Updated: Mar 14, 2021
“I hate ‘isms.” Someone said this to me the other day and it really stuck. There are a bunch of ‘isms — conservatism, liberalism, libertarianism, populism, socialism, communism, progressivism. I do hate all of ‘em.
I said something similar during my congressional campaign. Mine was “I hate labels.” These statements both convey the same idea —we should reject everything that limits us and does not help win elections. These are things that just stand in the way.
This is especially true when talking about rural Democratic politics. Ideologies, purity tests and oaths of allegiance to one particular view of the world or politics are things we must shun. They are a luxury a minority party cannot afford. Stop saying someone isn’t a real Democrat just because they don’t agree with you on a particular issue or issues. That is the fastest way to recruit another Republican — or something worse.
Winning elections is not about ideology, it is about numbers. It’s math. That is all it is — how many votes you have. We need to be focused on votes, not whether this candidate or that candidate mirrors our views on particular issues, whether we don’t like them because they are conservative, moderate, liberal or progressive. The only purpose of the Democratic Party should be to win elections. If you’d rather be right than win, if you want to advocate for a particular position on an issue, you need to find somewhere else to do it. The Democratic Party in rural Texas is not the place.
It is only after winning an election that you can have any influence on particular issues or policies you care about. How do you win elections? They are not won by candidates, big data, TV ads or social media. They are won by you going out and finding ten friends who will commit to vote the same way. Then each of them get 10 friends and so on and so on. Before you know it you have hundreds and thousands of votes you can deliver to the County Chair on election day. That is how you win elections.
Once you do that, then come talk to me about policy and ideology.
Jon Mark Hogg is a lawyer in San Angelo, Texas, a former Democratic County Chair and former Democratic candidate for Congress.