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"When Progressives Show Up, We Win": Berniecrats Make Huge Gains in California


"When Progressives Show Up, We Win": Berniecrats Make Huge Gains in California

Jake Johnson

The Democratic Party has for far too long neglected local and state politics.

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May this be the first step to a long overdue process: progressives take over the Democratic party in the same manner that evangelicals overran the GOP. And for those that are going to yell 'Third Party!' The American electoral system, which is first-past-the-post, winner-take-all, by it's very nature, mandates a two-party set up. Any party beyond the two is fated to obscurity in the long term, period. Just as the evangelicals have rebranded the GOP, so too can progressives do the same with the Democratic party. It should also be noted that the evangelicals began their take-over at the local level as well, starting in the late 70's. This will be a long hard slog.


With just about all Democrats now calling themselves progressive rather than liberal I am not sure exactly how to know what is going on. And is Hillary Clinton a progressive? She certainly was more popular than Sanders in states like California and New York. I think this may be more about labels than anything else.


"In addition to facing full GOP control in Washington," observes the political scientist Theda Skocpol, "Democrats currently hold only 18 of 50 governorships and 31 out of 99 state legislative chambers."

Voter suppression and manipulation of the voting machines is why we have a distorted political landscape.


Well said. Whenever I read or hear someone touting the third party route, I empathize, but I don't agree. It's far easier to take over the existing infrastructure of the party than it is to try and displace it with a third party. The California activity, and the repeated failure of the Green Party to gain traction, demonstrate this. The truth is that the veneer of the existing Democratic power structure is exceedingly thin and easily displaced by this kind of organization.

I've often wondered whether we couldn't first takeover the Democratic Party and then do the same to the Republican Party whose veneer is equally thin. Wouldn't it be sweet to move the Republican Party as far to left as the Democratic Party has been moved to the right?! What if progressives showed up for their organizational elections?!


From a rebranding / takeover feasibility POV; the Democrats are an easier target as they are akin to a distressed business. And just as the country club set learned during the evangelical takeover of the GOP; corporate democrats do not have the numbers to stop progressives if the latter turns out to every electoral event at every level, particularly those inter-party functions that the Berners showed up to in California. The next step is to consolidate the gains, then relentlessly spread out into more ostensibly more hostile locales. All during this process, and in the same manner as evangelicals did, turf out corporate Democrats whom fail on non-negotiable issues.


Pelosi and Reid feel that the party need not reform towards humane policy or small-d democratic procedure. That's telling and clear and characteristic.

It also belies the calls for unity.


Reid and Pelosi's statements that progressives don't want a new direction is incomprehensible and shows that they are as out of touch as Republicans, just in a different way. Both of them are majorly responsible for this mess we're in now, at the POTUS level as well as Senate and House.


Hillary ended up winning the prez primary by only 2% and that with full out machinery support.


Yes, the only difference between the Rs and Ds seems to be that the Ds give lip service, but no substance, to the notion that they should represent their constituents.

The Rs, on the other hand, are wholly and completely ideological -- they operate from a fact-free, belief system that, while clothed in "it's good for the people " labeling, has no obvious intent or design to connect with those people. That is, it's a totally top-down system, bereft of any desire to have a feedback system to know whether it's working. Most likely, they know it will never work, except for their 0.1% core constituency, so why bother listening to (or even pretend to listen to) the public?


That's great news, we need it in every city and state. I don't think the old guard Dems will give up control easily though. It's great long term planning and that's what the Tea baggers did and it was very effective.


Sanders leaned to the right (by necessity) for his campaign for president, sounding like a Clinton Democrat. There is a big difference between capitalist liberals -- those who March in Solidarity with middle class workers alone -- and the left. Outside of the "labor left" (whose agenda focuses on protecting middle class advantages), the voices of the left remain disappeared from the discussion over the past 20 years.

If we had a left of any size, they would have been shining a spotlight on our poverty crisis as proof of the failure of US deregulated capitalism.


You under-estimate the Clinton wing. They wiped out the Great Society (actual poverty relief/programs) and took the first steps to similarly "reform" the New Deal (Social Security), targeting the disabled. Middle class liberals said, "Cool," and never looked back at the consequences.


Fair enough. I stand corrected.


If and when progressives take over, it will become a contest between those who want to get the money out of politics and those who "don't want to disarm unilaterally", to quote Slick Willy. If the latter win, all the organizing will be for nothing as the parties will be owned by oligarchs, not the people.


Perhaps, but I think most progressives have been down that road and know that it is a false dichotomy. Getting the money out is one of the prime directives.

Those who would argue against that are those we intend to dethrone. In California, for example, I would expect them to reside among the 500 minority, not the 600 majority of the 1100 (or so) positions in play.


Labels mean nothing. Ideology is what matters. More popular? When did HRC bring in 20,000 supporters to a stadium during the DNC nomination debacle? Give me a date and where it was.

Good Luck


Wow. Cool Article! Thanks Jake!

See? Bernie still fights for the users (ref film "Tron.") My $600 wasn't wasted after all.

Berniecrat? I like it. Somehow, we gotta fire Polosi and Reid; then I might come back to the Democrats.


The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that one of the reason this all talk of him being "too old" is to easily dismiss it should there be foul play.


Boy, now the progressives are going to take over the Democratic Party and reform it. And all of the big money interests are going to keep sending their big checks to these progressive reformers as they are going to continue to serve their corporate masters. Right? Oh. You forgot that George Soros doesn't want progressives running his party. Man, it's clear that even though you say you're a Green, you're really a Democrat. After watching the Democratic Party Establishment, the DNC, the MSM, and Hillary Clinton herself reduce Bernie Sanders from a grassroots political star filling stadiums with new recruits while the weaker Democratic candidate had trouble filling small rooms, after seeing this, you really believe reform is possible? And, they cannot even take one ounce of credit for their defeat. It's the Russians! Give me a break. Good luck with your reform. I'll stick with the Green Party and even though they have very little money, they have honesty and integrity. The Greens may not win many elections, but I sleep much better knowing my days of supporting corrupt political parties and corrupt politicians is over!