Can (some) progressives and conservatives unite?

Historically, Americans who’ve talked about getting “beyond left and right” have been elitists who advocate woke-ism combined with neoliberal capitalism.   But maybe we, the grass roots common people, cam also get together across party lines and ideological categories.

On Tuesday, I linked to a post by Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism about how reform movements in the United States succeeded only when progressives (idealistic middle-class people) and populists (oppressed working-class and poor people) united.

I suggested that U.S. politics are stuck because the Democratic leadership consists of fake progressives and the Republican leadership consists of fake populists, both of whom support the powers that be.  A commenter on that thread suggested ways in which the genuine progressive liberals and populist conservatives might unite.

Progressive Priorities the radicalizing secular Right might agree to:

  • Anti-militarism
  • Universal secular education
  • Female legal equality
  • Consumer protections

Radical Priorities the secular “America First” Right might agree to:

  • Eight hour day and work place safety
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Tax the rich
  • Anti-trust and anti-corporate
  • Anti-imperialism

To join forces with the “America First” Right, the Left would have to concede some ground in areas considered sacrosanct for the Democratic Party. These would include:

  • Strict border enforcement (immigration, drugs etc.)
  • More protectionism in trade policy (maybe scrap the WTO and NAFTA altogether)
  • Other?

What I’m proposing is a fusion of “anti war” “America First” and “Pro-Jobs” values.  Couldn’t this be a winning combination?  And most of all, could it work?

As I see it, the biggest obstacle to such a combination is the culture wars  The new ideology – “woke-ism,” critical race theory, queer theory, “cancel culture,” etc. – consists of a series of wedge issues that keep Americans divided.  

But maybe that ideology could be transcended, based on the principle of equal rights for all, special privileges for none.

Maybe all the failure of the American political establishment to deal with continuing problems – endless wars, deindustrialization, climate-related catastrophes, contagious disease – will become so extreme and so apparent that wedge issues will be forgotten.


5 Responses to “Can (some) progressives and conservatives unite?”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    Does a secular “America First” right even exist? Every America Firster I ever met fell squarely into the “God, Guns, and Country” paradigm.

    Here’s an article you might find interesting:


  2. Kenneth Bryant Says:

    I like the idea of fighting for a fair economy built on shared prosperity that benefits the working masses and rich people alike. But when it comes to the culture war and identity politics what does the phrase ” equal rights for all and special privileges for none ” mean ? What special privileges are people opposing systemic racism, sexism, and homophobia demanding ?


    • philebersole Says:

      Your question is a reasonable one, but giving a complete answer would take a long post.

      You might click on “critical race theory” on my Categories menu on the right-hand column of my blog page.

      I think that all individuals deserve equal justice and fair treatment, regardless of race, creed, color, sex or gender identity.

      I am opposed to racism, sexism and homophobia, which I agree are real problems, although not as much as in the past.

      I have no problem with “whiteness,” “masculinity” or “heteronormativity.”

      Here is a link to an article describing attitudes I have problems with.


      • Kenneth Bryant Says:

        Thanks Phil so much for responding. I’m preparing to launch my own blog here on WordPress called Dirty Rotten Liberal. I would love to hear from you.


      • philebersole Says:

        You seem like a thoughtful person. Let me know when your new blog is up and running and I will include it on my Blogroll.


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