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Monday, May 12, 2014

Why Liberals and Progressives Beat Conservatives

There you have it. Nice provocative headline.

Liberals and progressives beat the stuffing out of conservatives in political elections because they have much more commitment to winning. (By the way, apologies are in order for these labels, which are too often too broadly used and do not account for nuanced positions. They are used here for the sake of ease for you, the reader.)

Of course, conservatives want to win.

Everyone does. Presumably.

But activists on the "left" generally outwork and outcontribute their opponents.  

As the legendary -- if infamous -- college basketball coach Bob Knight said:
"The key is not the will to win. Everyone has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important."
Being in a coffee klatsch or talking to the same twelve people who are already in your corner is not advancing the ball.

Real political work involves knocking on doors, picking up the phone and connecting with real people. A Facebook blast, while cost-effective, is not the same as real effort. It just isn't.

Progressive organizations overachieve because -- in a seeming paradox -- they borrow the unyielding "eat what you kill" and "survival of the fittest" mentality sometimes seen (and often criticized) in the private sector. They have high and sometimes unyielding expectations for their members. You are expected to -- no, you must -- produce. You must turn out the vote. And you must contribute, and several hundred dollars, no matter what.  And some activists, already having no hesitation generally to make unfair judgments about the motives or character of those with whom they disagree, are very good at pressuring their underlings to produce and contribute even at considerable personal sacrifice.

When was the last time you could say that about any Republican candidate or conservative activist?

Eric Dixon is a New York corporate lawyer and strategic consultant for businesses, political groups (across the spectrum), political candidates and civic and nonprofit organizations, mostly in the New York and New Jersey markets. 

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