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Thursday, April 13, 2017

WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

I honestly don't know whether the people who control the Democratic Party are actively seeking to defeat progressives, are uninterested in electing any candidate who is progressive, or are misguided about how to win back control of the House.  Since I don't give money to the Party, but only directly to candidates, it makes very little difference in my behavior.  I am convinced that we should fight for every seat, and that we should support any candidate who is to the left of the incumbent, regardless of the odds.  There is strong evidence right now of a groundswell of enthusiasm on the left, and every percentage point we knock off the vote total of the Republican candidate feeds that enthusiasm, whether we win the election or not.

I think elaborate calculations of slipping in under the radar and not energizing the opposition are foolish, whether they are malign or not.  Do I know this to be true?  No.  My total personal experience with electoral politics was an unsuccessful run for School Committee in Northampton, MA in the Seventies [the nineteen-seventies, not the eighteen-seventies.]  But that is the operating assumption that will guide my own political activity, and considering the fact that I live in the benighted state of North Carolina, I should get plenty of experience fighting losing battles.

12 comments:

Chris said...

"I honestly don't know whether the people who control the Democratic Party are actively seeking to defeat progressives, are uninterested in electing any candidate who is progressive, or are misguided about how to win back control of the House. "

What would it take for you to make up your mind on the issue? What evidence would get you off the fence?

Chris said...

"The executive of the modern state is nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie."
-K.M.

A. Cameron said...

This is not related to the topic of this particular blog entry, but it is a thought that has been rattling around in my mind since reading of Bannon's continued marginalization within the administration (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/us/politics/steve-bannon-white-house-trump.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0)

It occurred to me that perhaps Bannon, if he continues to find himself on the outside looking in, with Trump publicly minimizing his role in the campaign and getting The Donald elected, may turn vengeful. I am fantasizing about Breitbart and its associated "alt-right" media machinery turning against our buffoon-in-chief, at Bannon's urging, especially as he walks back more and more campaign promises (the most recent being Trump's decision to not label Chin a currency manipulator). I am curious if other readers have thought the same thing. What effect do people think it could have on the administration and, more significantly, the ability of the GOP to maintain its hold on the legislative branch moving forward? How plausible does it seem that Bannon, who seems to be a deeply spiteful person by nature, may turn against monster that he helped bring to life?

Jerry Fresia said...

Here' some tangential but related data.

The Intercept has just published a data-filled piece on the Maddow/MSNBC focus. Turns out that the word from one Dem leader (Jennifer Palmieri, aide to Clinton) urged party members to talk about the Russian “attack on our republic” — and to do so “relentlessly and above all else.”

https://theintercept.com/2017/04/12/msnbcs-rachel-maddow-sees-a-russia-connection-lurking-around-every-corner/

Consequently, Maddow has devoted 53% air time to the Russian "attack on our elections" (Maddow) and 1.3% to undocumented workers, to cite one Dem "base" type issue - and zero to any issue that might directly speak to the Dems who left the party or dropped out in 2016.

I agree about fighting for "left of " candidates - which doesn't preclude the larger goal of taking over the Dem party. Therefore, understanding what the Dem leadership/MSNBC wishes its members/audience to focus on and what it wishes its members to ignore, is, for me, part of that fight



Chris said...

Jerry,
I don't watch much MSNBC (or any main stream media really), but I can't imagine Maddow is the sole Russia hawk on the network? Any idea if the other programs are teetering on the same excessive margin, i.e., devoting close to half of all shows to Russia 'hacking the election'?

Chris said...

Maybe this is enough of a smoking gun for readers?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/13/progressive-democratic-candidates-james-thompson-loss

s. wallerstein said...

I agree with Chris.

Although I have no definitive evidence, it makes sense that people who control a political party, in this case, the mainstream democrats, will defend their control of that party over what you and I perceive as the national interest or the common good. They have a lucrative racket going for them, even if they don't control the executive branch at the moment, and they're not going to hand their racket over to a bunch of hippie idealists like you and me and Bernie Sanders. They also probably calculate that Trump will fuck up and that a Democrat (of their liking) will be elected in 2020: if Trump kills a hundred thousand Syrians between now and then and accelerates global warming, I doubt that they give a fuck.

Jerry Fresia said...

Chris,

I live in Italy so I only get a few clips from the MSNBC website the following day. The other hosts also seem to
push the Russian meme; some even seem agitated about it but Rachel has clearly taken the lead on this. From what I
understand she is the highest rated host on MSNBC and the post-election Russian meme has apparently boosted
her ratings. She is paid $7 million a year.

Jerry

David said...

And yet, Washington State replaced its more establishment Chair, Jaxon Ravens, with the choice of the Berniecrats, Tina Podlodowski. How did that happen?

Let my own county serve as an example. Mario Brown, a Berniecrat, defeated the incumbent, the more mainstream Richard Wright, for Chair of the Snohomish County Democrats. This change in leadership happened because enough Berniecrats had been precinct committee officers to take over district organizations which, in turn, sent enough county delegates to elect Brown. Likewise, enough district organizations elected enough progressive state party representatives to elect Podlodowski as state Chair.

When enough state organizations have gone through this process, then, and only then, will we have a progressive DNC.

Chris said...

David, Washington State is already one of the most progressive (if not the most progressive) in the US. Let us remember the Bernie candidate lost the DNC race, and Tom Perez appointed something like 26 people to coordinate the DNC with him, 1 of which was a Bernie supporter, the other 25 corporate Dems.

Daniel Langlois said...

'a bunch of hippie idealists like you and me and Bernie Sanders.'

Ode to the death of hippie idealism. I don't want to express a well thought-out idea. More a gut feeling. What I want to say: I feel somehow very sympathetic towards hippies. A few of the hippies had some good sound reasoning abilities. The Democratic establishment has been blaming them for their failures.

'The mainstream democrats, will defend their control of that party over what you and I perceive as the national interest or the common good. They have a lucrative racket going for them, even if they don't control the executive branch at the moment, and they're not going to hand their racket over to a bunch of hippie idealists like you and me and Bernie Sanders.'

This puts me in mind of how California’s ballot initiatives have become something of a business and billionaire’s playground. there don’t appear to be any California businesses or billionaires who see marijuana as their pet cause at the moment..

David said...

Chris,

I would question whether Washington state is the most progressive state, though I will grant you that it is more liberal than most. In any case, it is not uniformly progressive, by any means. The eastern part of the state is politically closer to Idaho than the rest of the state, and even the Puget Sound region is only moderately liberal overall. Seattle is undoubtedly progressive, but there is a lot of wealth in the greater Seattle area, and as we all know, where there is wealth, there is . . . well, you know the rest.

In short, we have an activist state Chair because the Democratic activists in the state worked for it. Progressives succeeded here not because Washington is an innately progressive state but because there was enough of them at the grassroots level to enable them to overcome the complicated and formidable political tensions and forces in the state. In other words, they engaged in a struggle that Democrats in other states have to engage in.