The general argument in the Democratic party right now is over what sort of candidate we need — a big swinging progressive or a moderate. That’s missing the point completely.
Yes a blue-sky progressive is going to have a Sisyphean time of it trying to win over the midwest. And yes it also means something that folks like AOC are beating out longtime incumbents by incredible margins.
Here’s the missing ingredient: this is not ultimately going to be an election about policy. That’s what the Democratic primary will be about, sure — but not the general. The general will entirely come down to authenticity of character.
Think about it: it literally can’t be about policy — Trump’s “policy” is mercurial to the point of nonexistence, unless you count the wall. So what it’s going to come down to is Trump attacking with the exact rhetoric we already know is coming and the Democratic candidate will then respond (or not respond — in itself, a response).
The independents who voted for him did not come out to vote for his policies. He has none. They came out to vote because he appealed directly to their basest instincts — which is exactly who Trump is. So when Trump appeals to your basest instincts — he seems authentic. That’s why you hear people say “oh he doesn’t mean any of that stuff he says, it’s all talk” — he’s so authentic it’s disconcerting to believe he’s so fucked up. Same shit happens with serial killers and cult leaders. Nothing is scarier than someone who knows exactly who they are — and is okay with it.
So. In order to win Democratic candidate must be capable of somehow weathering his bullshit. The only people who have been able to do that thus far have been those who’ve ignored political protocol in favor of speaking their minds and acting their ideals. AOC is one of those. Nancy Pelosi has recently become another. Macron and Trudeau. Even Queen Elizabeth II being a saucy bitch wearing the funeral broach to meet him while smiling to his stupid face (real thing, look it up, royal level shade throwin’).
But the Democratic Candidate must also be be capable of still conveying a genuine something. For Trump it’s self-interest. For a Democrat, it almost certainly must be a Vision. Which means the big ideas are a necessity — because the only people without big ideas are the ones who are either:
I think that about sums it up. I enjoy how mannered an such we’s all bein.
End of the purely political — but while you’re here, let me make a larger point about the broader necessity of the big ideas:
I know you don’t like the big ideas but here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what any of us like. I hate change more than all of you reading this put together. But we have two options:
I know that I exist in a state of perpetual hyperbolism, and I know I often speak in extremes. But here I’m being entirely literal: if we do not wholly embrace those ideas, we go away. Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow — but sooner rather than later.
And yeah maybe we might not live to see it. But what is the point of humanity if we never get to the stars? I mean that seriously. Humanity is evolution. It is growth and change. Stagnation is cell death for us as a species.
Also to more specifically address Universal Basic Income (as a replacement of welfare, can’t say this enough): I know that goes against many of the (if not every) bones in your body, but think about it this way: welfare is meant to help the disenfranchised yes, but it’s actual function has been larger than that purpose.
It’s also served as a way to pay people who cannot or will not participate in society enough cash to just chill already — but one which (as a byproduct of not being designed for such use) encourages anti-social individuals to deceive it for profit. UBI replaces that with a system that cannot and need not be gamed, eliminating a tremendous amount of bureaucratic overhead and replacing it with a system that will lift up everyone equally. This is just the gist — I can talk much, much more about the details but I’ll spare your eyes and my fingers.