Don’t Worry About the 2020 Primaries. They Won’t Hurt the Progressive Movement.

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How worried should we be about all the dissension among progressives these days? We have Nancy Pelosi vs. AOC. We have centrists vs. lefties. We have Bernie bros vs. CAP. We have purists vs. compromisers. We have the young vs. the boomers. We have Glenn Greenwald vs. everyone.

But here’s the thing: I can’t remember a presidential campaign in which people didn’t worry about a nasty primary ruining the out party’s chances to win in November. And yet Jimmy Carter won. Ronald Reagan won. Bill Clinton won. George Bush won. Barack Obama won. Donald Trump won. Big, loud, bruising primaries don’t historically seem to do any serious harm. I think you’d have to go back to 1968 to find an election where you could argue that a rough primary kept a party from winning the presidency—and “rough” barely begins to describe the melee surrounding Democrats that year.

So for now, I wouldn’t worry too much. The big question is whether progressives can put the primaries behind them and support the eventual nominee. That may seem unlikely right now, but it will probably start to look like a sure thing once the reality of running against Donald Trump sets in.

Just remember: a brutal primary cycle producing a “damaged” candidate is an evergreen concern. We hear it like clockwork every four years. But it never seems to come true.

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IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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