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My Advice to Progressives: Don't Back Down


My Advice to Progressives: Don't Back Down

Elizabeth Bruenig

A reductive, but not incorrect view of the Democratic debacle in the 2016 elections holds that when President Trump took office, centrists lost the present and leftists lost the future. In 2020, Democrats will have a new opportunity to either reach backward for the Obama era, or to lay the foundation for a bolder, progressive future. Deciding which goal to pursue will likely become the chief party fault line as the 2020 primaries approach. My advice to progressives: Don’t back down.


How often have we heard Democrats condemn Republicans for wanting to repeal “Obamacare” while having nothing to replace it? Getting rid of the ACA would only bring us back to square one, they said, with the predatory insurance companies able to do as they please.

Well, now we have “Centrist” Democrats saying we should elect them even though they have nothing to replace the current administration with other than what got us here in the first place. Sure, let’s go back to where we were with income inequality spiraling out of control, with bankers and pharmaceutical companies writing legislation, with quality of health care dependent on your wealth, with ballooning military spending on never-ending, always expanding wars, and with self-righteous multi-millionaires telling us what’s good for us. The U.S. did not become a “net exporter” of oil and gas under Trump policies, it was the under the Obama administration that we amped up drilling and fracking while paying lip service to a “green economy.”

Yeah, we never had it so good…


I sympathize with the author’s views. To an extent.

I part company with her in that she conflates the d-party with some kind of home for liberals.

But liberals are not welcome in the d-party, they are tolerated, marginalized, and ultimately taken advantage of in the d-party. When the d-party has power, liberal policy initiatives are shunted aside so that the centrist co-hort, who actually hold all the power in the party, can pass their Republican Lite legislation. And yet, somehow, when the d-party loses power, it’s always because they moved too far left!

Here’s a topic for the author to write about: Considering the fact that they have little to nothing to show for their efforts within the d-party over the last three decades, how will liberals gain any more traction in a party just as dominated by No Labels, Third Way, Problem Solver types than they have in the past?


Not a bad post for the Bezos Rag. But I wonder if this: will “…having a clear and persuasive vision of what a better America can look like…” include anti-imperialism and militarism?


Democrats must take Bold steps forward towards Democracy and Representative Governance, not Incremental Baby Steps backwards towards the Status Quo.


The only thing the Democratic party has learned from the 2016 disaster is how to blame everyone and everything but the party for the party’s failure. If progressives keep supporting this miserable excuse for a party, they’ve learned even less. Another two years and no move to build a strong third party movement or coalition is every bit as epic a failure for progressives as the Democrats blowing the 2016 election.

CD, of course, is the wrong place to build any third party movement. It’s every bit the sheepdog for the Democratic party as Bernie Sanders. CD is either incapable or unwilling to frame any political issue out side of Democrats versus Republicans. Articles on building third party coalitions are taboo, here. For all its progressive chanting, CD remains very much a Democrat-Republican establishment forum, but, hey, good luck with building a revolution riding that Democratic party bus. Dream On.


If Dem’s run a centrist candidate, we will have 4 more years of Trump, this is not rocket science, the left is tired of repug lite leaders. If I can see this, I know the party strategists can, so if they run a Biden, or O’Rourke, or god forbid Clinton, there will be no doubt they want to lose, and would rather have more Trump, than win with a liberal, much less a progressive.
For those wondering why I included O’Rourke (asking Obama for Presidential campaign advice doesn’t help), it’s simple, when a candidate doesn’t know whether they are progressive or not…They’re not.


Bruenig sez:
“In 2020, Democrats will have a new opportunity to either reach backward for the Obama era, or to lay the foundation for a bolder, progressive future.”

The neoliberal governance of the Obama (-Bush-Clinton) era hasn’t gone anywhere. The pretty face and speeches have merely been replaced by a bile-spouting death mask, behind which the Wall Street/MICC wise guys continue to operate unimpeded while USAns attack each other as ‘the enemy.’


It’s kind of amazing that Trump is such a criminal, lying disgusting president, yet the majority of the complaints go on the heads of the democrats who have had ZERO power for the last two years. Seems there is a little trolling going on in a general sense.
Excuse me for a minute while I vacation over to my Hee Haw retreat of “Pain and agony on me.”


How was FDR able to get everything done? And this was even with some of the rich GOPers trying to get General Smedley Butler to off him. Maybe it was because things were so dire for so many of the citizens----( though that would sadly include those citizens whose lives were made even more dire: the Japanese, German and Italians.) So no perfection here. Was it because the people that supported FDR really believed in what he was doing—and they were really working fr the common good and NOT focused on a money -making scam of their own-which seems to infect many of our politicians?
Weirdly WW 2 did seem to level the playing people for most, and though black people got some things—it was not enough.
But when an entire nation was getting drafted, and going to war----then that was probably the last time Americans felt any unity. Then when people came home after the war, people did get the G.I. bill and America had to rebuild a lot which brought jobs--------that time seems like the last time most of America was together on anything. Maybe that’s what is wrong now---- because now----- not much is done to help Americans—but it’s been great for the corporations. The last time this happened , with the attack of the oligarchs, America escaped----how do we escape them this time? I think the only way is what the writer says: Progressives: Don’t Back Down!


There is not anything “centrist” about the right wing of the Democratic Party. They govern hand in hand and arm in arm and step by step with their Republican counterparts.

There is some difference in rhetoric, generally though irregularly, because they are talking to Democratic voters.

People can project their politics onto Beto O’Rourke because he is deliberately vague. There is no motive to be vague in politics except unpopular views and bad intentions.

O’Rourke is a choice for Trojan horse. He has been sufficiently little publicized to pretend to be what he is not, with reasonable chances of success.


Bottom line is that in 2016 MOST people (that aren’t complete dipshits) realize that Sanders would have beaten Trump probably in the 52-48 percent range. Now I understand that just because Sanders won the Presidency that he would have to deal with a somewhat backward House/Senate (even assuming he got majorities in both as Trump has) but it would have been I believe the most progressive administration since LBJ’s.


Breunig writes that 'history happened again ’ in 2016. The correct year was 2010 , when Republicans took over the Congress, just without today’s orange front man. Obama’s strategy became ‘capitulate first’, DP leaders were happy with Republican Lite policies, and DP loyalists kept busy writing pop psychology rationalizations for Obama’s Trojan Horse behavior for the next six years. Breunig bases her essay on the idea that the Obama years, all eight of them, were a leftist nirvana. They were not, and much of the essay collapses without that foundation.

The DP still needs a vision, but the vision that progressives want can be found only in the Green Party.


Centrists ? Middle of the road ?

The only thing you find in the middle of the road is roadkill.


Dead skunks.


Beto is an empty slate; so let’s all write out our X-mas wish list, then wait for Santa and Beto to come down the chimney. The same chimney with the same pipedream plumbing we’ve been told about for 4 decades, and who’s counting right?
No thank you Schumer and no thank you Obamabots who are behind the " Santa Beto " scenario. There are plenty of reasons why, too.
Sen. Sanders has laid out a pretty clear roadmap for the 45-50% of progressives who want to take his directives. ( In some states that % is even higher, as well. And, who are winning with it. ) To the Democratic National Convention floor if need be, too. And, that’s not the photo-op the DCCC & DSCC wants to show America; if it turns into a political brawl, that is. Harmony & Unity, right?
The recent Blue Wave is not some trip down memory lane. We don’t have time for all that " hopey changey " redux baloney, anyway.
The path forward for the Democratic Party has never been through Texas. It won’t be in 2020, either. And putting that on your X-mas wish list won’t make it come down the chimney in 2020, btw. Beto as VP; possibly as an tree ornamentation, but seriously not as a POTUS candidate.


The problem is more with centrist voters who generally want to elect centrist dem old guard (Republican lite) pols. Yes they voted for Obama but they didn’t get what they were promised. Nevertheless the centrist will vote leftish lite Dems instead of republican lite fiascos like they got with Trump. The Dems sabotaged Sanders and we got Trump. And so it goes.

The need is to convince centrist voters that a progressive candidate like Sanders will represent them as well as the purist progressives. The all my way or no way purist sabotages the leftish lite Dems every time. If purists want it all and they want it now then they had better get elected first because Trump and the Repubs won’t give them anything.

Time to ante up purists. Try to remember why Trump won last time and don’t YOU repeat old sins either. Anybody but Trump is the keynote first and foremost … or have you not been watching?


Beto is fine on the state level in a red state like Texas – yet he didn’t win. As POTUS? Gimme a break. Been there, done that, w/Obama.


You did notice the topic of the article, right?

And you noticed that your party lost nearly 1,000 seats nationwide in just 8 years?

Maybe a discussion of what they should do going forward actually matters.


You might wanna read the article, dude. For instance, no:

“Breunig bases her essay on the idea that the Obama years, all eight of them, were a leftist nirvana.”