Liberals Have Some Soul-Searching to Do

Paul Christian Gordon/ZUMA

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I don’t know that I trust myself yet to say anything about the election, but there’s a little bit I can say.

First, no matter what else, and no matter how close the count was, it looks like Donald Trump is being tossed out of the White House. This is an unalloyed good thing and we should all be breathing a huge sigh of relief over it.

That said, Joe Biden’s victory represents only a tiny change in the vote compared to 2016. Trumpism wasn’t rejected—he probably would have won if not for the pandemic—and liberalism wasn’t embraced. At this point, Republicans still need to come to grips with how Trump took over their party, but Democrats need to come to grips with the fact that they remain a generally unloved alternative. I have my own ideas about why that is, which I’ll keep to myself for the time being, but it’s something that needs to be addressed in a clear-eyed way. No more hiding behind popular vote victories or polls claiming to show that everyone loves our policies. It’s obvious that both are misleading. Nor is the answer for the party to be more vigorous about supporting your personal policy preferences. That’s just lazy.

This is all going to be discussed to death over the next few months, and we’re all going to get sick of it. But the worst thing liberals can do is to keep piddling down the same path as always without giving it much thought. We need to do better.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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