In the current political environment in the U.S. facts do not matter. Politics, to a certain extent, is irrational. Therein lies the main disadvantage of the progressive movement, such as it is. That and the lack of a clear, focused and disciplined approach to politics.
When I analyze political communication styles between the Right and the Left, I can see a very clear demarcation that explains the differences in outcomes--which mainly benefits the Right.
And I'm a little surprised about it since I instinctively think that leaders on the Left would be "smart" enough to know this, and adapt accordingly.
The main challenge I see is that people on the Left are not able to decouple the two very different realms of POWER and RATIONALITY. The Left thinks that the way to achieve political power is by reaching the electorate with messages based on facts, and reason. It seems incapable of understanding that the two things are very different entities.
In very advanced, modern, highly educated, and secular societies it is possible to have these two conceptual entities--Power and Rationality--mesh, to a certain degree. But no matter how advanced a society is, they will never be one and the same. They will always be two different things, and should be approached accordingly.
Conversely, the higher the level of ignorance, injustice and inequality in a society, the bigger the chasm between the concepts of Power and Rationality.
Because of a very focused decades-long campaign to dismantle (and defund) the public education system in the U.S., along with the proper functions of government (by gutting the regulatory framework), the level of ignorance has increased significantly.
So much so that it can be said that as of today, on average, the populace of the U.S. can't be said to represent that of a very advanced, highly educated, and secular society.
There are very effective ways of communicating and influencing people in this type of environment (low intellect, low information), and appeal to objectivity, reason, data, research, abstract concepts of equality, and justice, is not one of them.
In a way, you have to go back to primal instincts in this type of environment. At this level people are extremely influenced by things that reach their senses (i.e., hearing, vision), regardless of the veracity or whether those things are based on empirical evidence, research, scientific consensus, or intellect.
Other high impact things at this level include first impressions, and perception. So for example, somebody that projects a high level of conviction about what they are saying is going to have a much more powerful influence on people (at the lower intellect level--which is the majority of people), regardless of the accuracy or veracity of what they are saying.
And here is the interesting thing I've noticed: Demagogues and people who are unprincipled and base their arguments on complete fallacies, fabrications, and lies, tend to be the loudest, exhibit the more brashness in-your-face argumentative style. And they "seem" to exhibit the most conviction.
And people who are principled, intellectual, and base their arguments on objective analysis and rational thinking tend to be the more timid.
Failing to understand these dynamics, during these times, could prove fatal for whatever is left of the American democracy.
What is the key to confront this situation? So let's say we have two competing ideologies. One is based on utter bullshit, religious fanaticism, exploitation, and enslavement of the populace. That's the Right.
The other is based on the concept of justice and equality under the law, a market that operates in a level playing field (properly regulated to avert abuses), on secularism, and constitutional protections. That's the Left.
These two ideologies are in competition, and the outcome is clear: We either come out of this historical period as a secular constitutional republic, or as a banana republic.
So in essence this is an existential struggle: Whether you are going to let others enslave you, or not.
So you come up with very poignant messaging and a laser-focused, and disciplined approach to engage in that battle.
But you have to be as true a believer, and as wild-eyed, rocking back-and-forth end-of-days zealot as the other side. (I know, I know... That's very unpalatable for progressives).
So in your strategy you have to be brutal, ruthless, brash, in-your-face, relentless, Machiavellian, amoral, end-justify-the-means, whatever it takes to save the democracy.
So you use very powerful messaging (propaganda), media manipulation, appeals to highly emotional "buttons" on the population. In other words, you have to be a populist.
Finally, at the brainy level, you have to have a cartel-like organizational focus bringing all major progressive organizations together. You have to have a short-, mid-, and long-term strategy. You have to have think tanks, public relations firms, funding, your own media outlets, researchers, economists, lawyers, journalists--all working under a very (extremely) focused, and disciplined approach.
Everything you do has to have an angle. Every move; every action. Also, as part of the strategy there should be a highly focused and disciplined national resistance movement. If there are protests, they should be consider just one (small) part of the overall strategy--not an end of themselves.
In order to break the corporate media blackout on such protests, there should be a very sophisticated media manipulation campaign; you have to know which buttons to push to get attention, etc.
And then you have the leaders, the lieutenants, the intellectuals, the street-level organizers and agitators.
In other words, you have to mirror what the Right is doing, so you won't be at a disadvantage.
The Right has been organized in similar fashion for decades, including the creation of the Teabaggers with funding from astro-turf corporate money and public relations firms.
I'm very well aware that many self-described progressive will find many of these ideas anathema, but I'm just sharing them to let you know what I think is necessary to take on an adversary that's about to destroy what is left of the American democracy.
I'm just the messenger...