Thursday, August 03, 2017

Is The Democratic Party Still Something More Than A Vehicle For Politicians' Career Aspirations?

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Sure, they can't all be this good-- but we should aim high... especially in primaries

For Democrats like Elizabeth Warren, Ro Khanna, Jamie Raskin, Alan Grayson, Pramila Jayapal, Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu, Randy Bryce and, of course, Bernie, the Democratic Party is, first and foremost, a vehicle for making the country a better place. These are values-rich progressives who are all about policy solutions for real problems. I'll never forget when, over dinner one evening several years ago, Matt Stoller asked then-state Senator Ted Lieu why he wanted to give up a nice life in California to run for Congress and go to the DC snake-pit. Ted didn't miss a beat and launched right into a long story about his own two young sons and the need to put the country on a course to fight Climate Change.

I'm afraid most Democratic politicians aren't as motivated by policy questions, even if they were at first. Over the years I've come to realize that many Democrats in Congress-- of not most-- see the Democratic Party more as a vehicle for their own personal career ambitions. Look at a Steny Hoyer, Joe Crowley, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Kyrsten Sinema, Dan Lipinski, Rahm Emanuel... even a hapless clown like Ben Ray Lujan. I shudder when I hear candidates for Congress talking exclusively about themselves, unaware that what voters want to hear about is how these candidates will make their families' lives better. But Pelosi and her decrepit leadership crew have been in Congress far too long-- far, far too long-- and see the party as being ll about themselves and their own aspirations. Team Democrat needs to be about grassroots voters, not about mostly-despised politicians.

Yesterday Digital Left's Daniel Kauder wrote an essay about where Democrats need to draw the line in terms of defining the party. He used West Virginia conservaDem Joe Manchin as the example, but could have picked anyone from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party instead. Manchin, he pointted out, voted to confirm Trump's worst cabinet nominees, like Scott Pruitt and Jeff Sessions.

Kauder asks "Should we, as Progressives, challenge literally everyone in the House and Senate, even if we risk a loss? Even if we risk a net loss of seats?" And he responds in the affirmative. We came to a different conclusion in regard to the West Virginia primary but tend to agree with most of what Kauder has to say about it.
Look, I’m not going to lie to you. I’m worried that Paula is going to win her Primary, and then some alt-right Trumplet is going to beat her in the General. If that one seat had been Republican this term, the ACA would have been repealed. Manchin standing with the Democrats on this particular occasion doesn’t absolve him of all the other horrible votes he’s cast, but we also can’t pretend as though this is some purely intellectual question. This isn’t a game. If we Primary conservative (“Blue Dog”) Democrats, there are going to be real world consequences.

But there are going to be real world consequences if we don’t, too. For instance, the Democrats just came out and said that there’s “no litmus test” for Democrats on the question of abortion; if abortion rights get scaled back or repealed altogether, that’s going to have an unspeakable impact on women’s health- especially women of color. Its going to impact low-income families across the country, especially when you couple this move with the Republicans’ “religious liberty” attacks on birth control and contraception.

Inevitably, we’re going to hear complaints from Democrats that we’re traitors, that we’re idealists, that we’re this or that or the other. We’re going to hear that we ought to make the pragmatic choice and accept a more conservative or corporatist option, and that any voices claiming otherwise are getting caught up with “purity tests.”

But this is all nonsense. We’d be “caught up on purity tests” if we were threatening to unseat Manchin for “only” voting in line with someone like Bernie 99.99% of the time, and that .01% was our tipping point. But that’s not what we’re dealing with. People like Manchin vote against our interests most of the time already, so why should we be shamed and silenced by the corporatists into abandoning a Primary challenge? It makes no sense.

This is going to be a tough midterm, in West Virginia and across the country. But we’re not going to improve our own lives, and the lives of our countrymen, by acquiescing to corporate stooges who shout us down. We must show the country that we’re ready to fight for our beliefs in every county, city and state.

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5 Comments:

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To answer the titular question, it *IS* more than the career vehicle for corrupted opportunists that pretend to be leftists.
It's an insurance policy taken out by corporations and billionaires against the policies of everyone from FDR to LBJ from ever being enacted ever, EVER again.

As long as the democraps exist and are accepted by the barely sentient voters who still think they are supporting FDR - LBJ causes (but instead enact and enforce the policies of corporations and billionaires), their insurance policy is in force and applicable.

Only when the democraps are eliminated from the imaginations of the barely sentient (and marginally left) voters will anything resembling the policies of FDR - LBJ ever be possibly seen again.

Said it yourself, though still clinging to the incorrect solution: "If we Primary (democraps), there are going to be real world consequences. But there are going to be real world consequences if we don’t, too."

 
At 5:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's your third party, then. Mr. "democrap?" Where are your alternatives? Who are YOUR candidates? Fact is, you got nothing. Just fuck off and go away.

 
At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The typical reaction of a pinhead with no idea of what's going on. You ARE, however, barely sentient since you do seem to know that something isn't right, or you wouldn't be here.

The first step in solving a problem is fully understanding the problem. I fully understand the problem and am trying, futilely in your case, to pass along my understanding. Well, there's only so much one can do with some folks.

Believe me, if I had Adelson or Bill Gates money I'd be huddling with Howie (if I could convince him of my understanding of the problem) and a few others to see what we could do, where to start and how to proceed. I imagine it would be something like writing a charter, filing in 50 states to get on the ballot, and then approaching people from ironstache to Warren and Sanders to see if we could get them to hop on.

But I barely have enough to live on in retirement (for a few more years). So I cannot be the bank for this. I can only try to catalyze others to cognizance and maybe action.

I'll count you out. You may go back to sleep now.

 
At 7:41 AM, Blogger Anon said...

Well that explain your bitterness.
What if you talk to your friends about- oh wait you don't have any...

Actually you can't be retirement age because your juvenile manners tell me that you're 11

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:14, if you just open your eyes, you'll understand the bitterness we all should be feeling.

The rest of your post proves that you are far younger emotionally than I am.

Nothing new. I see this every day where I live. But almost everyone of them has a trump sticker and a us or confederate flag on his rusty pickup or hummer. It's truly disappointing that someone who reads here is that infantile.

Whatever. We can't all be as perfect as Pelosi or scummer or obamanation or a Clinton. Well, at least we can all rely on their altruistic leadership for a future that is much better for all... can't we?

 

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