Columns, Opinion

American Protest: Stop blaming progressives for your issues, Democrats

The two major political parties have been finger-pointing and trying to understand what went wrong since the presidential election. Democrats and Republicans expected to see larger margins than they did, and while I am so relieved President-elect Joe Biden won, the race did feel a little too close for comfort.

Meredith Varner

Recently, I noticed a trend on Twitter in which moderate Democrats blame progressives for creating party division that pushes people to vote for President Donald Trump. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., blamed her near-defeat and Biden’s close call on progressives who used phrases like “defund the police” and didn’t adequately denounce socialism.

This is quite the opposite of what happened, though. Progressive incumbents overwhelmingly won reelection, while many of the Democrats who lost their seats were moderate. Even in swing districts, incumbents who co-sponsored Medicaid for All won reelection.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., also pointed out that many of the Democrats who lost their seats did not spend nearly enough money on digital advertising and outreach. An online presence is a must in today’s digitized world, and without it, these candidates missed out on a key audience. As any advertising major would say, this is Intro to Communications.

It is ridiculous centrists are going after progressives for believing in causes they are passionate about and wanting a country that can provide for its citizens’ needs.

Angela Ao/DFP STAFF

I believe progressives fought vehemently for Biden the past few months as much as any moderate Democrat did. Progressives brought in the young vote and canvassed in areas that had a large impact on the election, such as Atlanta.

I see progressives as the future of this party and maybe even of the country. They are the ones fighting the hardest for racial justice, working to stop global warming and pushing for a country of equity and equality. Even if you do not support these things, you cannot deny the intelligence and strength of the many progressives who are getting elected.

Take Ocasio-Cortez, for example. Many of the attacks I see against her are personal and sexist — they go after her brains, age and looks. I have seen people post some truly horrific things about her. However, this shows me they do not have any substance to criticize so they sink low and pick on the way she looks.

She’s even attacked for having worked as a bartender before making it into Congress. What is wrong with working hard to get what you want? Isn’t that the mantra Republicans are repeatedly screaming at poor people? “Just work harder,” they say. Well, she did just that, and now conservatives are angry she broke societal barriers.

I am inspired when I watch AOC interact with her constituents, ask questions at congressional hearings and fight for what she believes in. I see a woman who rose from nothing and took a stand against most of her party — not to mention the entire Republican Party.

I preach against idolizing politicians because they are usually not good people, but I cannot help but look at AOC as a role model. She makes me feel like I, too, can accomplish anything, and she shows me we can persevere through a system designed to shut down those with any ideas outside of the “norm.”

The progressive men and women of Congress did exceptionally well in their Senate and House races. I believe this is because they connect with the American people in ways most of the out-of-touch, millionaire party elites cannot.

Progressives run on these platforms because they know what it’s like to feel left behind in this country, as if no one in the government is there for them. Creating a government full of average citizens who understand their constituents on a deeper level is the key to fixing this country.

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