The following are excerpts from an article of the same title by Laurence Lewis that appeared in the September 12th edition of Daily Kos . The excerpts have been rearranged for the sake of brevity. The full article can be read here.
Elections almost always turn on the economy. People who have lost their jobs, who fear losing their jobs, who have lost their mortgages, or who fear losing their mortgages mostly aren’t paying attention to the nuances of political dialogue, they are paying attention to their own lives. It may be that many of them are now beyond the reach of political dialogue, but that doesn’t mean that reaching them shouldn’t remain this election year’s primary goal.
The polls show a potentially devastating enthusiasm gap…For the most part, it’s about the economy. Health care and war and human and civil rights and the environment matter a lot to a lot of Democrats, but elections almost always turn on the economy. That turning almost always is based on present economic conditions, not on how those conditions came to be.
Progress doesn’t happen all at once, and it never ever ends. The forces of regression always will be there trying to undermine it, and new progressive needs will continue to reveal themselves. And it is incumbent upon all who care about progress to stay focused on progress, no matter the politics, and no matter the politicians. None of this should need to be said. Criticism of inadequate progress should not be taken as an excuse for apathy or nihilism, and neither should it be confused with despair. We survived Joe McCarthy and Nixon and Reagan and a double dose of Bushes, and every great progressive president has been deeply, profoundly flawed. If you’re looking for idealized heroes, read old comic books. If you’re engaged in politics then you should understand that every politician is a flawed human being. Anyone who despairs at recognizing such isn’t recognizing politics for what it is.
The irony of the enthusiasm gap is that it is most likely to cost us the House. If you or anyone you know is even thinking of not voting this November because of the failure of the administration or the Congress to enact a more liberal or progressive agenda, then know that not voting will contribute to a less liberal or progressive agenda going forward.
The House is the best we have. Speaker Pelosi is the most progressive leader we have. Punishing the House because you’re upset with the White House or the Senate smacks of petulance. Punishing everyone because our elected leaders aren’t doing a good enough job of leading smacks of something worse. Do you care about the issues? Will not voting help with the issues? Those that reflexively defend anything and everything the White House does or does not do are not focused on the issues, but neither are those that will walk away because they’re not getting their way.
Those that care first and foremost about the issues never will give up. They never will give in to despair. They never will pretend things are better than they are, but neither will they ever stop trying to make things better. Forget about the politicians and the politics and ask yourself if you care about the issues. If you do, you never will stop trying to work the politicians and the politics to do better jobs on the issues. And that does mean voting, even if that means holding your nose while doing so. It also means encouraging others to vote.
If you care about the issues,…you only need to be honest with yourself about how to make progress on the issues. Incremental progress is not enough, but it is better than no progress or reversals of progress. If you care about the issues, inspiration doesn’t come from without, it comes from within.