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Democrats Need to Embrace Progressivism or Else Move Out of the Way


#1

Democrats Need to Embrace Progressivism or Else Move Out of the Way

Steven Singer

“Democrats: Are we the party of the donor class or the working class? This is value clarification time. It’s now or never!” Nina Turner, former OH State Senator

Democrats, liberals and progressives of every stripe – you’re not going to want to hear this, but hear it you must.

We’ve gone around for too long thinking we’ve got all the answers, but obviously we don’t.


#2

All accurate and more critical now than ever. The hard truth is however that the Dem Party DINO establishment Clinton/Obama wing is every bit invested in serving big-money and power as R'Cons, albeit with a "kinder & gentler" rhetoric - the bottom line remains the same. The DLC corporate wing will not easily relinquish power - it must be taken!

The rise of Trump takes greed and self-interest, exploitation of people and natural resources, corporate/banker/wall street domination to a whole new level of threats to all except the 1% - and that harsh reality should cause all people of good conscience and respect/concern for the Common Good to unite and fight the power - fight to take and utterly reform the Party to build the coalition needed to regain control over our national direction, honor, and sustainable future for all.


#3

There is NO evidence that the Dem party has any intention of reforming, or that, as a body, they even believe that they need to reform. I think it's a hopeless cause and we would be far better off starting from scratch. How much time can we afford to waste waiting for Dem reform?


#4

Steven, I have no doubt that, if the establishment Democrat Party were to embrace progressivism, they would gain support of many Democrats and many Trumpian Republicans as well.

I also find it all but certain that on national and statewide levels, the Democrat Party will not embrace progressivism.

The reality is that the Democrat Party is dominated by folk who employees of, former employees of, heavily involved with, and/or financially backed by:

  • investment firms
  • the banking industry
  • insurance companies
  • real estate firms
  • the military
  • military contractors
  • the espionage industry

The Democrat Party is dominated by people with these ties, and these people will fight like hell to maintain the status quo. On the other hand, individuals who may be interested in bringing about progressive change in the Democrat Party are unlikely to have the extensive resources and support structure necessary to challenge the status quo without making significant compromises to progressive principles.

At this point the most effective use of our limited time and resources, is to engage in grassroots community based organizing in the hope of building an alternative to the Democrat/Republican Party. While we need to go about vigorously engage in such efforts, the reality is that, the challenge is so great that this will likely be work that the will take generations.


#5

Neoliberal Democrats think progressives have nowhere else to go. They think that as long as corporate bribery rules, progressives don't have a chance. We proved them wrong with Bernie.
Progressive Democrats can win as long as everybody knows they are what they say they are by not taking Wall Street bribes. It would help if more Progressive Democrats ran for office.


#6

The "good cop / bad cop" routine comes to mind.


#7

On point, sad the Dem's won't listen to you. We have four years to build a progressive party or join one. We don't have time to putz around with sold out democrats that have no intentions of turning away from the big donors.
We've learned our lesson this time. They don't hear us and most think we're deplorable, fine. We must move on and build a party that does hear us. Ok, start now!


#8

Exactly so!


#9

Progressives here, you among them, argued that the defeat of Clinton was the desired result in this election. "Fear" of Trump was both riduculed and met with vigorous defenses of his supposed anti-war stance, his anti-oligarchic, anti-establishment character. In conjunction with that, any negative article about Trump in CD, no matter how factual, was met with a torrent of criticism. The claim was repeatedly made that CD was promoting Clinton by printing such articles. That vilifying Clinton (she wants nuclear war with Russia she threatened Bernies grandkids) promoted Trump was either dismissed or regarded as a positive result.

There is a deep divide between such progressives and the great mass Democrats who voted for Clinton. Those progressives cannot and should embrace the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party should not embrace such progressives. We'll all be the happier.


#10

People are making this a lot more complicated than it needs to be. The reality is as follows:

The loyalty of a dog will be to those who feed him.

The loyalty of a politician will be to those who fund him.

It really is that simple, and that basic. A tiny, tiny sliver of the population - less than a quarter million people - contribute the great majority of funding for political campaigns. Additional enticements come in a multitude of forms, including jobs for spouses and/or offspring, book deals, speaking fees, and post-career lobbying positions.

It's a rare dog indeed who bites the hand that feeds - same obviously holds true for politicians. There will be those rare ethical politicians like Sanders and Gabbard, but most pols will continue to carry water for the people who bankroll their careers.

What to do about this is the $64 million question. Due to all the legal restrictions put in place to protect the two-party duopoly, building up a new political party to replace the Democratic Party is a daunting challenge indeed. I admire and encourage all those engaged in such an effort, but it shouldn't be the only progressive iron in the fire.

Here's what I think could work:

One, create a rump faction of the Democratic Party, which has its own name, formal structure and identity. For the sake of discussion, I'll just call it the Progressive Democratic Alliance, or PDA.

Second, the PDA would have its own platform - not some 60 page opus filled with vague legalese, such as the current Democratic Party platform, but a very concise and straightforward document that proposes very specific and realistic policies to address the most pressing problems our society faces, such as climate change, health care, education, job outsourcing, criminal justice reform, etc. All potential candidates running under the PDA banner would have to fully embrace this platform, along with all of its individual components.

Third, the PDA would have to embrace a campaign funding model in line with the one employed by Bernie Sanders, which would also be compulsory for all would-be candidates. No more PACs, billionaire contributions, or corporate bundlers. All campaign money raised would be in the form of individual donations.

Fourth, the PDA would need to create a formal Public Servant Code of Conduct, laying out in precise detail the ethical standards office holders and other governmental officials would be required to adhere to to avoid even the appearance of potential conflict of interest. This would cover not only the period of government service, but the pre-career (campaign) and post-career periods as well.

And fifth, although PDA members should be willing to make common cause with other Democrats who might not be members or support the PDA platform, they should under no circumstances be willing to endorse, campaign for, or otherwise support in any fashion Democrats who don't subscribe to the PDA funding model or code of ethics. They need to treat politicians who embrace a system that is basically nothing more than legalized bribery as the political toxins they are.

Will anything like this ever happen? It's impossible to know what the future holds, although the "culture of corruption" that has defined America's political system since its inception has proved remarkably resilient. Then again, the penalties imposed for acquiescing to more of the same have never seemed quite so calamitous as they do now either. So perhaps there is hope.

The fact that those committed to a fundamentally different way of doing things are relatively few, while those who are either indifferent or entirely comfortable with the status quo are many, should not deter or discourage us. To quote the Revolutionary War firebrand Sam Adams:

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.

Whatever form a potential New Way of Doing Things takes, those who possess a genuinely progressive vision of the future need to get busy setting those fires.


#11

Pelosi has just stated the Democrats don't need a new direction. So you know the definition for repeating the same behavior and expecting a different outcome? The Democratic Party for the insane.


#12

How does that relate to Steins quadrennial campaigns?


#13

I think many like myself did not want Clinton any more than Trump. I still think he's the nut case I always did but I was so disgusted with them both that I voted for the Green Party. Haven't been a Democrat in years. In fact you and the Neoliberal democrats should hold on tight to each other because you won't see the White House for a long time.


#14

If they were to do either one now THAT would come as a complete surprise.


#15

Would love to know how this Dem "rump" party would work -- they sure could use a kick in the rump (not that'd do any good). Seriously though, is this a real entity, something that's been done before?

Peace


#16

What is this four years business. Is that what politics represents to you. A once every four years Leftist charade? If you pull your head out of your laptop you will find there are elections, politics at every level, going on now and next year and the year after that. You are afflicted with Steinism.


#17

I'm up for that.


#18

Yes, we face a very tough task and the most effective method for forcing progressive change (as many other posters are announcing, they're all in for essential social change or nothing) is one not gaining traction, namely, the economic boycott. Deep Throat was right about the need to "follow the money" to understand political motivations and actions. In our context this involves stopping the cash flow to corrupt politicians and influence paddlers. So if you wish to cause the likes of Scott Walker problems, don't buy Brawny paper towels, which are manufactured by companies owned by the Koch brothers. Google products to determine their owners, then don't buy the products. These sort of grassroots boycotts are surprisingly effective in forcing changes in social agendas. Which is why when they gain traction they don't last very long: their targets, when wounded even so slightly, suddenly can't wait to "come to some understanding," as their press releases tend to put it, when their well-being is threatened. When you hit moneyed scum kind of people where it hurts them, you'be surprised how quickly they come around to an alternative viewpoint, the rotten gutless bastards.


#19

Fine analysis but change need not take generations. Boycott the products and services of the elite enablers. Threaten their lifeline they'll come around faster than you thought possible.


#20

You might as well be an alt-right plant, there's no way you and people like yourself are doing anything but harming your party further. You want to pretend that the people that tried to warn Democrats to not nominate her are the ones at fault. Your party HAS ignored people to Clinton's left, and look at the shape it's in. About half the country used to identity with your party, now about a quarter does. 40% of the country doesn't identify with either party, and independents overwhelmingly agree with the left on the issues. The left has already exited your party, your party already ignores the left, and look at you now. You don't exist in most of the country and are utterly collapsing. Your horrible candidate lost to the most unpopular major party nominee in history, and you pushed for her the entire primaries here. Thanks for that. So, it's the left's fault that no one voted? It's the left's fault that tens of thousands of people (thousands in swing states) voted down ballot but not for president? You were warned, didn't listen, and refuse to reflect. On you and people like yourself entirely, and you're going to continue to lose to a bat shit crazy party with failed ideas. Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Cory Booker. LOL! Toast.