Psychology matters in elections. Throughout my career I've seen how having confidence from start to finish impacts campaigns. Understanding your strengths puts the wind at your back. It emboldens candidates and allies, and energizes volunteers, donors and supporters. And it can set the stage for sweeping victories.
Congressman John K. Delaney, what are you talking about? In a recent Washington Post op-ed, headlined, "The last thing America needs? A left-wing version of the Tea Party," the Democratic congressman from Maryland scolds progressives and expresses his worry "about where some of the loudest voices in the room could take the Democratic Party." But the progressive agenda isn't "left wing." The progressive agenda is America's story -- from ending slavery to ending segregation to establishing a woman's right to vote to Social Security, the right to organize, and the fight for fair pay and against income inequality. Strip those from our history and you might as well contract America out to the US Chamber of Commerce the National Association of Manufacturers, and Karl Rove, Inc.
Some leading Democrats seem to have a love-hate relationship with the left. Sure, progressives seem to have more influence than ever this year, at least rhetorically. But it doesn't look like the friction will be going away any time soon. Clearly, the left matters. Why, then, is it so difficult for progressives to get a seat at the table?
There is too much on the line for us to get caught up with minor differences. From racial disparity to income inequality, immigration reform, marriage equality, fair housing, job growth, pay equity, improved schools and much more, the challenges we face are real, and our commitment must be steadfast.
The difference between understanding oneself as a "citizen" and understanding oneself as a "taxpayer" is not merely wide; it is antagonistic. A citizen thinks primarily about his or her community. A taxpayer thinks mostly about himself or herself. The Progressive Agenda seeks to return us to the adult responsibility of being citizens to each other.
There's a big political fight happening in Washington, but for once it does not break down easily along partisan lines. There are free-traders among both the Democrats and the Republicans, and opposition exists on both sides. But the main skirmish in this fight is currently happening between President Obama and some of his fellow Democrats.
The past 25 years have produced stunning gains for the politics of inclusion. Despite continuing police brutality and persistent glass ceilings, this is a more accepting nation. All of these gains were the fruits of popular struggle, which has to give one some hope that inequality is at last breaking through as a top-tier political issue.