In No More “Enemy Turf,” Ed Kilgore lays out the rationale for engaging on cultural issues away from
Yes, certain demographic categories may be “lost” to conservatives if you insist on a winner-takes-all definition, and no, aggressively pursuing support among such voters isn’t worth it if it involves abandoning key principles or essentially adopting the opposition’s point of view. But reducing the margin of defeat on “hostile ground” is often achievable simply by paying attention and not wilfully repelling voters, and in the end a vote is a vote whether it comes from a segment of the electorate that progressives are “winning” or “losing.”
Kilgore notes in particular, the contribution of Amy Sullivan and her recent post in the Washington Post. At least some progressives are not only finding their voice but making important electoral inroads into these once off-limit constituencies.
Of note, he may also underestimate his own contributions, at least for me.
In those ugly days post-2004, Kilgore’s matter-of-fact faith at his old blog, Donkey Rising, along with that of Sullivan and a few others including an up-and-coming state senator from Illinois helped nurture the link between faith and progressive politics. Both articulate a language of hope that is larger than individualism, or the temporary appeals of self-interest.
Whether we talk about Ayn Rand, Romney’s always-switching policy nihilism, austerity economics, or shrinking back from our schools and universities, the conservative turn to the local, private, individual is a turning away from hope. it speaks of a failure of imagination and a settling for second best. Faith and progressive politics alike speak not only of hope for oneself, but of a hope for others, for our communities. And it is hope that lets individuals pick up the generations-spanning task of justice.