Chris chastises me for being dismissive of the arguments advanced by him and others. Fair enough. I shouldn’t do that. I apologize. Let me address one or two of them directly and seriously.
First, he says: “Some of us have REAL fears that this MAY BE a witch hunt, which MAY blow up in the face of the Democrats, which MAY embolden Trump. Those are legitimate fears, they share with you a fear of Trump, and they need not be considered with disdain, straw man representation, and silencing of diversity in opinion.” Obviously, I cannot tell whether the FBI investigation is a witch hunt, because I do not know what evidence, if any, triggered it. There is so much information in the public domain about past, recent, and present contacts between members of the Trump campaign and administration and the Russians, and the behavior of Trump with regard to Putin and the Russian government is so odd, that it certainly does not look like a witch hunt at this point. I quite agree that if the FBI turns up nothing at all, that will embolden Trump and make it more rather than less difficult to attack him on other grounds. I continue to believe that the FBI investigation is going to prove explosive. By the way, whatever our disagreements, there is nothing any of us can do advance, curtail, or shape that investigation. But let me be clear: I do not for a moment suggest that we should relax, lean back, and let Director Comey do our work for us! The investigation just seems to me a potential blessing.
Chris continues: If we want Trump out of power that means we MAY want Democrats in power. If we want Democrats in power there has to be a strategy to do that, and right now we fear this is not a tenable strategy. CRITICISM OF DEMOCRATS IS NOT SUPPORT FOR TRUMP IT'S PREDICATED ON FEAR OF TRUMP OR THE NEXT CHARISMATIC RIGHT WING ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT TRUMP (not yelling just emphasizing).”
Here I think there is a real disagreement between me and Chris [and perhaps Robert Shore and Jerry Fresia as well]. I may be wrong, but it seems to me to concern essentially the best way to advance a genuinely progressive or even radical agenda in the American political situation as we find it. I am extremely skeptical, as I have said on occasion, of third party efforts of any sort. They just seem to me to be doomed on the national level [although not at all at the local level.] I think taking over the existing machinery of the Democratic Party is the way to go. That is why I supported Bernie, why I supported Keith Ellison, and why in general I think our best shot is fighting first to return the party to the ideals and principles of the old New Deal and then to work to push it further to the left from there. Progressive forces in America are now in really bad shape, for all the noise we make. In state after state, we have suffered devastating losses. The Clinton wing of the party is not just well-financed – money is the least of our problems, as Bernie demonstrated. That wing is filled with full-time professionals with experience, practical knowledge of how the system works, and a willingness to make the party their careers. That is why they are so difficult to displace, and why they keep coming back, even though we have won many of the policy arguments in the party.
What do I think we should be doing? Just what I have been suggesting. Be active locally in support of any progressive candidates who lift their heads up. Encourage friends and neighbors to run for local offices, and maybe even do it oneself, if that is feasible. Work very, very hard to get out the vote at every election, no matter what. This last is the most important. If we show that we can turn out the votes, I think progressive candidates will appear.