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Politics What do you (we) want out of left politics?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by FBH, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    It's a truism that policy is not the most important thing in politics. That however good your policies are, what matters most is the media, the campaign, etc. etc. etc.

    However I think it's important to decide what we can believe in as a future policy. What do we, a bunch of mostly educated people who are interested enough in current affairs to post on a current affairs board, want out of left of centre politics. What are we trying to achieve by our participation in this politics? What would we consider the best outcome, and what would we consider the minimum acceptable outcome?
     
  2. Flectarn

    Flectarn A Las Baricadas

    roughly this:

    1. Grassroots Democracy
    All human beings must be allowed a say in decisions that affect their lives; no one should be subject to the will of another. We work to improve public participation in every aspect of government and seek to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We also work to create new types of political organizations that expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in decision-making.

    2. Social Justice And Equal Opportunity
    As a matter of right, all persons must have the opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, any discrimination by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, religion, or physical or mental ability that denies fair treatment and equal justice under the law.

    3. Ecological Wisdom
    Human societies must function with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society that utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture that replenishes the soil, move to an energy-efficient economy, and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.

    4. Non-Violence
    It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society's current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in danger. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

    5. Decentralization
    Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. We seek a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system controlled by and mostly benefiting the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all.

    6. Community-Based Economics
    We support redesigning our work structures to encourage employee ownership and workplace democracy. We support developing new economic activities and institutions that allow us to use technology in ways that are humane, freeing, ecological, and responsive and accountable to communities. We support establishing a form of basic economic security open to all. We call for moving beyond the narrow 'job ethic' to new definitions of 'work,' 'jobs' and 'income' in a cooperative and democratic economy. We support restructuring our patterns of income distribution to reflect the wealth created by those outside the formal monetary economy – those who take responsibility for parenting, housekeeping, home gardens, community volunteer work, and the like. We support restricting the size and concentrated power of corporations without discouraging superior efficiency or technological innovation.

    7. Feminism And Gender Equity
    We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as gender equity, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We recognize that the processes for determining our decisions and actions are just as important as achieving the outcomes we want.

    8. Respect For Diversity
    We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across the human spectrum. We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We encourage respect for all life forms, and increased attention to the preservation of biodiversity.

    9. Personal And Global Responsibility
    We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal wellbeing and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.

    10. Future Focus And Sustainability
    Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or 'unmaking' all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions. We must make the quality of all lives, rather than open-ended economic growth, the focus of future thinking and policy.
     
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  3. Triggerhappy

    Triggerhappy Hard Knocks University

    Location:
    SoCal
    Respect for Expert Knowledge - While experts are not always correct, and should not govern unless they choose to run for office and win election, our society is becoming increasingly interdependent and complex and increasing knowledge is required to manage its functioning.

    I am no fan of a technocracy, but in reasonable modern government the place of elected officials is to interface with and ensure that specialists do not act against the welfare of the people and to take the will of the people into account after being provided the best current knowledge.

    Not to override findings or use their political positions to cast doubt on the scientific consensus.
     
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  4. I can honestly say I care maybe a tiny bit about a couple of those, but that if this were to be the central position of the "Left" it would not meet much political success. Like, Flectarn. Bro. Friend. Dude. You've given a long list of Buzzwords with no actual policy anywhere in sight that seems to have been specifically crafted to have as narrow an appeal as possible.

    What should the Center Left be fighting for?

    1) Economic Stability and Success

    The main thing I think the Left needs to be focused on is providing economic stability. Markets are valuable, but, a free market is a controlled market. A hands off approach to economic, fiscal, and monetary policy tends to magnify it’s negative aspects while minimizing it’s positive impacts.

    An effective and responsible center left group should fight for an effective economy for all involved. It should take serious effort to stop bubbles from forming by using counter-cyclical policies and all tools at it’s disposal, and it should intervene when the economy weakens via stimulus, direct payment, loosening of credit, and spending-centered tax incentives (i.e.: a tax rebate program based on spending, rather than a flat cut) to keep the economy running and the system moving to help all people.

    2) Tax incentives to restabilize failing or failed cities via an exchangeable credit program.

    The power of the purse strings is one of the most central aspects of the Federal Government. We should be using this power to direct investment and growth in regions of America that have been most harmed by systemic shifts in the workforce. By creating an exchangeable credit similar to §42 tax credits, we can create a cottage retraining and investment industry that will create jobs – real and good jobs – in places that most need them, while offering attractive and effective investment opportunities.

    Programs like this work in most industries, so there’s no reason why we could not create a retraining or employment credit program to help those regions that need it most to become competitive again.

    3) Education

    Another key point for the Left must be education. We need comprehensive education reforms across all levels focused on ensuring that the best teaching is done. We need to work to curb people who teach ideology over reality, whether that be in the form of revisionist history, unscientific theories such as creationism or homeopathy, or out and out fraudulent bullshit pushed by the plethora of for profit “educational” institutions that are looting vulnerable Americans.

    To facilitate this we should create a bipartisan commission and associated agency under the hospices of the Department of Education with the responsibility of auditing education in every state and at every level. In addition to a number of random yearly audits, it would have a procedure for the filing of complaints against institutions which are failing to do their duty of educating Americans and preparing them for the real world, as can be seen in recent cases with ITT Tech, Trump University, and others.

    4) Infrastructure Rebuilding

    One the largest issues facing America over the next 50 years is the state of our failing infrastructure. It is paramount to the future of America that we not only fix our rapidly degrading infrastructure, but invest heavily in new and better infrastructure and technology. For too long we’ve operated in a system where those with money get nice infrastructure while inner cities and rural America are left to languish.

    A bipartisan commission should be created to identify specific pieces of infrastructure that represent the most immediate threats, and fixing them should be a priority. Where possible this should be completed by the federal and state governments, but it may be necessary to create public private partnerships. These partnerships can be funded in part by the creation of a tax credit exchange system similar to §42 as well as a usage tax assessed on the property owners of the regions which benefit from infrastructure replacement and upgrades. Using the VMT calculations employed elsewhere (see also CPRC §21000 et seq.), fees can be assessed based on those who most benefit from the reductions in both risks to users, and reductions in traffic/generation of new or more effective services.

    5) Sustainable Environmental Policy and Regulatory Reform

    Environmental Regulation in much of the country is fundamentally broken. While created with good ideas in mind, it has long since been co-opted by special interests who care more about either exploiting natural resources via mining and logging or special interest who use so called “environmental” concerns to block projects that have no impact (or actually help restore) the environment.

    A bipartisan commission should be created to carefully audit much of our current regulation system to identify the regulations which are still serving their intended purpose, versus those that have been co-opted by special interests and NIMBYs and now serve to harm the environment. Wild land and Green Space Conservation projects, for example, should not be forced to go through rigorous and expensive environmental review procedures intended to protect the environment, for example. Too many regulations are used simply as a way to extort what amounts to systemic bribery from people trying to protect the environment, while other regulations are used to shield groups who harm it.

    6) Environmental Remediation, Mitigation, and Restoration Tax Credit program.

    We should create a transferable tax credit incentive program similar to §42 for remediation, green space preservation, and wild land restoration. Large parts of America, especially in coal regions, have been devastated by decades of unsustainable and ineffective mining. The creation of a tax credit system turns these blighted and devastated regions into an industry by allowing companies who restore the natural condition and clean up the land to claim significant transferable tax credits. This gives business a reason to buy into helping fix environmental harms, both increasing the speed of remediation and lowering the burden on the State and Federal governments.


    There are plenty more of important things on which to focus, but, I ran out of caring.


    Edit: Oh shit, forgot the most important one.

    7) Affordable Housing And Workforce Housing Program

    Although Federal programs for affordable and workforce housing exist, they are currently not even approaching effectiveness for meeting housing demand in pretty much any Urban market outside of Detroit, Phoenix, and Houston.

    Under the hospices of HUD, three bi-partisan commissions would be created. The first would be designed to tackle revising and fixing federal, state, and local regulation policies that are abused by NIMBY groups to prevent sustainable development or dramatically increase its costs. We are in a housing crisis in many regions and this absolutely needs to be fixed, even over the objections of local "how dare you block my view" groups.

    The second commission will focus on ways to bring the hard costs of construction down. Current in San Francisco it costs 650/sqft to build new construction. At this price it is fundamentally impossible to build housing that is affordable to the average worker; instead housing is built for the absolute most poor and the ultra-wealthy. We must find ways to bring these costs down, by both comprehensive training programs to increase the labor supply and a revitalization of the US manufacturing sector for raw/finished goods such as steel. Even if they operate at a loss, development should not be held hostage to supply disruptions and sub-standard parts in China.

    The third commission will focus on the study and creation of new building techniques such as rapidly constructed modular housing (Come tour the tiny modular apartments that may house the homeless, Developer, S.F. see new possibilities in assembly-line housing - Holliday Development) and other innovative tools which can be used to combat both homelessness and expense. This commission will have broad authority to interview those using new technologies in building, commission studies of potential avenues for affordable and sustainable building programs, and run pilot programs to test the actual implementation of these policies. The commission shall also produce bi-annual reports and an annual report outlining advancing is construction and options for sustainable and cost effective development.

    We will also create a significant training/retraining program to ensure that America is meeting its necessary supply of skilled tradesmen, from Electricians to Plumbers to all other contracting positions. Completion of these training programs will come with a needs tested relocation budget to ensure those completing training can move to where jobs are.

    Further the §42 LIHTC program will be dramatically expanded to increase the rewards of building low income housing. We will also create a comparable program for Workforce Housing targeted at those making between 80 and 120% of Area Median Income.

    We will further create a fourth commission to study the current rental crisis in the United States with the intent of developing a short term rental credit program designed to last for between 2 and 5 years to help bridge the gap between the start of these other programs and when supply can come online, offering a needs tested subsidy for renters who are at risk of being displaced or priced out of the regions where they work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
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  5. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    Can we like, not, at least for a while? I'd prefer if this thread didn't disintegrate into a circular firing squad just yet.
     
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  6. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Shadow Cabal Barristerminator

    I want endless circular firing squads about ideological purity versus pragmatism versus 'you're basically just unironically advocating right-wing positions from 20 years ago'

    Okay that's not what I want but if I keep my expectations low I will always be positively surprised.
     
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  7. Flectarn

    Flectarn A Las Baricadas

    That's called a statement of principles.
     
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  8. Guessmyname

    Guessmyname Tea-Powered Biscuit-Eater Commission Artist

    A degree of success would be nice.
     
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  9. Fivemarks

    Fivemarks Temp Banned Suspended

    Can we get the People's Front of Judea and Judean Peoples Front tags up on this thread?
     
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  10. Principles without policies are meaningless.
     
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  11. - Fight back against the successful class war the rich are waging against the poor.

    - Fight racism, sexism, and weirdo-punching (LGBT oppression is a subset of weirdo-punching).

    - Create a world with rational and compassionate people instead of swaggering bullies, sociopathic exploiters, and credulous Dunning-Kruger cases setting the tone.

    - Generally sustain and accelerate the decline of violence.

    Short term, I'd really like to attack the stranglehold one percent interests have on the American political consensus. Long term, I'd really like a world where George Orwell's essay on Wells, Hitler, and the World State stops feeling relevant.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
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  12. Winning an election would be a start.
     
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  13. Axiomatic

    Axiomatic I'm alone in my house on Mars

    Isn't the entire purpose of this thread avoiding getting tied up in specific policies, and instead asking what the purpose of those policies ought to be?
     
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  14. Flectarn

    Flectarn A Las Baricadas

    I would think some sense of goals and general ideological grounding would be important for deciding which policies you want to persue.
     
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  15. Q99

    Q99

    A country that works, equality for all, foreign policy based on helping others with diplomacy first.
     
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  16. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    I mean literally even the Communist Manifesto spelled out specific policies within their statement of belief:

    Communist Manifesto (Chapter 2)

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
    3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

    I don't know what the point of a principle is if you can't link to a policy or action :V
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
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  17. Cadis

    Cadis Proud Capoeria Angola Quintal Capoerista Advocate

    Location:
    United States
    Yeah, saying "I believe in the invaluable nature of a human life", while you turn starving orphans away from your door, is pretty pointless.
     
  18. In terms of "minimum acceptable outcome" I think that the US Democratic Party could adopt pretty much any platform to the left of the Republican Party and I'd still vote for them, since we have a two party system. In terms of what kind of policies I'd like to see:

    1. Protection of civil liberties and voting rights.
    I would like to see a movement for the full reinstatement of the VRA, a repeal of the (anti) PATRIOT act, and active protection for all our constitutional rights, including the rights of marginalized groups such as women and people of color. I think right now a lot of our historical civil liberties are under attack and the Left is our only hope for keeping them alive. This is absolutely crucial for the survival of our republic.

    Appointing principled leftist justices and judges, passing the ERA, and passing a new VRA, and explicitly repealing the PATRIOT act are what I'd consider a victory here.

    2. Expansion of social welfare, education, childcare, and healthcare outlays.

    I would like to see a rework of welfare / food stamps to reduce the weird inane hoops that people jump through to get paid. SSI Disability, food stamps, welfare, should all be rolled into one streamlined system with higher outlays with SocSec max contrib raised. Family leave for childbirth (for both parents; maybe 12 weeks split as the parents choose), better tax credits for children, universal pre-K, should all be implemented. I also want to see better support for education and higher education, but a lot of that is handled by states, not federal, so I won't go into that here. We also need a major job retraining program coupled with a relocation and training fund so that people who are pushed out of their jobs by the new economy still have a way to make a living. This is really important. I do not think that public universities should be federalized... yet. I also would like to see the ACA preserved and a cross-state federal public option added.

    So, welfare rework, childcare benefits/education expansion, and public option being passed would be what I'd consider a victory here.

    3. Environmentalism: Energy
    In a way, this is #1, but I think it may not be possible without #1 and #2 for political concerns. I think USA has done a good job freeing ourselves from foreign oil dependency, but we've traded one villain for another; we now depend on our own oil and coal. We need to expand the use of non-fossil-fuel energy sources. Nuclear, solar, wind, etc. Nuclear to be clear has mondo problems, but those problems are not NEARLY as mondo as us cooking ourselves alive with freakin greenhouse gasses. It's surely possible. France gets 90% of its electricity from non-fossil (link) due in part to its adoption of Nuclear power. I'd like to think we can do the same. We should also promote via tax incentives research into better electric vehicles and energy storage tech. Shipping in the US and driving in general also uses a ton of fossil fuels, and if we can shift the load from local power plants in cars (that convert gasoline into energy) to our power grid (for recharging EV batteries or fuel cells) then modernizing our grid also reduces car emissions. We also need to deal with our own industrial pollution, but it needs to be done in a way that brings out trade partners on board, so that firms don't just go across the border into Canada to dump a ton of pollution out.

    So, a victory would be: massively increased non-fossil fuel electricity generation, new power grid, incentives for new car tech, cap-and-trade being passed, and environmental regs being put into all our trade deals so that our trade partners either follow our regs or pay a hefty fee (which we use to do offsets). Free trade is our ally here.

    4: A bunch of other minor policies.

    I'd like to see major HUD outlays to provide urban housing in major centers. I'd like to see federally administered funds for job retraining and resettlement. I'd like to see continuing education options for adults. I'd like to see remote public higher ed to provide opportunities to people who can't easily get to a college. I'd like to see greater LGBT civlibs. I'd like to see increased "free trade with strings" to draw countries into our sphere of influence. I'd like to see the legalization of marijuana and the decriminalization of the consumption (not distribution) of most drugs. I'd like to see cap gains tax replaced with inheritance tax. These are all like thngs I'd like

    But when it comes down to it, in order:
    1. We need to save our country's soul by defending our civil liberties and democracy, the thing that makes America exceptional. The default state of humanity is autocracy, and it only because of the tireless efforts of generations of Americans that we have managed to sustain a liberal democracy. We must not drop the torch.
    2. We need to save our country's will and spirit by making life and finding and holding a good, dignifying job possible for everyone, and life bearable everyone between jobs, retraining, or unemployable. This means a better safety net, better support for parents, better education for kids, easier access to college and job retraining for adults of all ages. Also, healthcare for everyone.
    3. We need to save the world, because we live in it.
     
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  19. Shy Guy

    Shy Guy

    Location:
    Here
    We've been pretty successful moving social issues to the left in this country (despite the election of Trump). Support for both interracial marriage and gay marriage is up, and Americans generally like the idea of everyone having an equal opportunity to prove themselves. While "identity politics" has become an unpopular term as of late, this is mostly a reaction to the more authoritarian, radical, or just plain rude elements of the movement. I don't think it's necessarily opposition to minority groups having the same opportunity and voice as everyone else.

    What we haven't done is move economic policy to the left. Since the 80's and 90's, the Democrats have adopted the right's laissez faire economics, deregulation, de-funding, and tax cut schemes and have done very little to reel in our private sector. This has led to many of the problems that we are facing today in income gaps, deprecating wages, and shrinking middle class. It's become so bad that we have the Republicans picking up the torch of populism and saying that they'll realign the economic landscape back in favor of the worker while the Democrats became the defenders of the status quo.

    We are at the cusp of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, one that threatens to turn our economy and world upside down. We've already begin to see our current economic paradigm crack due to globalization and increases in efficiency. What will we do when the automation wave hits us and capital no longer requires labor? What sort of economy will we create out of it? The Left will need answers to these questions soon, because allowing the right to define the new economy will produce a nightmare world of an entrenched, global aristocracy with all the resources and wealth while the remainder of us live in terrible poverty. What's even more nightmarish is that unlike the past, technology is becoming such an extreme force multiplier that the top 1% may in a 100 or so years have the capability to defeat the other 99% (how well would some peasant revolution do against automated armies churned out from automated factories). I'll admit that this is pretty paranoid, but the idea of letting the new world be written by the individuals who have designed our current economy scares me, and it's what will happen if we let the conservatives get their way, or if we allow big money to continue to influence the Left. The one thing that gives me optimism is that the Right has traditionally been more sensitive to shakeups such as these and they'll be even less prepared then us when it hits.
     
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  20. A circlejerk, usually.
     
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  21. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    well, to make my intentions more clear: I basically feel like there's at least two strands of leftism right now and I want to see what the common ground is.

    Broadly, I feel one side of the left cares more about integration into the existing system: Making sure that black people, women, etc. can rise to the top of existing power hierarchies and job patterns.
    The second part of the left more wishes to change the way those power hierarchies work, or if possible, simply eliminate them.
     
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  22. Oh, that's interesting. I'm guessing I probably fall more into the former group, I don't have any beliefs that we should change the fundamental institutions of our society. I think we're best served by incremental changes, like rolling back laws that restrict civil liberties, or establishing programs to help people do better in our current society like job retraining, public option healthcare, etc. I want to preserve and expand civil liberties and opportunities, and I think another really important goal of the left is literally saving the world. I don't think this is necessarily an inherently leftist position, but I'd like to see the American Left get it done, since me and my descendants have to live on this planet.
     
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  23. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    I fall firmly into the second group, because I don't tend to think the existing institutions of society work very well. Like, they seem far too open to allowing various portions of the elite to run away and reek havoc as happened in the financial crisis, and generally seem to do a very poor job at creating a society anyone wants.

    Edit: I do understand the first though, like, most change in our lifetime has sucked. It's not surprising that rebuilding social institutions has got a bad name given it's mostly been the conservatives trying to implement radical Thatcherism.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
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  24. I think it's also a reaction to a perception that certain (mostly elite and affluent) factions within the Democratic Party have started to adopt an inverted Southern Strategy: using social issues and fear of Republican bigotry as "red meat" to distract the base from the party's failure to fight for the poor, and sometimes even weaponizing social liberalism against leftism (e.g. painting Sanders supporters as socially regressive and implying that a focus on class would somehow throw minorities under the bus when in fact it would disproportionately benefit them). I think a big part of the distaste for Hillary Clinton among some dissatisfied leftists this year was a perception that she or her supporters pursued this kind of strategy.
     
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  25. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    The problem with identity politics is it can make coalition formation really hard.

    Like, if you define police violence as a black only issue, you exclude any whites who may have been victimised from it.
     
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