Too many progressives are still using old-school divide-and-conquer tactics: demonize the other side, frighten the voters, scheme, and maneuver to try to win on your own terms. This approach hasn’t been particularly successful and has led to widespread alienation and apathy, which plays into the hands of the status quo. And it’s a betrayal of some of the most cherished ideals of the progressive movement: inclusion, reason, justice, and hope.
This is starting to change, but old habits die hard. Nobody is better positioned to help than Kyrsten Sinema. Sinema was a leader in the successful fight against banning gay marriage in 2006 and in the effort to divest state funds in Darfur—unexpected victories in a traditionally conservative state. In Unite and Conquer, Sinema shares how we can put together broad-based coalitions that advance the progressive agenda rather than simply make us feel good about the purity of our ideals.
Sinema argues that we must let go of our preconceived notions about who our opponents are, how they think, what specific outcomes we’re aiming for, even our notions of who we are—identity politics have bred insularity and intolerance and closed us off from creating winning alliances and strategies. Using her experiences and examples from a host of campaigns from all over the country, she offers specific advice on how to forge connections—personal and political—with seemingly unlikely allies and define our values, interests, and objectives in ways that broaden our range of potential partners and expand our tactical options.
We have to learn to think “and,” not “but,” she says. Sinema shows readers how to move past politics as war and create support for progressive causes by discovering and emphasizing our common humanity.