While liberal politics in recent years have combined with the social justice movement to achieve resounding changes, with the 2020 election fast approaching, there are still places where liberal politics can improve.

While the mostly democratic field of twenty-four candidates prepare for the 2020 election, it is important to highlight that while liberal politics moved policies in the United States forward, there are still many issues that need to be addressed in order for more progress to occur.

Divisive Language (Republican vs Democrats)

Despite the fact that many Democratic politicians boast about being able to “reach across the table,” their rhetoric suggests otherwise. The terms “Republican” and  “alt-right” seem to be interchangeable with each other amongst politicians and commentators. Being a Republican in this era is not always accepted for that reason. Once Trump was elected, the Republican party and the alt-right became inextricably linked as if the Republican party is the party of white supremacy when in reality many Republican citizens would fight against white supremacy. Regardless of what Republican lawmakers are doing, time and time again the citizens of the United States see that sometimes their lawmakers do not reflect the values of the constituents they represent. For those who see themselves as Republicans, this divisive language amongst liberals is not only a misrepresentation of what they believe, it is viewed as an outright attack on what their party represents. The effect of this language is ultimately the same — it causes disenchantment with liberal policies and politicians. This is not only a problem with Democratic and liberal leaders either, many liberal-leaning people claim that the Republican party is amoral even if you see sparks of morality in their ranks. What this does to the other side is promote an anti-agenda to the liberal agenda, as people do when they feel insulted or underrepresented. Ultimately, if liberals really want to change the system, the language of divisiveness and two-party politics has to change.

Support for Social Justice vs Action

A couple of weeks ago, the deaths of trans women, largely women of color, became a huge talking point for liberal politicians and commentators alike. Many presidential candidates jumped on the news to express solidarity, acknowledge the struggle of trans women of color, and say that the phenomena of trans deaths needs to stop. However, most offered no plans for doing so nor set up meetings with trans activists and people to discuss these issues. Similarly, the issue of immigration is still one that many Democratic leaders fail to answer. The one thing worse than having a bad plan is not having a plan at all. Then, while many gun control policies made strides in the past couple years, there is still much work to be done, yet barely any candidate for President has a comprehensive plan. Support does not create plans. Candidates might answer questions from people at town halls, but that does not help them inform their policy as much as sitting down with people and openly showing support outside of the social media world.  Using a political platform to advocate for issues is the right thing to do, but not following through on that advocacy is not. This causes a disenchantment with liberal politics since it seems like focusing on advocacy is yet another political tactic to garner votes from wherever possible, which does not make it seem like politicians care about these issues. Sometimes, candidates advocate for issues saying “if I get so and so position, I will do such and such,” instead of taking steps from outside of their campaigns. With every administration, leaders make promises and then do not deliver on many of them. A key to knowing whether a candidate will actually change aspects of the policy is what they did in the past, who they speak to or meet with during their campaigns, and what issues personally affect them.

You Cannot Please Everybody

It seems that most liberals are attempting to be inclusive of all views and while this is a valid and honorable viewpoint, it is simply impossible for the Democratic political party to represent everyone. There is not a whole lot of controversy surrounding the views of liberal politics in mainstream media. This lack of controversy does liberal politics a disservice since it is human nature to indulge in controversy. Appealing to all voices is a huge selling point in the liberal political atmosphere, but ultimately it is an ideal — an impossible approach to politics. There will always be voices left out and while policies should work to try to minimize that as much as possible, complete eradication of lost voices will never happen. Ideally, a political system should work for the majority of people within its borders and that is what politicians should try to achieve. That is not an offensive stance, it is a practical one. No one person can fix all of the country’s problems, nor can they represent everyone. Ultimately, politicians always pick and choose which policies will be more important to their campaign and why. Right now, that comes down to healthcare, gun control, abortion and women’s rights, immigration, minimum wage, marijuana legalization, and climate change. That still leaves out a lot of extraordinarily important issues and injustices: LGBTQIA discrimination through policy and violence, mental health issues, international policies, and the rise of hate groups to name a few. However, one of the constants around the world will always be injustice and it will still always need to be fought despite what politicians and politics can achieve through the two-party system that exists today.

Margaret Valenti

Margaret Valenti is the Editor of Generation Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today.