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The Dems Have Crashed, the Left May Be Next

The Dems Have Crashed and the Left May Be Next

We are now in the Land of Trump. The extent of the damage to the country is yet to be seen. The wreckage of Hillary 2016 has not even been sorted yet. The Democratic Party is staggering after an epic strategic smackdown. Winning the popular vote in the race to the White House is cool. But, it means nothing without the requisite 270 electoral votes. Horseshoes, hand grenades and all that. But, the Left may be about to suffer the worst loss of 2016.

The Democratic Party is a hot mess. They have been hemorrhaging seats across the country for nearly a decade. Things are so bad that they don’t even think they have a problem. Politics is a popularity contest and they actively shun populism. The happiness of the donor class has completely drowned out the needs of the people. The Dems seem to be quite content while losing and collecting checks. They are “fat, dumb and happy.” They are also ripe for a populist, insurgent takeover.

What We Have Learned

The Bernie Sanders campaign proved that the donor class is not the only source for campaign cash. Bernie also proved that Progressive solutions are far more popular than Neoliberalism and Conservatism. The coalition was imperfect. But, it was the best thing going for positive change. The framework of that campaign can be the foundation of Progressivism into the future. A true, no-bullshit Progressive Movement.

But, the Left. My people. We are doing what we do best – fracturing. With Clintonism on its deathbed, Bernie seemingly co-opted and Trump settling into the White House, we have no electoral boogieman to fight. The Left is going down an infuriating path. Some are going into the standard 4-year hibernation, some are seeking perfect politicians (the Ellison “debate”), some want the Democratic Party to submit all power to us RIGHT NOW, some want to watch it all burn and much more.

Tasks Ahead

  1. The Dems are gassed and on the ropes. They have never been more vulnerable in the modern political era. But, they are dug-in and the have plenty of resources. We have to infiltrate and lay siege. We, the Left, need to be a never ending thorn in their side. Pushing them at every juncture. The goal: take over the party.
  2. We need to fight President Trump and his potentially fascist regime. They need a taste of what real populism is. Challenge them based on principle and the needs of the American people.
  3. We need to recruit Progressive candidates, build campaigns, voter outreach and raise funds for 2018, 2020 and beyond.

No time for sleep (or in-fighting).

Opportunity (Almost) Lost

We will be back to square one if we don’t get our collective shit together. Back out in the political wilderness yelling at each other while the planet melts. We have a less than perfect, but unifying leader in Bernie Sanders and a formula to raise funds and organize. We are within striking distance of running the Democratic Party apparatus with all its resources. And what do we do? Volunteer to go back to the political stone age! Smacking rocks together hoping for fire when we could have access to flamethrowers.

I want you to live in your truth and do what you think is best with your political life. The Democratic Party is the 2nd most powerful political force in American politics. We will need internal and external pressure on the party. We can all co-exist. Just stop calling each other sellouts and dreamers.

We all have a role. Some will try to shift the Dems. Some will try to build another party or coalition. Guess what? Those are compatible short and long term plans. Squeeze as much progress out of the Dems as possible. When the new party is up and running we can move over. Problem solved.

Bernie Disclaimer

For the record, I don’t think Bernie has been co-opted. Bernie is a politician that will leverage whatever resources he is given to push a Progressive agenda. He is not perfect. But, his body of work has earned my patience. Me being mad will not shift his path one iota. Plus, I have kids. I do not need any added stress in my life. They have my stress quota covered quite well. Thank you.

For more, follow/contact me on Twitter – @blupfront or look for me here at ProgressiveArmy.com.

Written by Michael Graham

Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Veteran, Social Justice Warrior. City by birth, Country by default. Follow Michael on Twitter @BLUpfront.

Michael Graham is a Senior Writer for Progressive Army.


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  1. You say, “We need to fight President Trump and his potentially fascist regime.”

    Where was the author’s rage when the Democratic president, other than giving great speeches, did nothing for the middle class, the environment etc.? Why the rage and the call for fight now?

    • Have you read anything else by Michael? If not, you have no basis for judgment. Normally I’m all for people using their voices but for the last two weeks all most seem capable of is knee-jerk reaction to cherry-picked words. And this is an excellent example.

    • Margaret Boland, in his article, Michael says, “We need to fight President Trump and his potentially fascist regime. They need a taste of what real populism is. Challenge them based on principle and the needs of the American people.

      If giving a taste of what “real populism” is to people who are not populistic, then Michael should have written this article almost 7-8 years ago. Because, since 2008 after that hope-and-change thing, the Democratic party (including at the top echolons) did nothing populistic. The Democratic party has essentialy become a grand fund raising operation and its forgotten its roots. Where was Michael’s outrage then? Why is he outraged only now?

  2. You think we shouldn’t be looking for perfect candidates? I’m going to argue about Ellison at every damn turn. Keith Ellison is a warmonger. Last I checked, warmongering isn’t very fucking progressive.

  3. The Democrats–the party that was supposed to represent the left–did not drift this far right in a week. It’s a big ship and what’s important is a firm leftward trend. That means recognizing the strategic value of imperfect candidates that are still an improvement over the current establishment and are allies to the left. Bernie Sanders was the only man who was able to coalesce the strong desire for a progressive government and he understands the machine we’re trying to un-rig better than we do. Not all compromises are tainted. I’m also sick of hearing people rail against Elizabeth Warren. I too was quite angry with her, and still believe that if she had chosen to break with the establishment despite the enormous pressure she was under, it might well have been enough to put Bernie over the top–but we might also have lost both her and Bernie if it hadn’t worked, and then we would have NO ONE in the senate who gives a shit about a fair and honest system. Progressives have been trying to un-fracture, but it’s like watching a giant trying to form up in little clumps that need to join together to find their power. The biggest hindrance imo is that we need a centralized, strategic fundraising infrstructure–I’ve said it repeatedly. Back in 2004 when I first became disgusted with the Democratic establishment, and back when Howard Dean had not yet been reeducated into that revolting body, Democracy for America was where I switched my support, along with seeking out individual candidates. Their choices became less progressive as Dean did, but their model is a good place to start. This year I’ve spent far too much time and gone into credit card debt trying to help the progressive cause (getting delegates to Philly, helping Bernie and Berniecrats, DAPL etc.) and a lot of that money might has well have been thrown in the trash not only because of the faux primary the DNC ran but because there was no central body whose clear purpose is to track progressive candidates *and the races they are running in*, and provide campaign resources strategically rather than splitting dollars equal ways just to be “fair” (an org like this could have gotten Russ Feingold and Zephyr Teachout over the top). I want good progressive candidates to be able to afford to run without going into debt. I’m concerned about Weaver being with Our Revolution, not because of gossip but because I’m not sure he’s the strategist we need. I want a unified fundraising/strategy front where candidates have a presence and can be reviewed/voted on, where we can choose to create personal lists of candidates we want to focus our donations on, where I can find pages of worthy candidates with a good chance of winning who just need money or phonebanking or local support, and where the whole process is transparent. I’m not sure if I care that the organization may or may not be able to take large unidentified donations (dark money) so long as we can see how much is being collected and where it’s going, but honestly if enough of us were chipping in just ten bucks a month we’d be a force to be reckoned with. With such an organization, whether you’re Green Party, DSA, unaffiliated, or Democrat, it would be easy to contribute to trustworthy candidates and causes. But Michael is right; we need to find some unity. The whole “perfect is the enemy of the good” idea was abused by Clintonites who wanted to pretend they were actually about fighting for the people, and that’s a shame because if you can dissociate it from the Dem establishment, it’s quite suitable to our current situation. We need progress. The Dems as they are right now can’t provide it. And we can’t get it by throwing tantrums and refusing to recognize an opportunity for improvement over the VERY SERIOUS SITUATION we are currently in. We strive right now for Better, and keep striving for Better after we get that. Thanks to Clintonism, it’s going to be like cutting steps in the ice with a house key to climb out of this abyss, but bitching about it isn’t going to make the ice melt.

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The Miseducation of White People

The Dems Have Crashed, the Left May Be Next