2022-05-30 Anil Dash broken centrist Democrat rhetoric

anildash (@anildash): You can’t win if you don’t know what you’re fighting for.

I want to highlight what’s broken in this kind of apparently-popular rhetoric from centrist Democrats. (cw: awful mentions of violence) https://twitter.com/muellershewrote/status/1531078765589106695

Every well-intentioned person feels that people shouldn’t be unfairly saddled with a lifetime of debt. The thing we are fighting for is to free them from that burden. This is the goal. We don’t care about the existence of people who hate that goal. Okay?

So, let’s start from there: how do we best advocate for the goal? Some would say incrementalism ($10k forgiveness) and some say we should focus on the entire $50k. I can see an argument either way. But what is the goal? It’s not half steps, it’s helping everyone who needs it.

As it turns out, pushing the Democratic Party past its cautiousness and conservatism in favor of a moral principle is when it is at its best. Those who see it as a team they’re rooting for seem to forget this.

When Obama said the Iraq war was wrong? It was not party policy, and it was an unpopular view. But his moral leadership broadened what was possible. That’s what leadership does.

When Biden went off the script and spoke in favor of marriage equality? It was not party policy, and it was an unpopular core. But his moral leadership helped broaden what was possible. Because he knew what we were heading toward.

If you talk to staffers in the Biden administration, I’m confident they’d say “keep pushing for full forgiveness — it helps to keep the pressure up”. I don’t think they’d say “you support school shootings” or demand you settle for halfway. They likely wish they could do more,

In fact, the greatest threat to justice is that Democrats have *no^ principles that they won’t compromise on. They allow moral failure on access to abortion & other healthcare, on access to weapons of violence, on not holding fascist Republicans to account.

Put simply, Democrats don’t know how to wield power because they don’t know what they’re moving toward, only what they’re afraid of. And what they’re afraid of is Republicans. Criticism from principled people on the left gets attacked, even when grounded in a moral truth.

It’s fine if you think incrementalism is the strategy to achieve some wins. But then recognize those fighting for the full principle are your leaders, not your enemy. Say: “the enemy is those who want to saddle good people with debt, and this is our first step in beating them”.

Anyway, what do I know, I’m not even a Democrat. I just know they’re losing on abortion, on gun control, on so many issues even though their platform is the best it’s been in my lifetime and their positions are wildly popular with normal people. https://anildash.com/2022/01/31/you-have-to-start-with-the-principle/

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