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Taking a Bullet


#1

Taking a Bullet

John Atcheson

There goes my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.

Mahatma Ghandi


#2

Democracy Now! takes a look at the Electoral College this morning


#3

Ry Cooder's No Banker Left Behind (pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down album) captures the Clinton/Obama years in a nutshell.

If the deluge of mainstream Democrat emails I am receiving this week are any indication, Cooder's song is likely to be the Party's theme song going forward.


#4

We must remember the cost of top-down legitimacy. The great German Revolution of 1918, for peace and democracy, looked to the Social Democratic Party for support. Instead, the Social Democrats delivered a mass movement for real democracy, led by veterans, into the gunfire of right wing militias. Without hesitation. The party owed its existence to the aristocratic order, just as the DNC does today.


#5

The progressive movement, for the past eight years, has been divided between those who desperately wanted to believe that the first black president was a force for progressive change and those who recognized him as a poser who served the status quo. Perhaps now they will coalesce into a unified front against the common foe of all humanity and decency. Whether or not they prevail will be determined solely by whether or not they have the will to do so.


#6

Something to remember as we weep and point blame for Trumps election, she wasn't elected because she was so much like them.
Several times in this madness I have had to catch myself thinking how much better it would have been had she won. In reality it wouldn't have been much better under HRC. When the democratic candidate cannot distinguish themselves from the republicans why bother to vote?
This election was very low in turnout and the Dems have only themselves to blame. They will have to abandon the neoliberal policies and start working on listening to the people again or face irrelevance.
Right now we have one party. We need three or four. Hopefully we have time.


#7

Although not all elements of the greater left will accept Atcheson's view of 'what is to be done,' I think he does speak for the feeling of the largest group of progressives - the left Democrats and independents that supported Sanders.

Sanders was not just a progressive Democrat - his movement became a proto-insurgency, an uprising, against the right liberal controlling faction of the Democratic Party.

And though almost all Sanders supporters grimly supported the Democratic nominee, the progressive center of gravity lies with them. And so it makes sense for this group - already half-organized by the Sanders movement and the Our Revolution movement - to carry that insurgency into outright organizational schism - to openly withdraw support and...as a distinct bloc...to demand an open Democratic Party 'congress' where the right liberal faction could be squarely blamed, and demands for representation could be made.

Sanders' recent comments about the DP losing the white working class give the nod to such a movement - though I think it will have to be led by the rank and file of the Our Revolution organization rather than - in contrast to his run for the nomination - by Sanders.


#8

Yes they will have to.
But no they won't, so be prepared for further decline.

Idiocracy here we come.


#11

I think any plans to dump the electoral college are probably DOA. As it is a constitutional issue a constitutional amendment is required and thus 75% of the states must approve. I'm guessing that more than 25% of the states benefit from the electoral college. The republicans themselves are benefiting from the electoral college and seem unlikely to support. I would support the removal of the electoral college but doubt it has a ghost of a chance of being removed.

Electoral districts is a completely different issue and I am somewhat more hopeful about change there. The supreme court that I assume we will have in a year or so will probably be extremely unhelpful in this area and would, I imagine, be the only tool that could force states that are otherwise quite happy with their electoral districts to change them. Still, better odds of change here than the EC, I think.


#14

Atcheson's assertion that the US is a left leaning country is true only in a conceptual sense. Left leaning policy generally requires gubmit to implement them(single payer medical insurance for example) and right now trust in government is at an all time low, around 25%, the inverse of the left leaning number.

Until trust in government is restored we will never see the popular and political support needed to implement any new progressive programs.


#15

What is a progressive? Progress for what, about what? The word progress has at its root "a going forward", a movement", it is also associated with royalty moving forward in procession. Is it economic and social equality? Gender equality? It seems to have a lot to do with rights then. I have the right to be treated equally in all things. Equal in relation to whom? Is there a standard? What about the rights of the biosphere, of the animals, plants and the air and water and the soil? Do they have equal rights too? Can they be considered progressive? What would progress be for a tree? Or a forest? Does the Earth contemplate reaching a utopian state of being? Is progress about "being" and "oneness" with life? Does progress mean getting more of something, from someone or something else? Is this a right? What if every human being especially those in the west had to live with much, much less? Would that be progress? What if it saved the biosphere but many people died to save it? Would that be progress?


#16

The mystery for me is why anyone calls those people "progressive."

Cueing up Inigo Montoya...


#17

The two party duopoly doesn't serve us as Bernie says, and yet he's thinking of running in 2020? I hope not as one of the two parties!!


#18

As soon as Bernie hitched his wagon to Clinton's in July, his credibility suffered to the extent that the Clinton tie will handicap him in any future national election irrespective of what party he runs with.


#19

Took me a moment, but yes: "I don't think that word means what you think it means."


#20

I was thinking about that too, Tom.

By one measure, U.S. social welfare legislation developed later historically and is weaker than in Europe - making the U.S. right wing among capitalist democracies:
http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

By another measure, as the Campaign for America's Future among others have noted, U.S. citizens' political priorities and views are to the left of political party and government policy:
https://ourfuture.org/report/american-majority-project-polling

Without seeking to settle this issue, note that the Harvard paper offers one explanation for these two contradictory measures of U.S. political orientation:

On the one hand, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-linguistic populations found it hard to relate - not to mention communicate - re their shared exploitation.

On the other hand, right wing forces found it easy to exploit racist and nativist attitudes, likewise fracturing working class unity.

This is not only a historical question - in a better world, racial and ethnic minorities and working class whites would recognize common interests.


#22

I guess the best I can offer is that the large progressive faction - that, typically, votes Democrat against its will, as a lesser of two evils - will, somehow, withdraw from the right liberal-dominated Democratic Party, consolidate itself as a distinct bloc, and serve notice to the DP that - to get progressive support - it must negotiate and work out the terms of a binding 'party reform' that could gain the support of the white working class that the triangulating DP does not connect with.

As proposed elsewhere, such an initiative would follow out of Our Organization - the largest, most organized progressive faction, with the greatest reason - having been pressed into service to vote for the elite liberal Democratic candidate - to make such demands.


#23

the immediacy of this excellent article is belied by the suggestion that we give the dems 2 more years to get their act together. personally, i don't think we have the time, nor do we have to wait 2 years. i wonder how many of the posters here are really aware of what dr. stein and the greens stood for? the die hard bernie followers mostly gravitated to clinton. having missed the chance of a lifetime - not accepting dr. stein's offer (a sanders/stein ticket would have won in a new york minute, and history will castigate him for his failure in this respect), he tarnished his image, perhaps irreparably so, by shilling for soiled goods.

in el paso, tx, a democratic outpost in the reddest of states, we are working hard to get the green party up and going. we are dead serious, and our honeymoon with the democrats - in my case, it lasted nearly 60 years - is over, and it does hurt. but dr. stein and the greens are the closest things we have to an eleanor and franklin rossevelt vision of a political party.

i really don't think we can wait two more years to address, and seriously, global climate, student debt, single payer, women's and minority rights, big banks, proportional representation, and all the other hallmarks of a just and decent society. instead of defending these things, and on the threshold of losing some of them, we need to look to the future, and that future is now, and counting.


#24

I think the Trump threat was real enough for Bernie to be able to shake the Clinton dust from his feet. I'd certainly give him a pass come 2020.


#25

I think 79 is a bit too old. He'll be 77 in '18 and I wouldn't blame him for not running again for Senate and retiring.