Following the Republican Convention, I’ve Never Been Prouder to be a Progressive

No matter how much Republicans might try to spin the 2016 Republican National Convention, there’s no denying that it was an absolute disaster. However, in a lot of ways it was the perfect type of convention for them to have considering they did just nominate Donald Trump as their presidential nominee.

Words cannot really describe the circus that this thing was.

From Melania’s plagiarism, to the proverbial “middle finger” Ted Cruz gave Trump Wednesday night, to Thursday being dominated by all the controversies of the previous three days, this was anything but a “celebratory party” for Donald Trump and the GOP.

Trust me when I say that after stomaching as much of this sideshow as I could over the last four days, I’ve never been prouder to be a progressive than I am right now.

Progressives have their flaws, and the Democratic party is far from perfect, but on our worst day we’re a million times better than our right-wing counterparts.

This is what’s floored me about some on the far-left who still continue to bash Hillary Clinton. Even as someone who’s supported her for years, I’ll be the first to tell you that she’s not without her faults. But at the end of the day, no matter what these “anti-Clinton liberals” might think of her, she:

  • Supports equal pay for women.
  • Believes in climate change.
  • Wants to raise the minimum wage.
  • Won’t repeal the Affordable Care Act. In fact, she wants to expand it.
  • Supports gay rights.
  • Supports same-sex marriage.
  • Wants to protect voting rights.
  • Supports immigration reform.
  • Wants to protect our national parks and lands.
  • Wants to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare.
  • Wants debt-free college.
  • Wants to provide paid family leave for all Americans.
  • Doesn’t want to turn our government into a theocracy.
  • Supports overturning Citizens United.

The list goes on and on.

Has she changed her mind on a few positions over the years? Of course she has. I’ll take a politician who’s willing to adapt and change with the times over someone who’s unwilling to admit that they were wrong. This whole idea that she’s “not as progressive as Bernie Sanders, therefore she’s not progressive” is childish, idiotic nonsense. For instance, by today’s standards, Bill Clinton’s policies seem rather “anti-gay rights.” However, for his time, Bill Clinton was considered the most pro-equality president in our nation’s history. To judge a president out of context and not based on what the country was like during that time is naive and foolish.

An example I’ve been using lately is the Supreme Court. Over the past year I’ve had many of these anti-Clinton “liberals” tell me that they think Hillary’s Supreme Court picks would be just as bad, if not worse, than Donald Trump’s picks.


Here’s a fun fact: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer have been two of the most liberal members of our Supreme Court over the last 20+ years. They’ve defended gay rights; women’s rights; voting rights; same-sex marriage; abortion; the climate; civil rights; the Affordable Care Act; and both opposed the Citizens United ruling — just for starters. They’re two Justices who can always be counted on to be very liberal, common sense voices on the Court.

Well, guess what? They were both put on the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton. So spare me this nonsense about Hillary Clinton being some fake progressive who’d nominate very conservative justices.

It’s been ridiculous to see Republicans try to paint Hillary Clinton as a far-left socialist who’s more radical than President Obama — while at the same time the far-left has claimed she’s just as conservative as any Republican we’d elect.

I’m sorry folks, but she can’t be both.

The truth is, progressives really need to start realizing just how good we have it.

We’ve had President Obama for eight years, who’s easily been one of the best presidents we’ve had in modern American history. While he wasn’t able to bring about all the big changes he wanted (mostly because liberals let him down during midterm elections, allowing Republicans to take back power in Congress), he was still able to bring about some impactful transformative changes to this country despite facing the most obstructive Congress in our nation’s history.

Then during this past election, we were really having a debate between two great candidates. The main differences being that Hillary Clinton is more of a pragmatic progressive while Bernie Sanders was more of the impassioned idealist. But when you look at the actual voting records of the two candidates, they sided with each other 93 percent of the time. So not only was Hillary Clinton ranked more liberal as a senator than even Barack Obama, but her and Sanders voted on the same side of the issues nearly every single time.

The truth is, progressives don’t have batshit crazy equals to what we see on the right.

We don’t have people like Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Louie Gohmert, Rick Scott, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Ted Yoho, Mike Huckabee or Ben Carson.

Sure, we have a few “bad apples” I would like to see replaced, but they’re few and far between and they aren’t prominent members of the Democratic party.

We have a pragmatic progressive in Hillary Clinton who may soon become president, while the Democratic party as a whole is now represented by the likes of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, Cory Booker, Julian Castro and many others who are sane, rational human beings who want to bring about real change to this country.

As Republicans embrace white supremacy and fascism (because that’s what Donald Trump really represents), we’re headed toward a convention where the Democratic platform is, by far, the most progressive it’s been in the party’s history.

This is why I’ve told many Bernie Sanders supporters over the last few weeks that they need to cheer up. Granted, he didn’t win the nomination, but his impact on the party has been profound. Not only have many of his ideas now become the “norm” for millions of Democrats, but he made Hillary Clinton a much better candidate. Even though he didn’t win the nomination — he still won in many ways.

Do we need to keep fighting to make the party better? Absolutely. That’s an everyday battle that will never be over.

All I’m asking for right now is that we all just take a moment to sit back and reflect on what we just witnessed this past week with the Republican National Convention, and realize just how lucky we are to be progressives. Because while the Democratic party still has a lot of issues that need to be fixed, at least the party isn’t represented by a bunch of fascist clowns driven by hate, bigotry, racism, fear and ignorance like the GOP once again proved this past week.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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