Update1:  This term has been recast as "Puritopian."  Emo Progressive was never coined by either Joy Ann Reid or myself. It had already gotten traction before we came together and tried to give it greater definition. We succeeded, perhaps too well. Like others, we were never comfortable with it because it was far too disparaging of emotion, which in itself is not a bad thing.  At the same time, we never much liked "Pro Left" either, as many of the people associated with the behavior and attitudes were amateur writers and boggers. Thus, we now feel that "Puritopian" is a better term of art to decribe the beliefs and attitudes that were being discussed on this page. You can read more about the term as soon as I have time to write it up here. For now, just substitute it wherever you see Emo Progressive below.

Update2: I've never been able to get "Puritopian" to gain much traction because too many people had already become too enamored with the "emo" in "emoprogressive," (which I still dislike).  So I found a middle ground and defined a new label which seems to be resonating with many in the social media space already. That new label is: Emotarian


Note: Joy Ann Reid and I posted the definition below on Urban Dictionary. But it really needs more discussion than what can be posted there. So this post will serve as an ongoing primer on the subject, and will be expanded incrementally.   If you have comments or ideas for things to include, please post them below.

Emo Progressive

The Original Definition, reprinted from Urban Dictionary

Emo Progressive (or "emoprog") is a self-described liberal or progressive, often with strong libertarian leanings, whose primary political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation at any given time, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly enough or articulated forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents.

Emoprogs are ideological purists who disdain compromise and incremental change, which they see as "selling out" classical liberal ideas like full employment, an end to all wars, state secrets, and liberal social policy.

Emoprogs dislike Republicans but reserve their greatest disdain for Democratic presidents, whom they relentlessly attack for not meeting a set of ideological goal posts that are constantly adjusted to ensure that the president will be deemed a disappointment, "not progressive enough" or "just like a Republican" no matter what policy achievements are made.

Emoprogs routinely dismiss or ignore congress' role in making or impeding policy, believing presidents can simply "use the bully pulpit" and "fight" in order to overcome constitutional or legislative obstacles.

Emoprogs have a strong affinity for third party politics as a way to punish Democratic presidents. They are especially hostile to President Barack Obama and deem anyone who expresses a lack of ill will toward him to be "Obamabots" and enemies of liberalism.

Example1: After Eric Holder announced congress had blocked the Justice Department from trying 9/11 mastermind KSM in civilian court, social networks lit up with emo progressives complaining that President Obama had broken his campaign promise to end military tribunals. Their criticism did not mention congressional Democrats who helped block Holder.

Example2: Emoprogs dismissed healthcare reform as a failure, saying President Obama should have used the bully pulpit to achieve a single payer system, despite the fact that Sen. Harry Reid made it clear that such a plan could not pass the Senate.


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  • kevinp

    i have begun calling them hillary hating liberaltarians…but emoprog is just so succinct …. these mental turds are our TEA PARTY… an embarrassment to our side.

  • kevinp

    i think FUCK YEAH.. is the only thing i can say to this article… it deserves two so .. FUCK YEAH!

  • Robert Bayden

    How are we supposed to take something from the urban dictionary seriously? Please.

  • I mistakenly read first sentence of “emo Progressive & only got back to read the whole article tonight…oops…won’t do that again… I am progressive but I will fight for our President & vote for him & every democrat for every office, NO MATTER WHAT… Yes I am a PROUD Progressive but I am also a Proud Liberal Democrat! I apologize for remarking on something I had “not” really  knowledge of … SO here is my retraction  I Am proud to be a Progressive but ” I  AM NOT AN EMOPROG”

  • Can you even imagine the disdain & anger the Bigoted Republican Legislators must feel each time they have to meet with our President, who is BI- RACIAL but a “black man” non-the-less! They announced their disrespect for him & the American people who elected him, when Joe Wilson yelled “YOU LIE” & the rest of them “smirked” during his 1st speech to the Nation! The Corporations who “purchased” CITIZEN’S UNITED from certain Supreme Court Justices, were immensely proud that night as the President acknowledged his “dis-approval” of it! ALL of the blatant “in your face” declarations of “war against the Middle Class & Poor” by Republican’s in Congress,Senate & the Governor’s is a result of Corporate greed & their “need” to bring their wealth & Company’s back into the U.S. One word sums up the “weapon” that will bring down & destroy the UNIONS & the Working Middle Class men & women..Corporate PRIVATIZATION! It’s happening now & it’s going to continue to happen until the PEOPLE, all of the people get UNITED & “fight back”…things like what happened in NY where a Republican Senator won a 100 yr old Democratic Senate Seat because of “COMPLACENCY” or a Middle Class feeling of “what’s the use” is how we lose our DEMOCRACY! Day by Day, our Middle Class is moving into Poverty! Once the Corporations have won this Class War they will open their Corporate arms & doors to the poverty stricken working Americans & offer them the same jobs they purposely were fired/laid off from! They are counting on this new class of working Americans being so destitute they will work for “cheap wages, no benefits, & be “slaves” to the Corporate Right who essentially now “owns” them!

  • theAdvocate2011

    Great post!

  • Mike Spindell


    You post takes me back to my involvement in the 60’s and 70’s with perhaps the most radical labor union in the US. Most of the activists, as opposed to the people who actually worked, were made up of various communist party factions (CP, Maoist’s, Trotskyites etc.) and other who were in the socialist movement. I was merely a good looking young hippie with talent as a public speaker, depressingly naive about the reality of politics. They all tried to recruit me and I turned them all down, basically because they weren’t the type of people I would want to get high or share a drink with. 

    What I learned though was that they were as bad as those we were fighting and in the end the politics was merely cover for the ego. The emoprogs of the day liked McCarthy, I liked Kennedy and when he was shot I wanted Humphrey. I was ridiculed by my union cohorts and by those emoprogs (I like that word) for not being pure enough politically. Emoprogs sat on their hands, radicals of course didn’t vote and Nixon became President. The war got worse, civil rights stalled and the Left threw up their hands in pursuit of pleasure and then cash. My term for emoprogs has always been those that “are hipper than thou”. In other words cool over conscience. I dislike how the President has performed and it’s made me angry that he has not at least articulated a good fight, ceding too much to the no-nothings. However, come election day he’s got my vote, I say fuck to purity and yes to keeping as many people as possible safe from the pain any of his opponents will bring. Ever read “Nixonland” by Rick Perlstein he may be too young to have been there, but he gets it right. 

  • I never realized there was such an extensive definition. I just thought they were overly emotional.