Why Blaming the Left is Intellectually Lazy

Abbey Arletto
6 min readNov 9, 2020

Democrats repeat self-own

The predictable argument being made right now by Democratic Party intelligentsia, never-Trump Republicans and the Centrist media commentariat, is that it’s somehow the Left’s fault Democrats suffered down-ballot losses in the 2020 election. If only no one had ever mentioned defunding the police, Black Lives, the Green New Deal, socialized medicine, higher minimum wages or anything remotely addressing the multitudes of problems America is facing, the Blue Wave would have certainly materialized as foretold in the prophecies.

There’s a number of problems with this lazy reasoning. First of all, it doesn’t take into account several facts that were evident long before voting even began - such as the massive enthusiasm gap between Trump and Biden and the differences in how the two parties campaigned. Republicans did what Democrats usually do, by knocking on millions of doors and reaching out to individual voters. Democrats on the other hand, vastly scaled down their usual canvassing operations due to Covid-19 concerns and relied more heavily on virtual outreach instead. Nor does it address the lack of coherent messaging by the Democratic Party as a whole or indeed what political vision the party has for America, beyond removing Trump.

Secondly, it’s a rather simplistic notion that vocal Leftists and Progressive activists are responsible for pushing Americans to the Right, when the breakneck radicalization of the Republican base has been going on since the G. W. Bush administration (with Fox News assist) whipped them into a wide eyed hysteria of jingoistic, flag-waving phony patriotism and xenophobic frenzy.

There’s been a fairly linear progression of Republican radicalization over the past 40 years, but it really picked up speed beginning with America’s response to 9/11 and accelerating with the election of America’s first Black president. It has come into sharp focus in the cult of personality surrounding Donald Trump and his MAGA doctrine, helped along by a Republican Party that no longer has any political imagination beyond accumulating absolute power and a right-wing media junta for whom it’s good business to fan the fires of paranoia and resentment.

Abbey Arletto

Political scientist, activist and freelance writer from Maine.