This article over at Vox does a pretty good job of spelling out why I think Democrats are going to be out of power for at least the next generation. To put it very simply (too simply — you should read the entire article): when dominant social groups believe that they are losing power to other social groups, they perceive it as an injustice that’s being done to them. This leads to resentment, which the fascist-right is currently exploiting to achieve electoral victories.
And that’s a big problem for progressives, because the linchpin of progressivism is the amelioration of the effects of social group dominance. Fascist-right voters are ideologically opposed to the very soul of progressivism. Picture something like this:
“We want to keep most of the power.”
“Well you can’t, you’ll need to share it with people who aren’t like you, people who have been historically disenfranchised.”
I believe this impulse is so strong that it doesn’t matter how bad a job the fascist-right’s elected representatives do, nor does it matter how immiserated their electoral base becomes; as long as that base feels that they are in charge they will never turn against those representatives. In other words, they will gladly steer the ship straight into an iceberg as long as they are the ones at the wheel.
What can Democrats do about it? Smash apart the fragile coalition of marginalized groups just so they can appeal to an aggrieved social who feels like the reigns are slipping out of their grasp? Maybe. The Democrats, as a party, are not wedded to progressive ideals — not as long as the fundraising arm calls the shots. They could slowly start winning elections that way. But, from a progressive perspective, what is the point then? Why support a party that’s just another version of the non-progressive party they’ve been struggling against for decades?
But then, what will progressives do without a voice in any major national party? Unless there’s some way to quell the burning resentment felt by historically dominant social groups, the progressive project is probably doomed.