DNC finagling with elements of the party platform is being reported and the slate of speakers at the convention are indicators that the Party is using the same moderate strategy that worked so well in 2016. Are they risking the loss of young, enthusiastic voices?
We are seeing evidence of the Democratic Party adopting a decidedly moderate strategy in numerous behind the scenes and decidedly undemocratic maneuverings. After this discussion, we have included a fun math quiz that will take you about 10 seconds and will elicit a surprising result. After our News In Briefs and a couple of very brief announcements, we will discuss the implications of this shift to the right.
News in Brief:
We have three NIBs today:
- From The New York Times: “G.O.P.-Led Senate Panel Details Ties Between 2016 Trump Campaign and Russia: A nearly 1,000-page report confirmed the special counsel’s findings at a moment when President Trump’s allies have sought to undermine that inquiry.” This report details how after all the investigation has been done, it is very clear (even to GOP Senators) that senior members of Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians to a very significant degree. In a sane world, this would lead the GOP to refuse to nominate Trump, but we are far from a sane world. This makes Watergate look like child’s play.
- From the NM Political Report: “‘Dereliction of duty’: 1.6 million gallons of produced water spilled so far in 2020” This report describes how NM’s gas and oil industry has dumped over 1.6 million barrels of produced water in 2020 alone. Only two days ago, one of our NIBs reported on how that same industry is flaring methane without restraint in the Permian Basin. How on earth do we allow that industry a seat at any table to discuss regulations or anything else? They are not stakeholders; they are criminals.
- From Common Dreams: “‘Immoral, Criminal, Inexcusable’: Climate Groups Furious as DNC Drops Support for Ending Fossil Fuel Handouts From Platform”. We offer this as an appetizer to our main report for today on the Democratic Party’s unsubtle shift to the right of center. But this report is replete with quotes from astonished environmentalists and progressive legislators–not the kind of rhetoric you want coming from key allies. And given their caving to gas and oil lobbyists on the platform, it is even more concerning how the report below describes how the party has decided to accept corporate PAC money.
Retake Conversations NM State Senate Candidate Harold Pope. on KSFR. Saturday, August 22, 8:30 am – 9 am on 101.1 FM or streaming at KSFR.org. Harold Pope is our endorsed candidate in our # 2 priority legislative race among our six MUST WIN races. Pope running for State Senate against incumbent GOP Senator Sander Rue in Senate District 23 in ABQ. There are very good reasons for our endorsing Pope. Listen in and find out what they are.
To Change the World You First Must Understand It
“There is a famous line by Karl Marx, which I am sure many of you know: the task is not just to understand the world, but to change it. And there is a variant of that which should also be kept in mind. If you want to change the world in a constructive direction, you better try to understand it first. And understanding it doesn’t mean just listening to a talk or reading a book, although that’s helpful sometimes. It means learning. And you learn through participation. You learn from others. You learn from the people you are trying to organize. And you have to gain the experience and understanding which will make it possible to maybe implement ideas like that as a tactic.”– Noam Chomsky
We offered this quote as it captures the purpose for Retake’s existence. We strongly believe that while it is important to seek out new information and new perspectives by reading pieces from Retake and other left-leaning journals, you learn still more and become even more inspired when you participate in the civic process. Hence our slogan: “Engage, Educate, Motivate, Organize, Activate.” And action is all. So, let’s stay active, my friends. Click here to review our constantly updated election strategy with information about how you can be involved in state and national elections and how you can engage your friends and family in the work, as well.
Disturbing Move to the Right
With solid evidence that there are some moderate Republicans who are disaffected with Trump’s tone and COVID management, one might see the wisdom in the Democratic Party crafting a message designed to reassure those Republicans that the Democratic Party is not the party of Bernie Sanders, AOC, and a host of other new young Democrats who are thirsting for more substantive change. But this may be serious mistake and one we’ve seen before. Trump’s favorability numbers are rock solid among the GOP voters, his stalwart supporters are spoon-fed Fox News and not only do they buy what they are being sold, they are solidly committed to voting for Trump and in person, masks and safety be damned.
Isn’t this the same strategy employed in 2016, a strategy that left many Democrats uninspired, uninvolved and in far too many instances absent from the voting booth? Might it not be more sanguine for the Democratic Party to embrace at least some of the policies that for four years has been part of the Sanders wing of the party? There are troubling signs that the party has decided to do a redux of 2016 in the hopes that Trump’s performance has been so abysmal that sufficient Trump voters cross the aisle and vote for Biden.
Among the evidence that this is exactly the Biden strategy is the lineup of speakers, with more Republicans getting air time than any of the new, young House members. AOC, who should be viewed as one of the “Rising Stars” and a future presidential candidate, should be groomed and promoted as Obama was in 2004. However, AOC has been limited to one minute of air time over the four days and others among her posse are nowhere to be seen. Despite this, it is clear that Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and even AOC are toeing the line, buying into removing Trump as the only thing that matters. And so, with the party clearly more concerned with luring Republican voters than offering young communities of color something to be enthusiastic about, we are seeing speeches that reiterate the same theme over and over: Trump is not fit for office and Biden offers the steady hand the Nation needs. It appears that simply promoting a kind, steady man is enough. I fear this is a serious mistake in 2020 and a mistake that could have a lingering impact going forward.
“The Democrats are still (relative to Republicans) the party of the future, but now the vision belongs to the Parkland survivors and the Sunrise Movement and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—another generational talent who is seen by her opponents as a media persona and by her supporters as a serious policy entrepreneur, a preternaturally talented political figure who arrives with white papers and twelve-point plans.”From The New Yorker: “Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the Shaky Unity of the Democratic National Convention”
NBC has also noticed the snub:
“While Ocasio-Cortez can light a rhetorical blaze in 60 seconds, her short appearance formally seconding Sanders’ nomination felt like the equivalent of party table scraps. Meanwhile, former Gov. John Kasich, a white, 68-year-old onetime Republican presidential candidate and avowed anti-abortion politician, spoke for much longer. Colin Powell, who enabled the disastrous war in Iraq, also enjoyed a speaking slot, as did Cindy McCain. The comparison couldn’t be more stark — or worrying.”From NBC News: “AOC’s DNC speech was 60 seconds. She made her point — but so did the establishment”
I think this is a very risky proposition, one that could lead many young people and those who are aligned with Sanders, Warren, AOC and others from the left to do what they did in 2016: not donate, not make calls, not make texts and then on election day vote for the party nominee, albeit reluctantly. But if the trend continues, I worry that too many will not only not vote, but will turn away from political engagement altogether. The left was told to wait in 2016 with disastrous results; we are being told to wait again and with Kamala Harris, a decided moderate, installed as VP, the writing is on the wall who the moderates will be promoting after Biden.
“The problem, though, is that the olive branch to moderates is coming at the expense of the people young Democratic voters believe in and are excited by. And that sets the party up for failure — not just in this election, but also in the long term.”From NBC: “AOC’s DNC speech was 60 seconds. She made her point — but so did the establishment. If Democrats want to move forward after this immediate emergency of an election, they need to radically reassess who holds the party’s power and who speaks on its platforms”
So, what other evidence is there of a drift to a more traditional centrist party? Well we’ve mentioned one, the lineup of speakers. But there is much more. From a Wednesday morning email from Sunrise Movement:
“On Tuesday, DNC bosses removed the democratically added language included in the final party platform which stated that “Democrats support eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuels.” They removed this language behind closed doors with no explanation.Sunrise Movement, August 19, 2020
Sunrise Movement goes on to point to who is advising the campaign.
“It’s being reported that people like Ken Salazar are advising Joe Biden’s campaign. After leaving his position as Obama’s first-term Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar immediately joined the law firm that represented BP in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He also defended Anadarko Petroleum, an oil and gas company that was responsible for a major gas explosion destroying homes and killing two people in Colorado. His views on fracking? “I would say to everybody that hydraulic fracking is safe.”Sunrise Movement, August 19, 2020
Bringing gas and oil lobbyists into the Democratic Party “big tent” is not going to fly with the Sunrise movement or with any of the other environmental groups who have tremendous influence over their millions of members. And they are not amused.
“We are nearing global tipping points on climate, fires and extreme weather are killing people and devastating the economy, and the DNC can’t even accept an end to public subsidies for making it worse?”Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA
Leonard went on to describe the removal of language prohibiting gas and oil subsidies “immoral, criminal, inexcusable.” This is not the kind of rhetoric you want your allies using in describing Party actions.
Unfortunately, there is still more evidence that the Party has learned little from 2016. The DNC Rules Committee rejected a vote to use Ranked Choice Voting in voting to nominate a candidate at future conventions. Oddly, our own Teresa Leger Fernandez voted against the effort despite having served as the attorney that argued at the NM State Supreme Court, to force Santa Fe to implement Ranked Choice Voting. Still worse, Leger Fernandez joined other Rules Committee members to vote down a rule that would have prohibited the party from accepting donations from corporate PACs.
These are not signs of a party ready to create the kind of change that so many are thirsting for while in the mire of COVID. We will report more on the convention on Saturday. Last night’s speeches by Obama and Harris were both compelling, but they also lacked any indication of what the party and the candidates stand for besides not being Donald Trump.
To be fair, Donald Trump may be such a threat to our present and our future that his message may be enough, but I feel with COVID laying bare so many social, racial and economic injustices, many Americans see this moment in history as a time for tranformational change. It would be nice to hear a bit about what the Democratic Party thinks that change looks like. But I fear if the party is listening to the same corporate lobbyists, that change may be modest, at best. Stay tuned.
Fun math trick that appears to work.
It will take you approximately ten seconds and, amazingly, it will
reveal your all-time favorite movie. I did it in my head, then on
paper, and finally on a calculator just to confirm my mathematical
calculations. Each time I got the same answer, and sure enough, it is
my very favorite movie…EVER! DO NOT cheat. DO YOUR math, THEN
compare the results on the list of movies at the bottom. You will be
AMAZED at how scary true and accurate this test is:
1. Pick a number from 1-9.
2. Multiply that number by 3.
3. Add 3.
4. Multiply by 3 again.
5. Your total will be a two digit number. Add the first and second
digits together to find your favorite movie (of all time) in the list
of 17 Movies, below.
1. Gone With the Wind
3. Blazing Saddles
4. Star Wars
5. Forrest Gump
6. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
9. The Donald Trump Resignation Speech
11. Jurassic Park
13. Pirates of the Caribbean
15. Raiders of the Lost Ark
16. Home Alone
17. Mrs. Doubtfire
In solidarity and hope,
Paul & Roxanne
Categories: Election, Political Reform & National Politics