If you look at our country’s long history, from the days of the first stirrings of our revolutionary impulses against Britain to today, progressive leaders and progressive movements have moved this country forward in the face of bitter-- and frequently violent-- opposition from reactionaries and defenders of the status quo. Consider the major advances in American history:
• The American Revolution• The Bill of Rights and the forging of a democracy• Universal white male suffrage• Public education• The emancipation of the slaves• The national park system• Food safety• The breakup of monopolies• The Homestead Act• Land grant universities• Rural electrification• Women’s suffrage• The abolition of child labor• The eight hour workday• The minimum wage• Social Security• Civil rights for minorities and women• Voting rights for minorities and the poor• Cleaning up our air, our water, and toxic dump sites• Consumer product safety• Medicare and Medicaid
Every single one of those reforms, which are literally the reforms that made this country what it is today, was accomplished by the progressive movement standing up to the fierce opposition of conservative reactionaries who were trying to preserve their own power. American history is one long argument between progressivism and conservatism.