Every effort must be made to transform the Democratic Party into a party that represents the majority. Optimistic? Hell no. Alternatives? I sure don’t see any….YET. Breaking news: Dems will fund campaigns of Dems who oppose abortion. What?
A Plea for Somos Un Pueblo Unido. Roxanne and I were honored to attend a fundraiser last night for Somos Un Pueblo Unido. We are friends of Somos Director Marcela Diaz, so we are pretty familiar with their work But it was absolutely inspiring to listen to one speaker after another describe the way in which Somos is so central to the defense of our immigrant community, our immigrant neighbors, families that are being shredded by a paranoid government. And so I ask you to consider making a generous contribution today as Somos is at the forefront of the defense of those immigrants who came to America, thinking it was the land of opportunity. In a post last week, I reported on what Somos is doing to defend immigrants in East NM. That is what they do. They defend our neighbors whose rights and human dignity are being eviscerated by a country that really has gone mad. Click here to review that post. Click here to get to their donation page. And consider a generous donation.
The State of the Democratic Party
Last week, I wrote a highly critical post on the Democratic Party, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Representative Ben Ray Lujan’s leadership of that committee. A subsequent post softened the criticism a bit and sought dialog. I am hopeful that this dialog will occur and lead to a productive understanding of shared purpose.
For the details on this, I highly recommend reviewing yesterday’s post, as it includes links to a whole series of interrelated posts. Together, this collection of links offers a veritable primer on where we are now, how we got there, where we need to go, and how the existing political power base is likely to respond. Click here to review this post.
I will acknowledge that our current situation is dire. We have a GOP that is in firm control of all branches of government and a dissenting political power, the Democratic Party, that has largely ceded its power over the past 40 years, losing both branches of Congress and most state legislatures, to the point that the GOP now controls both houses of the state legislatures in 2/3 of US states and the Party has just lost the White House to the most unpopular politician in our history.
While the Democratic Party is fond of blaming hanging chads, Russian tinkering, the electoral college system, and leaked emails, the Party might be better served by examining its decades long relationship with the 1%, its close ties to Wall St, its uninspiring messaging, and its failure to provide a coherent platform that responds to the needs of the majority. For example, just yesterday Rep. Lujan, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced that the Democratic Party would fund Democratic candidates for office, even if they oppose abortion rights. I get that to win back the House, a number of moderate to conservative districts will have to be won, but at what point will the Party say that there are lines in the sand and principles on which we will not compromise? What is the next vulnerable population that the Party will be willing to abandon? Click here for an article on this issue.
So where does that leave us? I wish I were more optimistic. Even with the GOP being about as incompetent as one could possibly imagine, Executive Orders and Trump’s appointments are unravelling any infrastructure of sanity that exists in our government. And we have a Democratic Party that refuses to provide an inspiring alternative. It’s most recent “Better Deal” campaign is almost entirely absent of any specific commitments to $15/hour, addressing climate change, honoring treaties with indigenous tribes, or holding Wall St accountable. Still worse, it is entirely silent on any plans that could address racial and social justice, as Better Deal seems patently designed to attract those white males who voted for Trump while remaining largely silent in relation to Indigenous rights, immigration, Black Lives Matter, or women’s right, anything that might offend the moderate white male. For Bill Moyers view of the Better Deal click here. And for a very insightful DemocracyNow! interview with The Nation’s Steve Phillips see the bottom of the page. The video focuses on why people of color are not inspired by a Better Deal. Spoiler alert, there isn’t much Moyer or Steve Phillips likes.
In response to my recent posts I have had dozens of readers write that they are close to abandoning the party entirely and these are people very active in Ward and state party work. I imagine this kind of thinking is occurring throughout the country.
But, I am reminded of something that I was told two years ago by Charlotte Roybal, a longtime Democratic Party activist. She said that the DPNM would not change in a year or two just because a bunch of new progressives become engaged. It is a long haul. And while I am immensely discouraged by the reaction from the DPNM to my criticisms of the DCCC and the Party’s continuing allegiance to Wall St and the 1%, I do not see any alternative at this time. In party politics, sadly, the Democratic Party is it and it is up to us to make it the kind of party that inspires us.
While this is no doubt a daunting challenge, I am greatly encouraged by the development of two very specific and entirely uncompromising platforms that turn their back on incremental change and offer a vision to believe in.
First, Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough proclaims that the time for incremental change is over; climate change has put a firm deadline on humanity and we need to decide if we are serious about putting people and planet over profits. If we continue to treat our planet and our people as disposable resources, we are really dispossessing our grandchildren of a livable future. Her book outlines what is called the LEAP Manifesto, a bold plan for what needs to be done if we are to save our planet.
Second, earlier this week, Progressive Democrats of America posted an eight-point plan that is even more specific, calling for precisely the kind of specific commitment to single-payer healthcare, 100% renewables, social, gender and racial justice issues, and other very specific legislative initiatives. It is the kind of list that should have scrolled through and defined the Better Deal video posted by the Democratic Party last week. Click here to review a post in which I summarized both the Manifesto and PDA’s people’s platform and provided links to both.
Between these two platforms, we have an excellent expression of what we want and what the planet needs if we are to have any hope of survival. So with that in hand, we know what to demand of the Democratic Party and if it continues to offer only empty, uninspiring rhetoric and continues to feed at the corporate trough, I am confident an alternative will emerge and we will know what to do.
But my fervent hope is that the Party recognizes that what it is currently offering is effectively turning its back on the next generation of Democrats who are ready to work, contribute, and support a Party that stands for a sustainable, just future. It seems quite clear to many, that if the Party continues on its corporate approved path, it will continue to suffer defeats at the polls, leaving the majority of us without a defender of our rights or a proponent of our vision. I wish I were more optimistic, but what does give me hope are the people I know who right now are working so hard to revitalize and reform the Democratic Party and the visions so ably expressed by Klein and PDA. The Democratic Party will reform and return to the Party of FDR or we all will have to find a different path to justice.
Paul & Roxanne