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Davis, California

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Liberalism needs to fight

Triumphing inPennsylvania,a state oftenassociatedwith the birth of many American narratives,SenatorHillaryClinton proclaimed thatthe tide is turning. Shemight haveenvisioned the aptness of her candidacy’s rebirth.But it wasn’t a rebirth.It was the prolonging ofafutile process,the Democrats proportionate delegatesystemrendering her catching-upin the pledged delegate count impossible.

Yet by choosing to continue,she is damaging her fellow Democrat’s reputation and amplifying her own negatives,allwhile increasing Senator John McCain’selectoral chances.Should these factorsultimatelycoalesce toelect McCain to office,liberalism would have lost a monumental opportunity to redefineand reassertitself.

Butfirstlet’s examine liberalism’s fall from grace.

Liberalism’s downturn,in many ways,is testament to the Republican Party’s political acumen and their messages coherence.Through superior organization and unrelenting discipline,a Republican nominee has occupied the White House for all but12out of the last40years.Thisstatisticisn’t trivial.It demonstrates the Republican’s uncannyability to win elections.

The media,asinitiators ofdiscourse,furthermorebought into theRepublican’s stereotypical construct.Byadhering to the contours ofgotchajournalism,wheresound bitesproliferate,Republicanseffectively succeeded intarringliberals as elitist snobs,caricaturing them as unpatriotic wimps and branding them as coastal-dwellers out of touch withAmerica’s heartland values.

Finally,Clintonism was supposed to usher in a new era of Democratic progressive policies.But it didn’ttranspirethat way.Instead,asNew York Times contributorMatt Bai,in his articleThe Clinton Referendum,suggests, “[Bush’s policies] was less a victim of Bushs radicalism than [Clinton] was its enabler.In other words,triangulationthe practice of selecting the middle point of you and your opponent’s argumentsdispirited liberals into accepting the credo of the right rather than standing up for their own principles.

Suchasubmissionis fine,even indicative of a healthy democracy,if theultimateresult is concerned solely with winning politicalwarfare.But conservatism’s practitioners,utilizingthe dark art of denigration,haveessentiallytorn theelectorate.Consequent of the Republicansmeartactics is anation so dividedthatwe can’t summonanational consciousness during times of unparalleled crisis.While external and internal threats continue to manifest,the government is impaired,burdened by ideological adherence.

As such,until the Republican Party reinvents itself anddismisses thedivisionarytactics,the only option for all liberals is tounite andtoascend.Liberalsneed to re-embrace their identity andnot be afraid tochampion their virtues.Today’s moment demands not triangulation; it mandates the elevation of liberalism.It isn’t the time to yield to right-wingpummeling.It is the time to battle back,and battle hard.

But here’s what makes Obama’s candidacy so ironic and fascinating.He’s conducting a liberal revolution not byaiming topolarize theredstates andbluestates further,but by attemptingto unite both.He’s not merelyinspiring new voters everywhere,he’s incorporating disenchanted crossover conservatives.Despite being the senator with the most liberal voting record,he works well with Republicans.All these virtues indicatethe possibility of an era of sustained liberalism.

Tomake this possible,tofinally move past the past,Obama first needs to defeat theforces of the past.He needs to bury Rove-style politics ofblatant distortion and character assassination a testSenator Clinton is now administering to him.He needs tostand up tothe lunacy of Swiftboating andwho would you rather have a beer with?” Should he triumph,it will deliver the message that the era of Rovism is finally over.

The liberal ideals of social justice and equality have to bere-foughtandre-litigated.Clintonism of the yore,of finding common ground,has to be dispensed.Liberals,and liberalism,need to regain their pride.


Liberals need to fight against the kitchen sink and the Republican attack machine.Throw ZACH HAN one at zklhan@ucdavis.edu.


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