Friday, January 01, 2010

Democrats in 2010

Here is an interesting article from the Huffington Post regarding the Democrats' chances in the 2010 elections.

Democrats Do Not Need to Become More "Moderate" to Win in 2010 - Four Rules for Victory in November

[T]he Democratic agenda needs to become more "moderate" or "centrist" and that this would somehow be more attractive to Independent voters.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

"Moderating" our goals is not a recipe for victory. It is a recipe for failure. Last fall, voters overwhelming voted for change, and they knew then -- and still know now -- the kind of change they wanted.

They wanted to end the stranglehold of the private insurance companies that continues to put every American a single illness -- or one layoff -- away from financial catastrophe. They want to take bold, clear action to assure that America is in the forefront of creating the clean energy jobs of the future -- and leave a thriving healthy planet to our children. They wanted to fundamentally change the bull-in-the-china shop foreign policy of the Bush years and re-establish American leadership in the world. Most importantly, they rejected the failed economic policies that allowed the recklessness of huge Wall Street banks to plunge the economy into free fall -- and cost millions their livelihoods. They desperately want leadership that will lay the foundation for long term, bottom-up, widely shared prosperity.

In other words they wanted... and still want... fundamental change.

The author then outlines four steps Democrats need to take to make victory possible:

1). Democrats need to demonstrate to the voters that we are fighting tooth and nail for the goals they support
2). Democrats need to deliver.
3). Not only do we need to forcefully rein in the power of Wall Street and the Big Banks -- we need to frame the political dialogue in decidedly populist terms.
4). We must continue to forcefully and proudly stand up for progressive values.

My reaction:

I think the author is spot-on correct in his advice to the Democratic Party on what they need to do to be victorious in the upcoming elections and how watering down a populist and progressive approach in favor of appearing more "moderate" and "centrist" is a recipe for disaster. But I just can't get fired up about this article although I basically agree with much of what the author had to say.

(1) Appearing to be progressive and populist and sounding like one on the campaign trail is very different from actually being progressive and populist once you are in office and in a position to influence the creation of and vote for legislation. Much of the national Democratic Party is heavily influenced and beholden to corporate and Wall Street interests. Progressives like Dennis Kucinich play at best a marginal role in national Democratic politics. I don't see any of that changing anytime soon with the election of more Democrats into office in 2010.

(2) Democrats had a historic opportunity -- by being the majority in Congress and holding the Executive branch -- to make fundamental changes that would rein in the power of Wall Street, deliver real and comprehensive healthcare reform, draw down the costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and make fundamental changes in the way the US conducts foreign policy, etc. Today we are still on the same boat as when we started in regards to the issues above. When push comes to shove the Democrats have shown themselves to be unwilling, uninterested, or unable to deliver actual, fundamental change or to represent a progressive and populist perspective. Why should electing more Democrats into office change that?

(3) People will say if you don't support the Democrats despite the misgivings above this creates an opportunity for the Republican Party to take back power. I say I am tired of being politically held hostage by the Democratic Party. They rely on my and the vote of Progressives to win elections but don't deliver on any of the issues I care about once in power. That's no reason for someone to vote and retain their loyalty. That's just politically blackmailing progressive and independent voters.

I applaud the author for his ideas. As an independent I see myself supporting Democrats in elections if they run campaigns and govern the way the author is describing. But I just don't see the Democratic Party taking on any of his sensible advice except on the symbolic level to use in speeches and in campaign advertising. Beyond the rhetorical level I don't see the national Democratic party willingly representing a more progressive and populist direction.

Which begs the question -- if you care about progressive values and see issues from a populist perspective, what do you do politically? Where do you turn to if neither major party is interested in representing your interests?


Constructive Feedback said...

1). Democrats need to demonstrate to the voters that we are fighting tooth and nail for the goals they support
2). Democrats need to deliver.
3). Not only do we need to forcefully rein in the power of Wall Street and the Big Banks -- we need to frame the political dialogue in decidedly populist terms.
4). We must continue to forcefully and proudly stand up for progressive values.

My friend Rikyrah.
Happy New Year. I hope that 2010 will be a productive year for you personally.

I have a few challenges for you about the list.

Let's stand INSIDE of the Black community and then have our vision flow outward as the context of our discussion.

1) Where is the notion of WHO is the present ESTABLISHMENT of all that you see?

2) WHO should be held ACCOUNTABLE for the present set of circumstances?

3) Why are you verbose about Banks and Wall Street but can't seem to articulate WHO is assaulting our schools, our communities and the business enterprises WITHIN?

Rikyrah you and the progressive-fundamentalists almost perfectly fit my reference model of you all, lacking the effective ORGANICISM and thus you are on a perpetual OUTWARD struggle against some amorphous threat to you.

You partially influenced this article of mine. Thank you.

I hope that you know that I have no hard feelings against you despite referencing you so frequently. I am frustrated that such a POTENTIALLY effective voice is so committed toward focusing on a force that ultimately:

1) Doesn't plan to stand accountable for the control that it already has over our communities

2) Feeds off of our people's continued grievances as a foundation for its increased power.

redante said...

Hello CF

I wrote this piece not Rikyrah so I am responding. There must be some confusion here because in this case we are actually in agreement although for very different reasons. I understand you are not a progressive so you want to take Democrats to task. I am taking the Democrats to task in this piece for not being progressive enough and for paying lip service only and not real commitment to progressive values. Our agreement -- a rare ocassion indeed -- is that Democrats are not doing a good job where they are in charge.

Constructive Feedback said...

My friend Rikyrah:

I apologize for assuming that you wrote words that were not in fact your writing (even if you agree with them).


Do you see the conundrum that you face?

You argue that the "Democrats", who now control the Federal government AND the local institutions where Black people live in our highest concentrations should be hit - NOT merely because they have yet to deliver upon that which you were promised WHEN YOU VOTED THEM INTO POWER.......but because in their ESTABLISHMENT POSITION they have not been LEFTIST enough.


As a person who's viewpoint is not clouded by Progressivism - do you mind if I ask you a question?

AT WHAT POINT SHOULD CONSCIOUS MINDED BLACK PEOPLE PUT 'PROGRESSIVISM ITSELF' ON TRIAL, confirming that it can in fact produce the promised results?

Instead I believe that you all are most efficient at CHASING AFTER A FIX for a problem, mostly by fighting against external enemies. When these enemies were present - they were oppressive. When these enemies depart, allowing your ideology to be the prevailing order - these enemies VIOLATED the national notion of "social justice" which serve as a bond between the citizenry.

At what point must be back up and demand some EARNEST MONEY from the Progressive Establishment before we as a Black people continue along for the rise - happy to see all of the "Portraits Hanging On The Wall" of the favorable elected Progressive operatives. Their PRESENCE is to be the proof of our "racial progress" more than the RESULTS that they deliver.

Their failure merely means that we need to TRY HARDER with Progressivism.

What am I missing?

redante said...

Hello CF

I agree with you -- we need to judge our elected officials via the results they deliver. I am as disappointed as you are in the results we are getting from them although we differ in the reasons.

Progressives -- real populist Progressives -- play a marginal role at best in the Democratic Party and in national politics. That's how I see it. If you want to take people in power to task -- Democrat and Republican -- go right ahead I'm with you on that.

Now if you want to convince me that Republicans are going to do a better job and that their track record on social justice, the economy, foreign policy, domestic policy are going to be any better than the Democrats then come right out and say it and make an argument for it.

Brian said...

"Beyond the rhetorical level I don't see the national Democratic party willingly representing a more progressive and populist direction."

That's because Republicans have turned terms like "Progressive", "left", etc into toxic terms. They are now synonymous with "Liberal" which has been a toxic term for a long time. When you don't control the microphone (figuratively and literally in many cases) then your ideas are branded by someone else. Dems and Progressives allowed this to happen.

Now, everyone has to be in the center...or slightly right of center in order to be acceptable to the American people.... when in fact, many of those same voters wouldn't mind gov't safety net programs that might improve their lives, offer a sense of security for their families, a stronger consumer rights regime, better ways or alternative ways to get their energy rather than being gouged by big utility companies, etc. Many rural Republicans like many Progressive ideas (some may not admit it). But the Right has found a way to play on the ignorance, fears, xenophobia of these folks by using wedge issues like race, sexual orientation, abortion, and religion to keep the Country divided. What they are doing is pretty despicable. But they know they must not allow Americans to be united (not that the divisions wouldn't persist on some level no matter what)...because the Republican Party relies on this division for its survival.


Did you ever figure anything out on the commenting tech problem? I suggested that you use a different the library or work to see if you could duplicate the problem on another machine. This would let us know if it was your PC with the problem.

Let me know when I can try again... and maybe you could trouble shoot for a couple of days.

If it's your PC it may be your operating system.

You have any tech friends?????

Brian said...


Not everything here (or anywhere else) is viewed through a racial lens.

LAD's post didn't focus on race. Hell did it even mention it???? Nor is he a Black American. He's a proud Asian American. He was making a political/social statement. Yet you seem stuck on race.

Not every post that I make....or that Rikyrah makes or that the Professor makes, is about race.

I have had to explain that more than once.

That's why I need a blog revamp (can't afford one though). Blog isn't quite as diverse as I would like.

redante said...

Thanks AI! Side note -- on tech issues, I sent you an email yesterday regarding the commenting bug and a possible solution