Sunday, March 27, 2011

Creating more liberals to build our base

To raise our standard of living and create higher wages and benefits for regular people requires a larger base of Americans believing that we should raise our standard of living and create higher wages and benefits for regular people. Our base is not large enough to do so today on an ongoing basis. One particularly important task, then, is to create more liberals out of the millions of 18 year olds, newly naturlized citizens and persuadable Americans that emerge every year.

There aren't many institutions that focus on what it takes to convince someone to self-identify as a liberal. The Democratic Party doesn't, as the Party rightly focuses on convincing Americans to self-identify as Democrats. The people running the party are delighted if conservatives elect Democrats and delighted if conservative Democrats are elected. If that means those conservative Democrats don't support the progressive agenda, well, too bad for the liberals. Better to elect a conservative Democrat than a Republican. After all, if there were more progressive voters in that district, the representative would likely be more progressive.

Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in every state in the Union, according to Gallup. This is a problem for progressives, as governments reflect the views of the people who elect them.

We need to figure out how to grow the number of self-identified liberals and then we need to figure out who will actually do that work. I suspect that education has a lot to do with liberal self-identification, so potentially funding a lot more scholarships for students can help. I imagine that the general idea of antipathy towards the government needs to be overcome (polls show that particular government programs like Medicare or Pell grants are far more popular than the term 'government spending') so a direct mail campaign to swing voters explaining that these popular government programs are, in fact, government spending of the type liberals advocate for might be helpful. I find an historical context helps explain the direct connection between a person's standard of living and the progressive triumphs of the New Deal and the Great Society and, more recently, the Affordable Health Care Act, so developing and distributing more movies, television shows, books and web videos that explain how liberal policies make people's lives better would help.

There are literally tens of millions of potential liberals in our country who could be convinced to self-identify and then vote as a liberal. They are waiting for us to reach them with the right essay contest or movie or internship or free magazine or infomercial or Google ad or book that shows up unexpectedly one day to grab their attention and change their mind. And it's all tax deductible to the investor who funds the work! Who else wants to get to work?

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