One of the biggest reasons progressives have been on the sidelines for about a generation is that, sometimes, the loudest of us really suck at politics. One reason is because many of the loudest on our side don’t listen to anyone but ourselves. They make assumptions and accept them, then proudly formulate "solutions" to problems, without any investigation into the extent of that problem, or even the details of that problem.
As an example, let’s look at the term “gun control.”
I've had discussions with a certain progressive who is very spirited and very energetic, and who means well, about her desire to change the "gun control" discussion to a discussion of "responsible gun ownership." For weeks, she's given me reasons why I should be joining her crusade, and she won't accept my objections to doing so.
The main objection I have is my natural aversion to the overuse of euphemism in politics. It's dishonest. Frank Luntz is considered a "genius" because he's teaching intelligent people how to say things to attract right wing morons. That's not what progressives do. We should be attracting the reasonable people who don't buy that BS. Do we really believe that political moderates are too stupid to realize that "responsible gun ownership" is a euphemism for "gun control"? Think about this; how do we get "responsible gun ownership" without gun control?
My second objection is that there really is no problem with gun control, except that many progressives have opted out of the discussion. They assume most are against gun control, and they leave the discussion to the far extremes of the political spectrum.