Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Is Power Shifting Away From the Democratic Establisment?...

I ran across an intresting article discussing the shifting power currents within the democratic party. The author highlights the power shift away from the Democratic  party establisment to its grassroots to that which occurred in the Republican party following the election of President Obama.

The article is insightful as well as well written. It certainly will give more progressive minded democrats (and even liberal independents) a reason to smile, AND, hopefully work that much harder to effect the needed changes in the democratic party that will ultimately result in flipping Congress in 2018 and defeating Trump in 2020.

Article intro below.

In 2010, enraged grassroots conservatives launched an insurgency against the Republican establishment. The Tea Party movement ran a series of primary challengers accusing Republicans of being insufficiently oppositional to President Obama. 

Their insurgency was wildly successful. Within four years, they had picked off a sitting senator and the Majority Leader of the House, making it impossible for Republican politicians to break with their base for fear of losing a primary. The establishment lost control, and an ideological movement now controlled the direction of the party. This grassroots outrage, underwritten by big donors, unchecked by any moderating party apparatus, set the stage for Trump’s unvarnished racism and his assault on the rule of law.

In 2018, as Democrats are confronting the stupefying threats of the Trump administration, the Democratic Party establishment is bracing for a similar reckoning from its own grassroots. The resistance has pushed Democrats towards much sterner opposition to Trump, and the organized left is larger than at any point since the Great Depression. The voters of the Democratic Party are more dissatisfied with the corporate lawyers and former prosecutors who make up the party’s leadership than at any point in the past two decades.

But a Tea Party of the Left has been much slower to materialize than the conservative uprising of the right. As primary election season ramps up, the left’s record has been decidedly mixed.

Two weeks ago, pundits were quick to declare the establishment firmly in control of the Democratic Party. Progressive challenger Paula Jean Swearington was crushed by conservative Democrat Senator Joe Manchin in West Virginia. Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, whose longshot 2004 presidential campaign prefigured, in certain ways, the agenda of today’s Democratic insurgents, lost badly to former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio. According to the Washington Post, the Democratic establishment is “alive and well, thriving after big wins,” and the party’s left “fell short as better-funded candidates easily won their primaries.

Last Tuesday, the media narrative turned again. The Washington Post now declared: “The far left is winning the Democratic civil war.” Kara Eastman, a liberal social worker who built her campaign around “Medicare for All,” scored a shocking upset in a Nebraska House primary against a former Congressman backed by the party establishment. Socialist candidates won four primaries for the state legislature in Pennsylvania, taking down two conservative incumbents in the process. Progressives also scored victories in two congressional primaries and the Lt. Governor’s race in Pennsylvania, and the Idaho governor’s race.

So is the establishment in control? Or is the left winning the civil war?

The truth is the establishment is still in control of the party, but their grip on power is weaker than it’s ever been. They’re still in power, but they do not convince. There is an ideological movement afoot in the Democratic Party that’s winning converts in the base, but it doesn’t yet have the political power to consistently win primaries and take control of the party.

Democratic voters, especially the millennials who are an increasingly important part of the base, are overwhelmingly looking for a new direction. The market-based, means-tested, Wall Street-funded neoliberal approach that Democrats have proffered from the Reagan era through Obama is no longer enough for the base of the Democratic Party. Democratic voters across the country overwhelmingly support an agenda calling for government guarantees of basic economic rights: a job, housing, healthcare, education, and a decent income for all.

Despite a wave of candidates entering into competitive primaries to build on the successes of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, and the rise of new groups like Justice Democrats and Our Revolution to support them, it remains true that left candidates have had limited success in primaries. (Disclaimer: I previously worked at Justice Democrats, and currently do some work with Our Revolution.) If Democratic voters truly want more a progressive and confrontational party, why haven’t left populist candidates won that many competitive races?

Ultimately, the left is underrepresented in politics for the same reason women, people of color, and working class people are under-represented: We have a 18th century political system that was designed to protect the power of the (overwhelmingly white and male) wealthy, owning class, and mostly still does. It’s not a question of what people want—it’s about what money can buy.

Continue reading article at SPLINTER.


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10 comments:

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  2. Off Topic BS is summarily deleted upon detection.

    Buh Bye...

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      We suggest you read the fine print.

      Buh Bye...

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  4. Well Les, we've been seeing this building for awhile. Since at least 1968 in Chicago, the activists within the DEM party have been spoiling to get real leverage.

    Maybe what is happening is that this group is as mad at being ignored by the party [think Jesse Jackson and Bernie Sanders] as the Tea Party are with the current GOP leadership.

    Modern political parties are hard to keep on point, akin to herding wild cats. The problem is that if we add other parties, no one can claim a majority mandate from the votes as they will splinter among the at least three options.

    It took Clinton awhile to consolidate people after the Perot run and Dems are still aching after Nader.

    It will be interesting to see if this current trend breaks the Dems in the same way it has the GOP, leading to even more frustration and gridlock.

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    1. That's part of it Dave, and the millennials are an up and coming force to reckoned with. If the democratic establishment is smart, which is questionable, it will embrace new ideas and formulate a platform the party can embrace and unify behind. From there its is simply hard work putting the unified POSITIVE message out that moderates, independents, liberal republicans can get on board with. Failing that I fear we're stuck with tRump for two terms (I don't believe he will be removed) and at best a divided congress that will play gridlock and obstruction just as republicans did single handedly for near 8 years.

      What we need is a unified third party that is strong enough to seat members in 20%-25% of the house and senate. With the gridlock this nation constantly faces they could often control the agenda. I know it is never going to happen in our lifetime if ever. But we can dream and blue sky can't we?

      Republicans have been the more effective party in moving their agenda forward. It is time the opposition smells the cappuccino and wakes up. Only hammering on tRump's many faults won't accomplish what we need. It must be combined with a positive forward moving agenda, dynamic well spoken candidates, and a establishment leadership that is capable of pulling it's aging head frm its dark place.

      In short, it damn well learn to forge internal compromises that allow it to present a unified and dynamic team capable of change that the MAJORITY of Americans want. Republicans and evangelicals will continue to attempt to take America backwards. To the 18th century if they could. This is something we CANNOT let happen.

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    1. Off Topic. Therefore irrelevant. We suggest you read site comment guidelines.

      Buh Bye...

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