Progressives often applaud the idea of “speaking truth to power.” But this concept is hazardous. If taken literally and deployed as a single-minded strategy, it can divert attention from the crucial need to take power away from those who abuse it.
Once you remember that every struggle waged by the oppressed against the oppressor class and their allies is asymmetric, it is possible to construct a strategy that holds the potential to win. When you assume that you are fighting the oppressor on, more or less, equal terms, you are guaranteeing your own defeat.
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In the current cycle are two related but distinct problems. First, progressives have no national electoral strategy to speak of. Second, elections cannot be viewed simply or even mainly within the context of the pros and cons of specific candidates. Progressives are very divided about the relative importance of electoral politics, and our near exclusive focus on the candidates, that there is no coherent national progressive electoral strategy.
A strategic look at the U.S. political landscape shows how Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would be able to pull together a majority electoral coalition. It also reveals why either might still be thwarted in pulling together an effective governing coalition in 2017, (assuming they are able to defeat Trump or Cruz). The far right has grown in strength and virulence, while the `regular' conservative right has grown in intransigence.
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By Thomas B. Edsall, Contributing Op-Ed Writer
New York Times
Since the early 1970s, the right has conducted a sustained drive to gain power and set policy in the 50 states. The left, by contrast, has been far less effective at the state-level. The sustained determination on the part of the conservative movement has paid off in an unprecedented realignment of power in state governments.