If you are reading this, there is a real good chance you’re on Alan Grayson’s e-mail list. If so, you’ve been inundated in the last day or so with e-mails from all kinds of people asking you to give Grayson money as part of his moneybomb. I don’t if they send all of these e-mails to all of their list, since I might be getting more e-mails than others (I often end up on press lists), but I got e-mails from: Grayson himself (twice), Bill Maher, DFA’s Charles Chamberlain, Ralph Nader, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Rep. Raul Grijalva (twice), actor Esai Morales, and probably a few others that I’ve missed.
I’ve never quite seen an e-mail blitz like this one and hopefully it works and not only gets a big fund-raising bump for the moneybomb, but doesn’t tax the list and cause too many potential contributors to unsubscribe. I say this because I think Grayson’s race is not only one of the most important in the state this cycle, it’s one of the most important in the country. (So far, they’ve rasied $150k, when their goal was $100k, so it’s working so far, since it’s only 10 a.m.).
The biggest problems we face in America right now is that we are burdened by a decade-plus of conservative policies that have hurt every aspect of American life and we’ve had Democratic leadership — for nearly two decades — that is either weak, conservative or both, meaning that even though the people of the country want more progressive policies and it’s obvious that conservative or milquetoast policies won’t solve our problems, we aren’t getting what we want or need as a country. This is exacerbated by a public that too often doesn’t understand the importance of voting and doesn’t understand policy and politics well enough to vote for the candidates that can best help all of us. The conservatives are masterful at controlling the narrative and with a compliant media and Democrats who have no idea what they are doing, we get things like the 2010 elections, particularly when you add in the money factor.
The myth of the 2010 elections were that Americans rose up and rejected the liberal policies of Barack Obama and the Democrats and put conservatives in place to pursue conservative policies, since Obama’s first two years showed that liberal policies didn’t work. The problem with this myth is that 0% of it is accurate. Obama’s policies were moderate, they only looked liberal compared to the extremeness of the Republicans. And it’s clear that Obama’s policies worked somewhat, but they failed to work completely because they were too conservative. What improvement we’ve seen since January 2009 is almost completely based upon Obama’s policies, all of which were nearly 100% opposed by conservatives. And while the successes of Obama’s moderate policies weren’t grand, they were much better than what would’ve happened if we continued pursuing the conservative policies advocated by the other side — the exact policies that got us into all the trouble we’re in.
Most importantly, the 2010 elections were not a rejection of liberal or progressive ideas in any way, shape or form. Decades of political science research shows that the average voter has no idea what the policies of either side are and that they vote based on things like party identification, candidate image and and name recognition. Obama won in 2008 not because he offered up a amazing set of policies that would transform the world, but because he offered up an image that promised to change the world. His biggest problem is that he didn’t understand what was causing the problems the world faced or their solutions well enough to make any significant change. In 2010, conservatives turned out in numbers similar to previous elections, but Democrats turned out in smaller numbers. That, combined with a massive money advantage based on Citizens United, was what produced the landslide in favor of conservatives. It was all about money and poor GOTV from the left, which includes crappy messaging and poor coordination and campaigns at multiple levels. So when you see that someone like Grayson lost, it wasn’t because his policies were bad or people didn’t like what he had to say, it’s because the other side had more money and more coordinated, effective campaigns.
But a lot of traditional Democratic insiders are falling back on the same old lie — that Grayson lost because he was too liberal or too outspoken. It’s complete and utter nonsense and is not backed up by any legitimate analysis. So, to help change that myth — that real progressives can’t get elected — we need to make sure that real progressives do get elected this time. We need to give our money and our volunteer time to real progressive candidates that have a shot at winning and that can help put these myths to bed. We need to give our money to candidates like Grayson, like Darcy Burner in Washington, like Lois Frankel (and possibly Patrick Murphy if he ends up in a different district and continues to show that he is as progressive as advertised). These victories will be about more than just another warm body in D.C., they will be about letting the powers that be know that strong, outspoken progressives — the people who are right on the issues — not only can win, they have to win if the problems we face are going to be solved.