During the Democratic 2016 Presidential primary race, millions of Progressives joined and put together a political machine unlike anything ever been seen before. Devoid of billionaires and think takes and full of activists and protesters.
But once Mrs. Clinton won the primary, millions of new activists, volunteers and supporters were lost. After rampant cheating in the primary, they watched Mrs. Clinton lose the presidential election to Donald Trump. Many Progressives could only watch in despair and anger. Now they are organizing and fighting back.
There have been discussions amongst Progressives about whether it would be better to create a whole new party or to take over the Democratic party from within. I believe that we must take over the Democratic Party. This is the best way to move the Progressive agenda forward.
Let me just say I am not against trying to start a third party…if someone out there can get it to work. Then, I will gladly drop out of the Democratic Party and join. I will attempt to explain why I believe that in a matter of months we can be a major political force. I just don’t see that possibility coming from a third party.
The argument is often put forth that it’s impossible to win against an establishment Democrat and a Republican who both have the backing of the billionaire class. That is wrong. We already have some great progressives already in the US government. Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Elizabeth Warren, Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, and others are all currently in the House and Senate.
Groups like Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress and a handful of other groups plan to run thousands of candidates in 2018. This is an all out assault. Due to the decay of the Democratic political bench over the past 8 years under Obama’s presidency, a wide range of Progressive candidates are needed. The best way to reload this bench is by running a Progressive in almost every race. Give people the option to choose a clean environment, minority rights, $15 minimum wage and no shady billionaires with Super PAC’s behind them.
So, being on the safe side, let’s say we only win 25 seats. Over 950 people have been nominated within 24 hours of Justice Democrats alone. With 950 nominees in only 24 hours, getting 25 into Congress is only a small amount. But those 25 Congressmen and Women would be enough to flip the house. This gives the Democratic Party the ability to stop some of the Trump administration’s agenda and help the people who need it most.
All of those candidates who will be running can have a substantial impact within the party. This should push more and more Democrats to the left. This happened with the Tea Party. Many Congress members went as far Right as their constituents demanded out of fear of losing their job. Justice Democrats will be able to push a couple dozen Congress members to support single-payer health care or tuition-free education. If the organization can convince members of Congress to stop funding intervention wars, these are all achievable victories.
This would also make the House Progressive Caucus one of the strongest in Washington. From there this will continue to grow. Look at what the Tea Party did! They had the funds from the Koch brothers and the real anger started with the formation of the Tea Party after the unveiling of Obamacare began, in the summer of 2009. This current response is directly from the people, without billionaires co-opting their mission. It is beginning right from the moment Trumps presidency begins. Our goals should be limitless.
The candidates that ran on the Tea Party ideology went to the nation’s capital and became the Freedom caucus, one of the most powerful groups in the Republican Party. In one election we can do something similar. The Freedom Caucus went to Washington with one goal, and that goal was to stop everything. I would suggest something similar for those endorsed by Justice Democrats once they are in office.
However, a pure obstructionist policy is not the best way to handle our business. We must become the agenda setters. If Justice Democrats and the Progressive Caucus holds the most power in the Congress, we can say to the Trump administration that we will not work on anything that involves banning refugees, deporting Mexican immigrants who are not criminals and we will not let you bully Trans kids. We will work on and take the reins on an infrastructure bill. This is how you win, while also helping the American people. The House of Representatives has “The Power of the Purse”. We could stop Trump whenever we wanted.
This is why I believe the best way to gain power as Progressives would be to take over the Democratic Party. If someone else can give me an answer that puts us in a legitimate position of power, a position of power that true Progressives never held under former President Obama, I will listen to your arguments. I believe this is the best way forward. After 2 years The Tea Party was able to make the President, Congress, and everyone else in Washington’s jobs a living hell. In 2016 the Tea Party, it could be argued, got their president. All the anger that the Tea Party felt was used by Donald Trump to fuel his campaign. But Trump doesn’t have the answers.
Donald Trump ran as a populist, but he is not and never will be a populist. This is based on his policies and what the Trump Administration claims is good for the American people as a whole. It’s time for the populist, New Deal Progressive Democratic Party to knock off the dust and get back in the game. For too long the Centrist “New Democrats” have run the party. Their time is over, our time is now.
Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not
necessarily reflect those of the Progressive Army.