely to be more psychologically palatable to most Americans of different race, gender, social, and economic groups. Again, like it or not, messaging matters! Period!

Now that Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Harris has shattered another glass ceiling in her admirably successful career by becoming the first Black, Indian, and female vice-president, those of us who wish them a successful transition and tenure can only hope that they will make every real and genuine effort to deliver to the voters who made it possible for them to inhabit the two most powerful offices in the world. One thing is for certain: Hundreds of millions of people will be watching to see if they can do so. Guest Commentator, Dr. Elwood Watson, Historian, public speaker, and cultural critic is a professor at East Tennessee State University and author of the recent book, Keepin' It Real: Essays on Race in Contemporary America (University of Chicago Press), which is available in paperback and on Kindle via Amazon and other major book retailers. Contact Dr.Watson and BC.

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is published  Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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