But I think your post is super important, too-- the left is sort of stuck in this mode of thinking that, in the words of MLK, "unarmed truth," or in their case right-ness, "will have the final word." And if we're going to effect a meaningful revitalization (of the left), we need to recognize that sometimes politics is politics, and the winner is the person who convinces more people to vote for them. I think the place that's been most visible in recent years was in the US midterm elections: in spite of widespread discontent with conservative policies, and even conservative candidates, at the end of the day more Republican voters showed up, and now we have a red Congress.
E: Just found some statistics: the GOP represents only 46% of Americans, but they played the political game well enough to get a 54-46 majority in the Senate. It's fucked up, sure, but it's how it's done, and I don't see that changing-- at least not anytime soon.