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How To Fix The Left's Image

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Stylan
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How To Fix The Left's Image

Postby Stylan » Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:47 am

When you hear the word "leftist," what image do you conjure up in your mind? Is it a screaming, obnoxious, "SJW?" Unfortunately, for many, this is the case. Even just 10 years ago, the first image that would come in your mind when you thought of a "leftist" was an young, rebellious 18-30 year old. Maybe, at worse, a hipster. The 1999 Seattle WTO Protests, Occupy Wall Street, the Iraq War protests, Kurt Cobain, Punk Rock, Coolness, Anti-Establishmentarianism - these were the things that the left was known for. But sometime in 2014-2016, that image shifted drastically. I'm not sure what caused this change, but nevertheless, it happened. Capitalism recuperated all the left's talking points on social issues: LGBT Rights, Feminism, Abortion Rights. Some of the left's views were still unable to be recuperated though, such as anti-capitalism and anti-war. Now, I need to be clear here - the fact that LGBT rights, feminism, and abortion rights became supported by the majority is a very, very good thing. However, this leads into my next talking point.

In 2015, a small movement, largely online, of internet trolls started to form. This was called the "Alt-Right." From sometime in late 2015 to Charlottesville in Summer 2017, the alt-right dominated Internet discourse. Leftists were suddenly considered "uncool" or "part of the system." (which wasn't true, but it was what many believed)

But then Heather Heyes was murdered.

President Trump openly refused to condemn white nationalists and Neo-Nazis. How could a movement like the alt-right be sticking it to the man if the man supported them?

Fortunately, after this incident, the online left managed to figure out memes and re-establish itself online. For the next couple of years, from 2017 to now, the left has been gradually growing in popularity, largely fueled by YouTube and podcasts, just as the alt-right was in 2015 and 2016.

Despite the left now not being utterly ridiculed everywhere, the popular image of a leftist is still mostly negative, and not the hip, punk attitude of the 60s-early 2010s.

So how do we fix this?

Well, the first and most important thing to do is not support any Democratic presidential candidates, unless they are explicitly left-wing, such as Bernie Sanders. Radical liberals such as Vaush and ContraPoints, two YouTubers I love I might add, have quite unfortunately had very, very bad takes this election. Both endorsed Joe Biden for President. Biden is at, best, a milquetoast neoliberal centrist, who will enact nothing even mildly progressive, save maybe a few socially liberal policies.

Let's back track. It's 2000. The election is raging between Al Gore, the Democratic nominee for POTUS, and George W. Bush, the Republican nominee. What do you think of these candidates? Fuck them both.

You're Choking Victim, soon to be Leftover Crack, a punk rock band from New York City, who bill yourself as having "no commercial appeal." Your album artwork contains pentagrams, mass murderers, and pictures of gore. Your songs are about cop-killing, shoplifting, satanism, hating the government, and general misanthropy.

But your songs have other themes too - being unapologetically anti-homophobia, anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-war, and anti-capitalist.

Eventually, your band pushes the envelope so far as to make fun of national tragedies such as 9/11. (something even I find too offensive)

This extreme left-wing radicalism leads you to being banned at Wal-Mart, Target, and almost every other chain supermarket in the U.S.

Now, I want you to compare that to the left-wing of today. The left of today is still quite rebellious, but not nearly as edgy as punk was. While it is catching up, and becoming rebellious again, it still has a long way to go. The mainstream view of a leftist is still a Harry Potter loving, Biden-supporting, screeching radical liberal.

This has gotta go. I understand that the main people who make the left look bad are not leftists at all, but mere liberals, but it still makes the left look awful.

I propose we, as the left, go back to a time when the left was so anti-suburban, so anti-mainstream that it was nigh impossible to support. Doing this will make a clear distinction between the left and establishment liberals, and make the left seem cool again.

To summarize - stop supporting centrist candidates - AND BRING BACK THE AESTHETIC OF PUNK!
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The Reformed American Republic
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Postby The Reformed American Republic » Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:50 am

Stylan wrote:In 2015, a small movement, largely online, of internet trolls started to form. This was called the "Alt-Right." From sometime in late 2015 to Charlottesville in Summer 2017, the alt-right dominated Internet discourse. Leftists were suddenly considered "uncool" or "part of the system." (which wasn't true, but it was what many believed)

I don't think the alt-right dominated the internet or discourse. Yes, they dominated certain sites but not the while internet, and many mainstream websites responded by banning them.

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No State Here
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Postby No State Here » Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:54 am

As bad as SJWs are, they’re just annoying. Tankies on the other hand are sympathizing for brutal regimes

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Borderlands of Rojava
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Postby Borderlands of Rojava » Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:55 am

Tone down on the white privilege talk for one. It's hard to have working class unity when you keep accusing people who live in a box on the side of the road of being privileged.

The best there has ever been in this country is "white slight lessening of misfortune," but I don't believe there was ever white privilege, at least based on how I view privilege. Not having to drink from a separate water fountain but still being denied labor rights, abused by the police and forced to starve isnt really privilege.
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Borderlands of Rojava
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Postby Borderlands of Rojava » Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:56 am

No State Here wrote:As bad as SJWs are, they’re just annoying. Tankies on the other hand are sympathizing for brutal regimes


This too. That shit, the admiration of Stalin and Mao, has to stop.
Leftist, commie and Antifa Guy If you don't think tanks are always the answer, you're big dumb

"The devil is out there. Hiding behind every corner and in every nook and cranny. In all of the dives, all over the city. Before you lays an entire world of enemies, and at day's end when the chips are down, we're a society of strangers. You cant walk by someone on the street anymore without crossing the road to get away from their stare. Welcome to the Twilight Zone. The land of plague and shadow. Nothing innocent survives this world. If it can't corrupt you, it'll kill you."

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The Reformed American Republic
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Postby The Reformed American Republic » Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:57 am

Borderlands of Rojava wrote:Tone down on the white privilege talk for one. It's hard to have working class unity when you keep accusing people who live in a box on the side of the road of being privileged.

The best there has ever been in this country is "white slight lessening of misfortune," but I don't believe there was ever white privilege, at least based on how I view privilege. Not having to drink from a separate water fountain but still being denied labor rights, abused by the police and forced to starve isnt really privilege.

Indeed, I would call that being fucked just a bit less.

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Honeydewistania
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Postby Honeydewistania » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:00 am

Why not vote for Joe Biden though, now that there’s no left wing candidate? Even Joe Biden is more left wing than Trump and Pence, and that’s saying something.
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Nuroblav
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Postby Nuroblav » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:09 am

I mean, punk is still around. Just not having as much impact as it did in the 80s or perhaps even 90s. But I am definitely all for that.

I think for the Democrat supporting, there's a difference between outright saying 'YEEEAAAAH BIIIDEEEEENNN!!!!', and saying 'well perhaps he's slightly better than the other option'. But I do think you raise a good point there, and I think it's important that simply voting won't do too much.

Otherwise, I refer you to Rojava and NSH, who raised some good points in my opinion. To sum things up, punk would be a great thing to 'bring back'.
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Punished UMN
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Postby Punished UMN » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:15 am

No State Here wrote:As bad as SJWs are, they’re just annoying. Tankies on the other hand are sympathizing for brutal regimes

The brutal regimes make us look badass though!
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Ifreann
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Postby Ifreann » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:17 am

I think leftists should just do leftism in whatever manner seems most effective in the circumstances they find themselves in, and not concern themselves with "The Image Of The Left".
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Borderlands of Rojava
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Postby Borderlands of Rojava » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:18 am

Ifreann wrote:I think leftists should just do leftism in whatever manner seems most effective in the circumstances they find themselves in, and not concern themselves with "The Image Of The Left".


It's a balancing act. You don't wanna alienate people too much and risk becoming a fringe but you also don't wanna totally sell out.
Leftist, commie and Antifa Guy If you don't think tanks are always the answer, you're big dumb

"The devil is out there. Hiding behind every corner and in every nook and cranny. In all of the dives, all over the city. Before you lays an entire world of enemies, and at day's end when the chips are down, we're a society of strangers. You cant walk by someone on the street anymore without crossing the road to get away from their stare. Welcome to the Twilight Zone. The land of plague and shadow. Nothing innocent survives this world. If it can't corrupt you, it'll kill you."

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Stylan
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Postby Stylan » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:21 am

Borderlands of Rojava wrote:
No State Here wrote:As bad as SJWs are, they’re just annoying. Tankies on the other hand are sympathizing for brutal regimes


This too. That shit, the admiration of Stalin and Mao, has to stop.

Yeah i guess. but like, the far-right worship Hitler and kids love it.
Honeydewistania wrote:Why not vote for Joe Biden though, now that there’s no left wing candidate? Even Joe Biden is more left wing than Trump and Pence, and that’s saying something.

Joe Biden isn't left wing, and it looks really lame to support a candidate as moderate as him. Like imagine if the alt-right had all supported Jeb Bush, do you think they would have gotten anywhere? No.
Borderlands of Rojava wrote:Tone down on the white privilege talk for one. It's hard to have working class unity when you keep accusing people who live in a box on the side of the road of being privileged.

The best there has ever been in this country is "white slight lessening of misfortune," but I don't believe there was ever white privilege, at least based on how I view privilege. Not having to drink from a separate water fountain but still being denied labor rights, abused by the police and forced to starve isnt really privilege.

Kinda agree. White privilege is real, and needs to be discussed, but I think the left really needs to bring up class and such much more.
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-Ocelot-
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Postby -Ocelot- » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:32 am

No State Here wrote:As bad as SJWs are, they’re just annoying. Tankies on the other hand are sympathizing for brutal regimes


This. The left's image cannot be fixed because there is nothing to fix. It encompasses failed ideologies that have led to the creation of some of the most brutal, inhumane and dangerous dictatorships the world has ever seen. People supporting these ideologies today are trying to revive an old corpse that's going to eat them if it ever comes back from the dead. Let it die, already.


When you hear the word "leftist," what image do you conjure up in your mind? Is it a screaming, obnoxious, "SJW?"


No, I think of work camps, poverty, starving people, dictators threatening world war and corpses. In other words, I think of fully realized socialism and not people who want to institute it in their own countries (whether SJW or w/e you want to call them).

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Ifreann
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Postby Ifreann » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:44 am

Borderlands of Rojava wrote:
Ifreann wrote:I think leftists should just do leftism in whatever manner seems most effective in the circumstances they find themselves in, and not concern themselves with "The Image Of The Left".


It's a balancing act. You don't wanna alienate people too much and risk becoming a fringe but you also don't wanna totally sell out.

You wanna do whatever it is you're doing. Unionise a workplace, thwart an eviction, disrupt a fascist conference, feed the homeless whatever. If you do that, but some graph plotting the statistical Image Of The Left ticks down, fuck it, you just made real people's lives better, that's all that matters. Don't play the mainstream politics game of chasing opinion polls, just do real shit as best you can. If the shit you're trying to do is communicate leftist ideas to people, then do that in whatever way seems like it will best help them understand whatever idea it is you're trying to get across, and tell them that that's what you're trying to do. Some sincerity will go a hell of a lot further than the market-tested, focus-grouped bullshit that comes out of the mouthpieces of billionaires.

But I'm just some weirdo who spends too much time on some weird internet forum, it's entirely possible, even likely, that I'm talking total shit.
Mistake Not My Current State Of Regular Thorough Handwashing For The Awesome And Terrible Majesty Of The Towering Seas Of Mask Wearing That Are Themselves The Mere Milquetoast Shallows Fringing My Vast Oceans Of Social Distancing
He/Him

You've got a lonesome road to walk, and it ain't along the railroad track, and it ain't along the black-top tar you walked a hundred times before.
I'll tell you where the real road lies: between your ears, behind your eyes. That is the path to paradise, likewise the road to ruin.

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Sanghyeok
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Postby Sanghyeok » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:46 am

Leftists lack unity, and we're too busy tearing each other apart to create a good image. Nothing will happen until we achieve left unity, and yes this includes tankies AND anarcho-communists and everything else.
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Stylan
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Postby Stylan » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:54 am

Ifreann wrote:
Borderlands of Rojava wrote:
It's a balancing act. You don't wanna alienate people too much and risk becoming a fringe but you also don't wanna totally sell out.

You wanna do whatever it is you're doing. Unionise a workplace, thwart an eviction, disrupt a fascist conference, feed the homeless whatever. If you do that, but some graph plotting the statistical Image Of The Left ticks down, fuck it, you just made real people's lives better, that's all that matters. Don't play the mainstream politics game of chasing opinion polls, just do real shit as best you can. If the shit you're trying to do is communicate leftist ideas to people, then do that in whatever way seems like it will best help them understand whatever idea it is you're trying to get across, and tell them that that's what you're trying to do. Some sincerity will go a hell of a lot further than the market-tested, focus-grouped bullshit that comes out of the mouthpieces of billionaires.

But I'm just some weirdo who spends too much time on some weird internet forum, it's entirely possible, even likely, that I'm talking total shit.

That's a great point, I didn't even think of that lol.

Direct action and praxis can't be recuperated very well.
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Chan Island
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Postby Chan Island » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:02 am

There are a multitude of overlapping, ruinous factors all combining to make things difficult for the Left on the global stage, and they will vary from country to country.

In Britain, the biggest issue is currently institutions and constitutional set up. We use the First Past the Post electoral system, which systematically favours the creation of 2 big parties. And of those 2 parties, the right wing one will always have an inbuilt advantage. For the left to succeed, it has to not only promise change, but then also deliver on it as soon as it gets power. If the next Labour government doesn't institute electoral reform, we will be doomed to continue these cycles of 15 years of Tory government pockmarked occasionally by a few years of a Labour administration that actually does some good.

As well as institutions, the left needs to look at economic and cultural policies. More and more, the ideology is associated with the view from cities. Which is fine when you're running for London mayor, but awful for national elections. Toning down the white privilege talk, insisting on discussing racism above all else and fantasies about communist dictatorships would go a long way towards healing the issue. For the US context, I'm more and more wondering about toning down talk of gun control too (much as that pains me to say).

Instead, focus on reform, focus on economics and focus on corruption. The hard rightwing governments of Eastern Europe, Britain, America, Brazil and other countries are for the most part brazenly, openly kleptocratic regimes. Just look at how many times Trump's had government functions in his own hotels & resorts, or how many British PPE contracts have gone to shadowy shell companies. Look how outraged people are, even all this time later, when Dominic Cummings lords it over us getting away with shite that would put you or me in trouble. Focus on that. Promise change. Deliver on that promise when you can. Make a few blatant power moves- the right certainly is more than happy to do so so why not return the treatment in kind?
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Philjia
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Postby Philjia » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:23 am

No more fucking dusty old theory written by nasty people, no more apologetics for oppressive states, emphasise opposition to capitalism based on real world consequences rather than esoteric philosophy, enthusiastic participation in the democratic process, focus on community organised solutions to problems over protest, and seduce the liberals by promoting market socialism or mutualism as a short term goal.
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Stylan
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Postby Stylan » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:23 am

I also think, in a perverse way, Trump winning a second term will help the left. The more conservative the country gets, the more edgy the left seems, and the more likely it is to gain traction and win.
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The Blaatschapen
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Postby The Blaatschapen » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:27 am

Stylan wrote:I also think, in a perverse way, Trump winning a second term will help the left. The more conservative the country gets, the more edgy the left seems, and the more likely it is to gain traction and win.


While I don't think that it is because of edginess that the left then will win, but rather that the democrats will have to resort to new ways of competing in elections, since two fairly moderate candidates did not manage to win against a right wing republican in a row.

And then it won't be the moderate Biden, nor the warhawk neoliberal Clinton, but finally a proper progressive as the candidate.

One can hope.
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Borderlands of Rojava
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Postby Borderlands of Rojava » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:29 am

Stylan wrote:I also think, in a perverse way, Trump winning a second term will help the left. The more conservative the country gets, the more edgy the left seems, and the more likely it is to gain traction and win.


If covid didn't happen, I would agree, but right now I'm trying not to die.
Leftist, commie and Antifa Guy If you don't think tanks are always the answer, you're big dumb

"The devil is out there. Hiding behind every corner and in every nook and cranny. In all of the dives, all over the city. Before you lays an entire world of enemies, and at day's end when the chips are down, we're a society of strangers. You cant walk by someone on the street anymore without crossing the road to get away from their stare. Welcome to the Twilight Zone. The land of plague and shadow. Nothing innocent survives this world. If it can't corrupt you, it'll kill you."

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Chan Island
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Postby Chan Island » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:32 am

Philjia wrote:No more fucking dusty old theory written by nasty people, no more apologetics for oppressive states, emphasise opposition to capitalism based on real world consequences rather than esoteric philosophy, enthusiastic participation in the democratic process, focus on community organised solutions to problems over protest, and seduce the liberals by promoting market socialism or mutualism as a short term goal.


TRUE. Marx has been dead for over 100 years. It is long, long, long past time to get some new theorists up in here and come up with ideas that actually apply to the information age.
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Odreria
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Postby Odreria » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:35 am

Maybe not acting like complete idiots would help

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The Blaatschapen
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Postby The Blaatschapen » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:35 am

Chan Island wrote:
Philjia wrote:No more fucking dusty old theory written by nasty people, no more apologetics for oppressive states, emphasise opposition to capitalism based on real world consequences rather than esoteric philosophy, enthusiastic participation in the democratic process, focus on community organised solutions to problems over protest, and seduce the liberals by promoting market socialism or mutualism as a short term goal.


TRUE. Marx has been dead for over 100 years. It is long, long, long past time to get some new theorists up in here and come up with ideas that actually apply to the information age.


Jesus has been dead for almost 2000 years, will the Christians update their ideas as well?
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Stylan
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Postby Stylan » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:36 am

The Blaatschapen wrote:
Stylan wrote:I also think, in a perverse way, Trump winning a second term will help the left. The more conservative the country gets, the more edgy the left seems, and the more likely it is to gain traction and win.


While I don't think that it is because of edginess that the left then will win, but rather that the democrats will have to resort to new ways of competing in elections, since two fairly moderate candidates did not manage to win against a right wing republican in a row.

And then it won't be the moderate Biden, nor the warhawk neoliberal Clinton, but finally a proper progressive as the candidate.

One can hope.

Yeah and that.
Borderlands of Rojava wrote:
Stylan wrote:I also think, in a perverse way, Trump winning a second term will help the left. The more conservative the country gets, the more edgy the left seems, and the more likely it is to gain traction and win.


If covid didn't happen, I would agree, but right now I'm trying not to die.

Fair criticism.
Tankie, I guess. Numba 1 Chapo Trap House Stan! Christian.

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