Tonight the City Council votes on Ranked Choice Voting. One local step toward Retaking Our Democracy. .Our chance to raise our voices for democracy. Commentary on the New Dem Party Slogan/Video and more on DCCC/DNC corporate ties.
Ranked Choice Voting Decision Tonight. Retake has long felt that activism needs to start locally and then at the State level and we are working hard to develop a sustainable infrastructure of activism that enables you to play a role. For some that will involve ongoing research and outreach, participation in committees and other more labor intensive activism. But for some, it is just coming out when needed. Tonight you are needed and when we show strength tonight, it will send a clear message. So be there, bring friends too. We need a show of strength: 7pm, City Hall, 200 Lincoln. Click here for details.
The Democratic Party & Corporate Ties
Retake is trying to provide balanced reporting on the Democratic Party and so while we want to acknowledge efforts to engage a grassroots activism, we also need to continue to report on explicit actions and policies of the Party that undermine their credibility and ultimately will cause many newly energized Democrats to lose faith, energy and commitment. On the heels of the last two posts, I have received dozens of emails from individuals who have either given up on the Party after the election or while still active, were questioning their ability to stay engaged, given Party practices. And while it is disheartening to have DPNM leadership’s response to constructive criticism of Party ties to Wall St to be to deny the truth of reports that are clearly grounded in facts and to skip over other points made in the post, like the Party’s disastrous performance in state and national elections over the last 40 years. There is a reason, that Democrats keep losing and it isn’t because there are organizations like Retake, PDA, OurRevolution and others pointing out the Party’s lack of vision. It is not progressive critics who are divisive; it is the Party that is the unresponsive. But I am reminded of something Charlotte Roybal told me two years ago: ‘If you think you are going to reform the Democratic Party in one year, you are crazy. This is a long haul proposition.’ So while I understand many Democrats’ frustration, I would say that unless and until a credible third party emerges, the Democrats are it and we need to work hard to push them to be the Party we aspire to.
For more on Democratic ties to Wall St., Pharma, Insurance, Utilities, and other corporate sectors and a review of the new Better Deal campaign launched this week, read on.
More Evidence of Ties to Corporate Lobbyists
On Monday, Roxanne did some digging and found a MapLite report delineating the DCCC’s continuing cultivation of corporate donations, “Tony Podesta, who founded the Podesta Group lobbying firm, has raised $131,000 for the DCCC. His client list includes Walmart, Wells Fargo, as well as defense contractors Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems…. The Podesta Group also lobbied on Dodd-Frank for the BMO Financial Corporation and the Investment Company Institute, a trade association representing the mutual fund industry.” The article provides far more examples of the continued influence of big money on the Democratic Party, including the insurance industry, airline industry, GE, Wall St., and others. It also quotes the Santa Fe New Mexican reporting that Rep. Lujan indicated he wanted to reject lobbyist donations, a position he quickly reversed. If true, I look at this as may be an indicator of what Rep. Lujan would like to do, but that the Party is not there yet. And based upon the post on Sunday and the research Roxanne did, I’d say he has his work cut out for him. For more, click here.
A Better Deal–Most See it As the Same Deal.
to see the 3-minute video and make up your own mind. Below are commentary from three sources (two critical and one positive) and my brief thoughts.
“As it now stands, it’s a system in which lobbyists shower both parties with money, tax cuts for business and keeping taxes too low on the wealthy are a bipartisan goal, health care is still something to leave in the hands of insurance companies and, above all, the glory of the “free market” is extolled by Democrats and Republicans.” Click here
for more commentary from CNN.
This link brings you to NY Times readers’ responses to Better Deal with everyone critical, pointing to the absence of any reference to Single Payer, $15/hour, unions, and with the speakers in the video all being the same old faces. There are also many comments on Democratic Party ties to big business. Click here
Surprisingly, Vox news provides a more detailed and a much more positive spin on Better Deal and it is very much worth reading. We do ourselves no good if all we do is hunt down criticism of the Party. Vox found Better Deal to be a significant departure from 2016 and it is worth finding out why. Click here
for the Vox report.
My View. From my perspective, the video presented the same faces of the Party that has been rejected by voters at state and national levels for decades and that is not exactly inspiring. The Vox report provided more hope that the Better Deal may actually represent a shift, but promising better jobs is not the same as standing for unions and $15/hour (the word union did not appear in the video or Sen Shumer’s Op-Ed introducing Better Deal); saying you want fair healthcare is not saying you will fight for single-payer; and promising not to expand government is pretty much restating your commitment to the free market and neoliberalism. So my question is: Better Deal for whom? I would have liked to have seen the end comprised of a series of shots of specific positions: $15/hour; Single-Payer, Tuition Fee college; strong support for unions; etc. Then we would know what the Party stood for.
The newly invigorated progressive base will continue to question whether the Party’s reluctance to take strong progressive positions is grounded in their continuing cultivation of big contributions from corporate America. And unless the Party takes positions unequivocally advancing a clear commitment to key progressive policies, Party leadership’s efforts to cultivate and grow grassroots support simply will not succeed. Newly generated and very visionary platforms coming from Naomi Klein and PDA have provided those grassroots supporters with the kind of platform it would like to see from DPNM and the DNC.
The Democratic Party needs to learn from these more visionary platforms, as more and more Americans are realizing that climate change is not going to slow its pace to allow for incremental change. We need bold, visionary leadership stating clearly a plan to recreate America and to place our people and our planet over profits and corporations. Click here for a post focusing on the PDA People’s Platform and Klein’s LEAP Manifesto.
The DCCC’s commitment to cultivating support from the grassroots and to broaden its base is good to hear. But, it is not enough unless the same Party leadership project a bold and very specific platform delineating what the Party stands for.
Paul & Roxanne
See you tonight!!!! City Hall 7pm