With Democrats taking control of the House and making significant inroads in statehouses nationwide, Democrats have finally established a beachhead against the dark forces of conservatism. Now it's time to launch a full-scale assault.
More than any time in the last 40 years, events are conspiring against the conservative cause. With Donald Trump as the much-despised head of the Republican Party, and with his presidency imploding by the day, conservatives are on the defensive. Trump's shocking incompetence, policy failures, venality, and cruelty have at last stripped the thin veneer of respectability from conservatism and shown Americans the rot within.
Democrats have a tremendous opportunity to do lasting damage to conservatism--but we have to think big: not just how to win in 2020 but how to fundamentally reshape America toward liberal values.
That may sound grandiose, but it isn't really. It's an achievable long-term goal, but to accomplish it, to truly seize this moment, Democrats will need to launch an all-out ideological war against conservatism. By that I mean that Democrats must pointedly and publicly begin attacking conservatism—by name—in the same way Republicans have waged war against liberalism.
For at least 40 years now we've listened to Republicans mercilessly hammer "liberals." From Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich to Karl Rove and beyond, Republicans have spent decades bashing liberals as tax-and-spend, anti-military, spineless, immoral, un-American snowflakes. They didn't just attack "Democrats." They didn't just debate issues. Their aim was to discredit the philosophical foundation of liberalism itself. And it worked. Spectacularly. Before long the word liberal became an epithet. Millions of Americans have learned to viscerally despise "libtards." To this day few Democratic politicians will publicly describe themselves as liberals; now—if they're brave—they have to call themselves "progressives."
The strategy has obviously been successful, so why haven't Democrats ever returned the favor? I hear Democratic politicians very effectively criticize Republicans, or specific policies, or individual politicians, but I rarely hear them attack conservatism.
Well, now it's time. If we are to fundamentally realign America toward liberal values, we will need to launch a relentless campaign against conservatism. We need to delegitimize not just conservative policies but their entire belief system. We need to make Americans embarrassed to call themselves conservatives.
This can be done, but it will take a strategic, coordinated, long-term game plan with four key elements:
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