Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Going Forward... What's The Democratic Party Going To Be?


No one knows what's going to happen, but it would be a safe bet that Americans aren't going to have a chance to vote for a real progressive for president in a very long time, probably longer than I'll be a sentient being. Or maybe not. Maybe Biden and the Democrats will screw up so badly that the Democrats lose Congress in 2022 and then the Democrat in the White House in 2024-- whether Biden or Kamala-- loses to a Republican who also screws up. So 2028... I may still be walking around and sentient. My grandmother was at that age.

But... I still feel cheated. I so wanted one damned good great president in my life. Instead they've all be mediocre at best and, more frequently, piles of stinking, rotting garbage. I wanted to see Bernie win so badly. It wasn't in the cards-- the Democratic establishment made certain of that.

Yesterday, Washington Post reporters Robert Costa and Sean Sullivan wrote about an interview they did with Bernie on Sunday. They predicted that Bernie's DNC speech last night "will effectively close an improbable odyssey-- two bids for the White House that together formed the backbone of a new, insurgent liberal movement." Thanks in great part to Bernie, Medicare-for-all, free college tuition, the Green Anew Deal and a chastening of the nation’s financial elite have all come to the fore of a grassroots Democratic Party-- and have pulled even a horribly corrupt status quo establishment slightly to the left and, perhaps put the breaks on a corrosive drift toward more-centrist views that have been been dominant since the Clinton DLC wing of the party managed to take over and change the focus from working class to managerial and donor class.

They quoted Bernie: "Ideas that we raised in health care, in education, in the minimum wage, in climate change, in criminal justice were ideas five years ago that people perceived to be radical and extreme. Today they are mainstream, and today they are actually being implemented by states and communities around the country."

They saw the slot allotted by Biden to AOC as a kind of passing of the torch. That's OK but there's more to it than that. I think I saw just about every Velvet Underground live performance in New York. They were my favorite live band when they were first getting going. There are many claimants to this but I think Michael Stipe first said, "not that many people ever bought that first Velvets album, but everyone who did started a band." And thank God they did. And not that many people saw that first Ramones national tour-- but it was Howie Klein (not the thieves who stole it as their own) who compared them Johnny Appleseed and noted that everyone around the country who went to see them started their own punk band.

AOC isn't the only political heir of Bernie's but one who even Biden was unable to deny at least 60 seconds of speaking time during his convention. But think of all the people Bernie has inspired who are now serving or will soon be serving at every level of government and who are committed to the somewhat revolutionary approach he imbued in a whole generation of Democrats.

When David Feldman introduces me on his radio show every week, he says something to the effect of Blue America supporting progressive and socialist candidates. I often remind him that this cycle, there was just one actual socialist candidate-- Shaniyat Chowdhury, who ran for a southeast Queens district held by loathsome and corrupt party boss Gregory Meeks, a New Dem. Shan, a first time candidate, didn't win, although close to a quarter of the voters backed him in the primary. "We’re only getting started," he told me this morning. "This was just the beta as a first time candidate. Change makers persist. I’ve continued to organize post election around housing rights, anti-poverty, and foreign policy. Sometimes I forget how young I am and how young our collective movement is with Bernie Sanders. Which speaks to the level of despair of what working people are going through. We are tired of waiting for change to happen election cycle or establishment democrats telling us it’s not our moment. I wake every morning thinking Trump or not, will everyone have free healthcare? Are we ending universal poverty and unjust wars? Are Black lives going to matter beyond symbolic gestures? The answer is clear. For that, I’m not going away anytime soon. Whether it’s this election or the next, we must continue to change the tides in the sea towards a more prosperous future. I will run for Congress again because I believe it is there where we can fight for humanity throughout the world."

In 2016 then-Flagstaff city councilwoman Eva Putzova was a Bernie delegate to the convention. This cycle she ran for Congress against a reactionary Blue Dog incumbent who spent most of his political career as a Republican and still votes as a mainstream Republican. Although the full face of the establishment opposed her. Yesterday, her district's election results were finally certified by Arizona's Secretary of State and she ended the race with 41.4% of the vote, winning in the most populous county and doing exceptionally well in the southern part of the district despite DCCC and the Arizona Demmocratic Party tilting the scales in favor of the incumbent. "We ran," she told me today, "a spirited, principled campaign that showed the district is winnable by a progressive candidate. If things fall in place, it's not out of the question that I'd run for the seat again. We have learned a great deal, built an impressive infrastructure, and we wouldn't be starting from scratch." That's how progressives win-- two cycles. It took that long for Alan Grayson and it took that long for Ro Khanna and Donna Edwards, each primarying their own party's establishment choice.

One of the people I met while Hector Oseguera was running for Congress told me during the convention broadcast last night the "for the past month, Hector has focused on the future of the progressive movement. Although we've witnessed incredible strides since Bernie's first presidential run, Hector often says 'we still have such a long way to go.' Policies like Medicare for All and a Green New Deal have not yet been realized. We are in the middle of a generational shift, and Hector is taking a central role in directing that shift across North Jersey. Bernie's presidential runs paved the way for a new generation of leaders, but that door sits merely ajar. It is now up to the Millenials to throw that door open and lead our nation into a new progressive era. It is often said that the true measure of a person is how they respond in times of adversity. Given the response I've seen from Hector in the past month, I wouldn't be surprised to see him throw his hat into the ring again." Yep... I get the same feeling!

Kim Williams ran for the strongly Democratic Central Valley seat held by worthless Blue Dog Jim Costa, who Biden will likely appoint to his dream job next year-- ambassador to Portugal. Kim told us she entered her race this year because she "wanted progressive policies to become part of the conversation in a poor, rural district that needed it. Throughout my campaign, we said things out loud that others would not, and I am extraordinarily proud of what we accomplished. We started a district-wide conversation and we knocked on 20,000 doors to promote a policy platform that resonated with actual people and not the local party elite. Our efforts proved that there was demand for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal while helping Bernie, and other progressives, win primaries in the district. And our work continues. I will not run again this cycle and I won’t need to. My focus today is on tearing down barriers for progressives and combating the incredible corruption embedded into every layer of our political system. CA-16 will see another candidate carry the progressive banner forward, and I am delighted by the base of support that is rallying behind her. My friend, Yenifer Gallegos-Mejia, is jumping in as the only candidate with the backbone to stand for progressive ideals and against Fresno’s duplicitous political class. She will not only build upon early momentum and carry us over the finish line, she will inspire an emerging generation of activists that will build a more equitable America. She is the future, and I will stand behind her and every other progressive running in the district."

"Sanders-style left-wing populism," wrote Costa and Sullivan, "is gaining power throughout Europe and the Americas, at times replacing an older guard of liberals who embraced globalization. Across Western democracies, campaigns rooted in passionate emotion and grievance have won mass followings. 'I’m very proud. I am very proud of the movement that we have built,' Sanders said. 'The younger generation is overwhelmingly progressive, and they want to see their government function in a different way than in the past.' Sanders pointed to Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), two allies who recently won congressional primaries, as evidence of a healthy and competitive left flank inside the Democratic Party."
In the eyes of his core backers, Sanders came agonizingly close to seizing control of the Democratic Party with his strong showings in the initial contests of the 2016 and 2020 campaigns. There were days when they thought he would be unstoppable.

But it didn’t pan out four years ago, as Hillary Clinton scooped up victories and support from superdelegates-- and as Sanders grew furious with the Democratic National Committee. Nor did it work out earlier this year when former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg muddied Sanders’s plans for a clean-cut victory in the Iowa caucuses and a politically hobbled Biden suddenly revived his campaign in South Carolina, in part because of alarm in corners of the party about a Sanders nomination.

Sanders and his supporters are trying to learn from his success during the 2020 primary campaign in courting young voters in Iowa and Latino voters in Nevada-- and from his stumbles, particularly with Black voters who rallied around Biden in March.

Exit polls showed that the struggles Sanders experienced among Black voters four years ago against Clinton largely continued. Sanders’s fervent push to broaden the electorate with new voters was never realized.

Sanders’s supporters argue that campaigns come and go but that ideas move glacially. And history has precedent for movement campaigns having a long-term impact. In 1964, conservative Barry Goldwater lost the presidential election in a landslide. But his campaign laid the ideological groundwork for his supporter Ronald Reagan to win the White House 16 years later.

If the United States eventually moves toward democratic socialism in the coming years, Sanders will deserve significant credit for mounting campaigns that pulled the Democrats to the left, said Abdul El-Sayed, a Michigan-based liberal organizer.

“He didn’t only take on the establishment but the governing consensus in America that markets are the answer,” El-Sayed said. “He drove the conversation that we are all having. He lost two elections, but he won the future in the sense that the party is now a lot browner, blacker and younger and sounds like Bernie Sanders.”

Faiz Shakir, who served as Sanders’s campaign manager in 2020, said the defeats were not rejections of the senator’s ideas but a product of a “party in transition.”

“There is no question the kinetic energy and dynamism in the Democratic Party is with progressives. But the party is in transition,” generationally and politically, Shakir said, “and you’re going to have fits and starts.”

...Biden, who once fashioned his candidacy as a vessel to restore political norms and bolster institutions, has started sketching out a more transformational-style presidency that would seek to marshal a sweeping response to the coronavirus pandemic, a severe economic crisis and racial upheaval.

“What we’re seeing is more than lip service,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who served as a national co-chair on the Sanders campaign. “The Biden team has been very intentional about listening to not just Bernie Sanders but a lot of his key policy advisers.”

Some Sanders activists have refused to join with the senator in offering the former vice president their unequivocal support, underscoring the importance of Sanders’s pitch for unity on the convention’s opening night.

In a column for the socialist magazine Jacobin, former Sanders adviser David Sirota mocked the task-force rollout as “an SNL skit.”

“They are a mix of party dinosaurs, corporate zombies and some terrific progressive voices,” Sirota wrote of the group members.

Over the weekend, Tlaib said she voted against the Democrats’ platform and cast her delegate ballot for Sanders, expressing outrage about her party’s refusal to upend what she called a “for-profit system that is leaving people to suffer and die just because they cannot afford health care.”

The Sanders political operation has labored to keep things calm, asking some supporters he picked to represent him at the convention to sign agreements barring attacks on other candidates or party leaders, combative confrontations on social media or talking to reporters without approval.

The move, which carried a threat of being removed as a delegate, has the effect of blunting one of the most powerful if divisive tools of the Sanders support network-- its unrestrained online presence and tendency to stoke controversy through social media, which has at times spiraled into abuse of his opponents.

...“It’s not about looking back,” [Bernie] said. “It’s about looking forward.”
Rachel Ventura is on the Will County board and primaries a garden variety Illinois New Dem this cycle. Yesterday she told me that "Bernie is right, it’s about looking forward. Currently, the corporate Democrats continue to ignore the people, whether it’s the call of free college, Medicare for all, the green new deal, or even legalizing marijuana. The hope and change we are looking for does not rest in the present, but in the future. We need to take control of our own future and run our own candidates. We need more bartenders, teachers, community activists, nurses and blue-collar workers taking the reins of power from the elitists who currently govern for the wealthy few. We see candidates like Marie Newman and Cori Bush win on their second time running. How many progressive candidates who ran this year will run again in 2022? I know I’m leaning that way and with an army of supporters already pressuring me to run coupled with national organizations biting at the bit to endorse our campaign again, there’s definitely a compelling argument to run. While taking home 42% of the vote after being outspent 17 to 1 is impressive, it isn’t a win. The win will come from continuing to champion the people’s voice."

Rachel continued: "Today and every day until the 2022 election, we need every person to drown out the false media voice and demand better representation, Medicare for All, and The Green New Deal. We need people to have political conversations with their friends and neighbors about how both democrats and republicans have failed the people in a time of COVID and economic uncertainty but pulled no punches to protect their corporate donors. It isn’t enough to call for our politicians to be anti-corrupt; we must throw them out and elect people who will truly represent common sense solutions. Our government, via the politicians, for too long have told us what we deserve and don’t deserve but it is ‘we the people’ that need to tell them what it is we need and demand. Now is not the time of polite negotiations, now is the time for impatience and bold action. Regardless of who wins the Presidential Election, the people must rise up and demand better policies. We cannot allow them to control the messaging, whether at the pulpit or on the news stations. That fight continues from everything Bernie has fought for, from the things MLK fought for, even all the way back to Henry Wallace. Our fight won’t be over in 2020 and it certainly won’t be over in 2022. But it is the time to stop pulling punches. To stop the DNC or RNC from gaslighting us. We all, collectively need to call them out. I’m excited for the future and have already begun collaborative talks with the 2020 congressional candidates like Eva Putzova, Morgan Harper, Melanie D’Arrigo, Robert Emmons, and so many more. Join us in the continued fight!"

Dorothy Reik is widely considered one of California's most visionary progressive leaders is the president of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains and an elected member of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Central Committee-- elected by the largest majority of anyone else in the county-- and is a member of the California Democratic Party Executive Board. This morning, she told me that "Looking forward without looking back is how we got where we are today. We cannot really move forward until we understand how we got where we are right now and until we conquer the forces that led us here, from corporate greed to racism and everything in between. As I write this at least 850 delegates have refused to support the platform because it does not include Medicare for All. What evil brought us to the point where we confuse 'insurance' with 'care'? Yes, Bernie has moved us forward in many ways but we cannot progress further until we admit to who we are and where we have been.

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At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going forward, the democrap party is going to be the ocean of flaming pig shit they already are... and will only get worse. 50 years of this kind of creep and still idiots who can write are rationalizing some mythical tendency in utterly corrupt assholes to repent and reform. utter horse shit!

"it would be a safe bet that Americans aren't going to have a chance to vote for a real progressive for president in a very long time"

If you want a real progressive to vote for as your president, YOU, democrap voting potted flora, are going to have to have your half-century too late epiphany and finally euthanize the DLC/Clinton/obamanation corrupt neoliberal fascist party of the money. full stop.

no other way.

The dream scenario, that the democraps so thoroughly screw the pooch that they get slaughtered in 2022, losing both chambers, and losing the oval in 2024, is but a repeat of 2010 and 2016. Did your democrap PARTY realize the errors in their ways then? Did they seek out and nominate a true progressive then?

Why no. they did not. they committed (primary) election fraud and had in place $uperdelegates to make sure that no progressive ever sniffs EVER the democrap nom for president. In what delusional universe will that thoroughly corrupt and fascist party completely reverse and defy the goose laying their golden eggs?

note: please google what Einstein had to say about insanity.

What Bernie then did is his own shame. worshipping Bernie as a progressive willfully ignores his iterative reversals/betrayals/abandonment of all those wonderful progressive principles he SAYS he holds dear. But he does not hold them dear because, again and still, he works for the benefit of the money who own and operate the democrap party!! Here is your first epiphany... FUCK Bernie. he has iteratively proved he is shit. embrace the facts. you'll be better for it.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democratic Reps. Scott Peters of California, Don Beyer of Virginia and Derek Kilmer of Washington sent Pelo$i a letter asking her to work on unemployment benfits.

How about they show up and introduce such a bill live on CSPAN?

With such cowardice rife among "Democrats", there is little reason to hope that the 2024 version will be any better than what we now have.

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see a scenario where Dem incumbents start losing primaries in 2022 to more progressive challengers (on top of those who lost seats in 2020 in state and House seats). If that happens, I suspect there will be more of an effort to co-opt the energy going into 2024. I don't think it's a given that we get a repeat of 2010 where the energy is on the right.

At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle Kulinski doesn't see much to get excited about regarding the 2024 Democratic options.

I see even less than he does.

At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The democraps have assimilated AOC and are counting on her to inspire 30 million horny men to show up and vote in 2024. As long as she can fool the potted flora for 4 more years and avoid setting herself on fire until then, there is your excitement. IF she insists on speaking as a progressive, she'll be shunted to the scrap heap just like Bernie.

the democraps don't care if they lose reasonably close elections just as long as their faithful service to the money is not infringed. 2016 and 2020 are proof. they lost a close one to trump, so they nominated someone that is infinitely worse than their last one to maybe lose... maybe not, but ONLY because trump is such a cluster fuck... but pelo$i and maybe $cummer will remain to serve.

as for results... there won't be any. There CAN be none. Only the money will be served. Just like 2009-the end of the democrap majorities.

At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One big hurdle that has to be overcome are channels like MSNBC. Almost a quarter of the people watching the Dem convention did so on MSNBC. I think it needs to be made more explicitly that part of the reason that we can't have nice things -- including a single-payer health care system -- is because of the propaganda that these "news" channels keep pumping out. It really needs to be made explicit to voters just how much the channel's coverage reflects the interests of the business conglomerate, the biggest shareholders, and the richest on-air personalities, and not voters generally.

One of the things that really sunk Bernie was the fact that these channels also constantly sold this idea that Bernie was somehow uniquely unelectable and Biden was the safe choice. Biden has avoided scrutiny in 2020 precisely because he is absolutely no threat to established power. This is something that AOC and others like her are going to have to account forward. There's one set of rules for people who shill for industry and another for those who actively contest the power of these media conglomerates. Facebook is another source of information that is absolute garbage. I doubt that Trump would be president without the existence of Facebook. The irony is that the Obama administration and Dems helped to carve out Facebook's special exemption regarding political disclaimers (one of the many ways that Obama et al helped to pave the road to a Trump presidency).

At 1:05 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I was pumping my fist in the air when i saw AOC's video endorsing Bernie for president at the virtual convention she sent a big fuck you to the establishment which i enjoyed.

A few other things yes it's bad that Biden is the corporate nominee for the presidency & he'll pick Tom Perez's successor for the DNC if he wins in November which is a huge sigh hopefully he'll be the last one.

I don't believe for one second Andrew Cuomo will run for president in 2024 he said he doesn't want it & wants to run one more term for Governor & he still sucks.

Progressive candidates are on the rise & a few more won in Florida so they're not going away & will continue to haunt the establishment until they officially lose their power so they're coming.

And the biggest pain in the ass of all the corrupt corporate dirty money still runs in politics it's an asinine joke & it must be seriously addressed to get it out of politics for good.

At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ap215 makes a bold prediction about progressives on the rise, and there is some evidence that candidates can win, in a few places... today... claiming to be progressive.

but as we saw in 2010, when the PARTY (Pelo$i, $cummer, biden, harris, etc) refuses to do anything they were elected to do, they get slaughtered because those being bent over tend to notice... even the potted flora.

the problem that democraps have is they refuse to produce results (the opposite of the Democrats in 1932-1968), no matter how many "progressives" are in the tiny minority insurgency.

and we don't have nearly enough time for AOC (or someone REALLY progressive) to age into a position of sufficient tenure to have any real influence. And remember that pelo$i wins her speakershit, largely, by buying it.

when, not if, trump executes his EO to cancel elections, waiting on the mythical progressive movement within the democrap party becomes moot.

At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:17 AM. It's not 2010. Different context, different electorate. At the top level of the party, things are about the same, however, the change in the political base is reflected in what's happening at the state and local level and in bluer House seats. I wouldn't fixate either on individual politicians. Individual politicians matter, but ultimately it's structural power and organization that dictate what's possible. e.g. without a militant labor movement, I'm skeptical that the break-throughs of the New Deal-era happen. The fact that FDR and some Dem Governors didn't march out the National Guard or the Army in the face of labor unrest created pressure on other forces within the economy to cut a deal that never would have happened otherwise. You need both. I think we are still years away from the kind of break-through we need, but the progressive base is more developed now than it was in 2010.

I would wager that a Biden-Harris administration isn't going to do enough, fast enough to remove the fuel that helped to give rise to both Trump and the movement around Sanders. On the other hand, if Trump stays in power and wins re-election, I think we probably move more in the direction of a country like Turkey or Hungary. The electoral path for more progressive political change becomes even harder if that happens.

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing is going to fundamentally change, 9:08. Did you not get the memo?

Now hand over your wager. You lost.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Skeptical Partisan said...

The question isn't what will the Democratic Party become... they are and will continue to be neo-liberal 'centrists'. The surge of never-Trump Republicans guarantees this.

The question is what will the progressive elements do. I've never liked starting/transitioning another party (like Greens) because I don't like the private entity aspect of political parties... but in the current political system, it's probably the best option.

At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SP, if meaningful change is your goal, that is the ONLY option.

At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:08, arguable points.

"...but the progressive base is more developed now than it was in 2010."

I had hoped, as you seem to believe, that the Bernie effect in 2016 would grow AMONG VOTERS.

We saw the democrap party continue to move to the right. They still cared about optics so they massaged the $uperdelegate firewall slightly, but what happened in Iowa was still fraud. (Bernie, again, went fetal). We saw pelo$i refuse to impeach the worst president (so far), just as $he did with cheney/W, until trump threatened the biden family with truth... And we saw the entrenched democrap deities (obamanation and Clinton) orchestrate the surrender of everyone BUT Bernie who endorsed biden...

and 2020 voters ate that shit taco with gusto.

so, no, the voters are LESS progressive (and also dumber) than in 2010. So maybe it won't cause another 2010... after all, we already know biden is an ocean of flaming pig shit and voters picked him over Bernie.

That might make a midterm slaughter a little less stark. But it does not portend well for any sort of party transformation from the bottom up. Idiots who don't care about principles/issues will vote for whatever new oceans of flaming pig shit that the party pukes up. clearly.


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