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How to Cover a Political Revolution


#1

How to Cover a Political Revolution

Richard Eskow

“RED ALERT,” read the New York Post’s headline after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory over high-ranking Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley. They competed in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th congressional district, which covers parts of Queens and The Bronx. The subhead read:

“Young socialist upsets King of Queens, shocking Dem establishment.”


#2

The political revolution is happening now, with Anthony Kennedy’s retirement. We will have the most right wing court since the Taft court in the 1920s. History doesn’t always run in a progressive direction. I appreciate the win, but it’s limiting a revolution we need to be focusing on. The first step is by taking Congress in 2018.


#3

Best to take it with hard-left insurgents then, for the fights ahead are not for the faint-hearted or overly comfortable, well entrenched, party power elites.


#4

That’s right–the other “revolution” that is taking place and coming to fruition is the Reagan revolution (Kennedy was a Reagan appointee) and the right’s dream of controlling the Supreme Court–That’s here and now, the future socialist utopia is a long way off!


#5

Now that Crowley’s out, watch for billionaire Bloomberg to start throwing his money at Ocasio-Cortez’s Brand R opponent.

The really important political divide isn’t between left and right, but between top and bottom.


#6

I think you can cherry pick election results and come up with any conclusion you want. Did Connor Lamb’s victory in Pennsylvania show the Democrats are moving toward the center, no longer pushing for gun control measures as way to win in more conservative areas. Did Elliot Engel’s landslide victory over two progressive candidates in the north Bronx and southern Westchester County show that Democrats want the status quo? I would say when the primaries are over people should carefully look at the data and draw conclusions objectively if possible.


#7

I agree with that. But given your track record, I’m guessing you’ll still be whistling, but the graveyard simply won’t pass behind you.


#8

There is no doubt that the white nationalist revolution if you want to call it that is much bigger than anything going happening on the left. if you look at the primaries the left remains pretty much the same with people toward the center and more on the left both winning and things are not really shifting in any clear way if you look at objectively. But on the right Trump candidates are winning almost every primary. Any Republican defending the norm is pretty much going to lose. We seem to heading toward some sort of fascist country where the minority establishes ironclad rule over the majority. Once the courts and press are taken care of it will be done deal. The only thing that can stop it now is a powerful blue wave. It doesn’t matter if centrists or progressive win, it just can’t be Republicans who have switched from conservatism to hate…


#9

Keep on whistling…


#10

I think that as the political revolution picks up steam, you will see Democrats begin to defect to the Republican side. People like Schumer, Pelosi, et al will give up and go where they can still shill for the owners.


#11

No way. Thats ludicrous. Pelosi and Schumer are leftwing nutsos on the Right. Listen to am radio.


#12

“The revolution will not be televised” - Gil Scott Heron


#13

That doesn’t at all mean that they’re not shilling for “the owners,” KC:

  • People who wish to influence American politicians pay both major parties. It’s not like only one party talks to lobbyists.
  • The bribed governmental shills on both sides then sally forth to win elections, which is all that makes the services that they sell to lobbyists valuable.

So they criticize the opposition to win. It matters not that the opposition is hired by more or less the same people; they are still opposition in the sense that Team R wants that influence and receive payola, and competes with Team D to do so.

And of course an AM radio station has their own motivation, and is likely to not be in on any one particular bribe anyway, though the spectacle of Wasserman-Schultz dictating copy to CNN et alia was, well, interesting.

It is perfectly natural in the current political ecosystem that different parties and individuals working for the same ends should insult each other. It’s sort of a Coke|Pepsi sort of thing. And in either case the lobbyist may not be insisting on exactly the same result, but only what can be gotten from a given candidate.

So it would be very difficult, say, to bribe Nancy Pelosi to do anything terribly public against gays. She surely knows that her San Francisco constituency is apt to care about that. But she need not appear so progressive with regards to war, healthcare, or other issues, since these are not apt to get the same backlash. She can shill for the insurance or pharmaceutical industries and say that “Single payer is off the table,” use the money to win the election, and then stand firm for gay rights.

Does she believe in gay rights? I don’t know, maybe. You can see where if she did, she might regard this shilling as a practical compromise.

Did she enter politics hoping to be less craven, wanting to make a difference, and undergo some horrified recognition of the depth of compromise and rot that makes the common fare? I have no idea, honestly.

But if she got no money for announcing that Single Payer was off the table when Americans of all stripes were polling overwhelmingly in favor of it, then she’s a lot stupider than she looks.

Still, that’s shilling. It’s bribery. It ought to be against the law, and in some cases it probably is. Probably the guards at Auschwitz had it all worked out how they were doing a decent job.


#14

Here are results of the primaries in New York. See if you can detect a shift.


#15

I think Nancy Pelosi would be the first to say we need campaign finance reform. I think every Democratic member of Congress believes that. Are the Democrats supposed to unilaterally disarm while the Republicans batter them with negative ads on TV paid for by corporate campaign contributions. It is easy to criticize but what is your solution to this problem? The political system is corrupted by money and it needs reform. How can that be accomplished?


#16

It won’t be accomplished now, not for a long time. Trump will be the most consequential president since Reagan simply due to his Court appointment. And, if you are interested in corruption, actual potentially real political corruption and not just anger venting at the DNC, lookie here:


#17

Good start, but Our Revolution still needs to take out all the DINOs in NY State’s Senate. Along with their lackey Governor.


#18

Thanks for the tip. But that led me to another TPM article that chilled me to the bone: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/please-read-this-through-hes-right.

So it appears that if Mueller’s Report leads to serious trouble for Trump, and that leads to impeachment, Trump is now in a position to select the 5th SCOTUS vote that will let him off the hook. Perhaps he then CAN appoint himself “President for Life.”

If Sen. Schumer and the Dems can stop this train wreck, I promise to vote for them. I f they roll over and capitulate like they usually do… well, we are All doomed.


#19

I stressed this in another comment, but there isn’t much Democrats can do but throw sand in the gears. I’ll just point to previous comments I’ve made if you are interested:


#20

KC is likely correct that it won’t be accomplished, but because neither major party approves it, and because their funders disapprove it strenuously.

The Democratic Party ought to at least “disarm” in its internal conflicts. It would lose little or nothing to Republican candidates by doing so. It might even help shine up its severely tarnished credibility with people very broadly like myself–and there are more of us than one might think, since most, unlike myself, do not vote or have ceased to vote. It does not because its most centrally located and influential personnel are heavily funded by insalubrious donors; in fact, they are often even more effective than Republicans in courting corporate contributions.

Of course, succeeding by appealing directly to the popular vote involves endorsing popular policies and measures. And that would work far better were Democrats to actually show concrete efforts to accomplish these while in office, rather than “rolling over” for Republican-driven policies that they supposedly do not endorse. That would be a major difficulty for incumbents, who therefore have further motives to vote against any useful reform of election procedure.

One has to be willing to wear the white hat and stand tall at least a bit more than the other person.

As a case in point, again, you say that Pelosi “would be” the first to say that there need be financial reform in elections, but in fact this has been said quite often, by very many people. It even polls as a very popular measure. So–she would or would have if what were to happen or had happened? I imagine some combination of events might make her do so, though she’s wa-a-ay late to be the first; but I cannot imagine just what those events might be.

To speak generally, though, the current official party, unlike its rank and file, has a lot of vested interest against doing anything of this sort, whatever anybody’s personal druthers might be in whatever hypothetical world you or I might envision. Lobbyists are an ominous group, collectively, and in more than one or two ways; many are willing to threaten as well as to bribe, and one does not wish to retract favors that have been paid for. Further, a lot of what came out in the Podesta emails involves potentially prosecutable offenses–so that will be a very strong motive for at least some major Democratic players to not rock a power structure on which they have become multiply dependent. Republican officials have been playing ball with the same entities for at least as long, so they are apparently little danger to anyone within power circles with respect to prosecution–though I have to wonder whether what happened to Weinstein and to Al Franken may not have constituted warning shots of some sort.

So my “solution,” if I may call it that without giving the impression that it were anything like an immediate panacea, is to organize from the grassroots, outside the power coalition, whether inside the Democratic Party or out, and to refuse votes and other support to those who have sold their capacity to represent their constituents–refuse it stone cold and take what consequences we absolutely have to.

Ralph Nader has been endorsing a far more specific version of this for years, involving neighborhood offices and concentration on local elections. I’d say let’s take his advice. I suspect that the best measure would be for some third party to take it as a guidebook. But if there are Democrats who wish to do so and to work within the party, I am all for that as well. I’d gladly register and vote Blue again, and others probably would as well, were anyone to come up with a believable reason–though “Our Revolution” does not qualify, at least at present.

More immediately, the so-called “Tea Party” has done something not too different with considerable success within the Republican ranks. I dislike their agenda, but that’s a matter apart from the tactics. They did get support from the Koch brothers, and that is likely a practical difference. But progressive values still have far greater support if one considers the currently non-voting majority of potential voters, some part of whom actually are paying attention. Sanders got a lot of support before he (unwisely, IMO) folded, though this in large part comes from the credibility of a long career of service.

In theory, at least, this could be done within the party. But the power structure within the party continues to gird itself against the popular vote more effectively than to be teetered by a few upsets in the short run. Solution involves teetering it in the long run.