For months the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters has been raging. You can’t go to a post about either candidate without seeing supporters for each going back and forth with one another, often spewing “facts” about each candidate that aren’t even true. Unfortunately, that’s the world in which we’re now living. A day and age where people can wrap themselves up inside a “confirmation bias bubble” where they’re only fed the information centered around what they want to hear and typically with which they already agree.
Another unfortunate aspect to this “bubble” is that often times articles are written, not to provide quality political analysis, but for nothing more than cheap “clickbait” aimed at those living inside these “bubbles.” Not that I’m against certain aspects of clickbait if it’s not over-the-top or misleading, but some of the headlines I encounter are so sensationalized you have to want to believe whatever nonsense they’re promising to actually take them seriously.
What all of this ultimately leads to is a society where people doubt the truth, ignore reality and much of the time aren’t being factually informed.
Take for instance the upcoming presidential election. Right now all of these presidential candidates, both on the left and the right, are lying to everyone – all of them. They’re all making bold promises and statements based on power that, as president, they really won’t have.
The truth is, a president can only accomplish what Congress will allow them to. This is what frustrated me so much following President Obama’s election. There’s such a misunderstanding among many Americans as to how government actually works that many Obama supporters turned on him prior to the 2010 midterms because he couldn’t wave a magic wand and make all of their hopes and dreams come true. Never mind that had liberals shown up in 2010, like they did in 2006 or 2008, President Obama could have accomplished much more than he was able to.
But once Republicans seized the House – it was basically game over. Most of the “victories” President Obama has been able to achieve (other than his re-election) were those where congressional Republicans had no choice but to work with him (government shutdown, DHS funding, debt ceiling) or those where he used what power the executive office has to accomplish something.
So, while Clinton and Sanders supporters spend much of their time bickering over who should be the Democratic nominee, none of it is going to matter if liberals don’t show up in large numbers in November to give Democrats back at least some power in Congress. While it’s highly unlikely that Democrats can regain power in the House, at least not in 2016, it’s still very possible to retake the majority in the Senate.
And control of Congress is arguably more important than the White House this November (though we absolutely cannot allow Republicans to take back the presidency). If you think congressional Republicans are going to support 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, a hike in the minimum wage, improving on the Affordable Care Act, free public college or any sort of new regulations on Wall Street – you’re out of your mind. There’s absolutely zero chance that any of these bold promises Clinton and Sanders are making will ever come to fruition unless liberals also give Democrats back some power in Congress. A Democratic president can only be as progressive as the Congress we give them.
While I know it’s far more popular to bicker amongst ourselves over who we think should be the Democratic nominee, the underlying truths are this:
- Unless we want to see all the progress we’ve made over the last few years undone, we all have to vote for whomever wins the Democratic nomination.
- That person, no matter if it’s Clinton or Sanders, can only accomplish as much as the Congress we give them allows them to.
- If we want either candidate to be able to fulfill their promises, and hold them accountable to those promises, then we have no choice but to turn out in large numbers to give them a Congress that will allow them to accomplish what they’ve promised if elected president.
- Without knowing what Congress will look like next year, pretty much everything each of these candidates is telling you is a lie.
- Unless you want either candidate to go down as the least productive president in history, you need to learn that compromise is a part of governing. “All or nothing” typically gets you nothing and nowhere.
- True change takes time and often includes knowing when to pick your battles.
- Showing up every 4 years to pick a president is nice, but also somewhat worthless unless you’re also showing up at local and midterm elections to select state officials and members of Congress.
- If Republicans are allowed to pick up to four Supreme Court Justices over the next 4-8 years, that will set progressives back decades.
I cannot emphasize enough how important 2016 is. With the GOP on the brink of complete implosion and all the power in the hands of progressive voter turnout, 2016 is the moment we can seize back some control in Congress, lockup the Supreme Court for decades, and finally break the back of the GOP. I’m predicting another loss in a presidential election will be what sends the Republican party into total and complete chaos.
But that all depends on us. If liberals and progressives show up to vote in large numbers this November, we can’t lose. A lot of the power Republicans have right now was given to them by liberal apathy and being absent at the voting booth.
If we’re not willing to see the bigger picture, be smart, be realistic and keep Republicans out of power and from destroying this country – then we’ll only have ourselves to blame.