The Democratic party is home to almost all the progressives in the US. There are a relative handful in the Greens, and in a few obscure parties like the Socialists and Peace and Freedom, but progressive Democrats are upwards of 50 times as numerous.
It may be that there are more progressive Democrats than there are centrist ones. There are certainly more progressive Democrats than there are Wall Street Democrats.
But Wall Street Democrats control the party. And Wall Street interests control Wall Street Democrats.
Lobbyists and special interests bribe candidates for office and elected officials. In turn, those elected officials control local, state, and national Democratic party structures and personnel.
Even so, progressives almost pulled off the seemingly impossible last year. We almost nominated Bernie Sanders.
Not quite, but almost. The rules promulgated by the DNC provided for superdelegates, whom the party establishment owned. They supported Hillary while the rank-and-file supported Bernie.
In 2020 there will be no incumbent Democratic president and the field will be wide open for the nomination. Progressives will again have the opportunity to nominate Sanders or one of his political heirs.
Astoundingly, there are those progressives who believe we have a better chance of winning in 2020 if we join and campaign for the Greens.
They seem unfazed by the pathetic results of Jill Stein’s campaign and persist in thinking that a party that attracted one percent of the vote in 2016 has a plausible shot at winning the presidency in 2020.
The Democratic leadership would like nothing better than for every progressive activist to leave the Democratic party. Progressives are a problem for Wall Street Democrats. They want to make elected officials responsive to their voters rather then their donors. They want to end private funding of campaigns by making political bribery illegal. They want to tax wealth and corporations, provide free healthcare and education, end the chokehold of Wall Street appointees to departments and regulatory agencies, end our belligerent foreign policy and military adventurism, stop corporate welfare, and spend our war budgets on rebuilding our highways, bridges, on rail, airports, and inner cities.
Progressives will unseat Wall Street Democrats, given the chance. #DemExit is a perfect solution for the Democratic leadership. It is turning tail by progressives without a shot being fired.
#DemExit is the political equivalent of unconditional surrender.
The childish rationale proffered by #DemExit that they refuse to be abused any longer. That the party is corrupt to its core. That one cannot change the KKK from within, and similarly absurd analogies.
That they are helping the oligarchy to stay in control of the party seems to be a fact they cannot comprehend.
#DemExit is lazy activism based upon a false premise. It posits that a third party would be easier to create, promote, and sell than would be taking over the Democrats.
Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of marketing knows the value of a brand, and the cost of creating one. The Democrats have a brand name and the Greens do not. To create branding sufficient to elect a Green president would cost billions upon billions of dollars.
And even if the Greens could elect a president, without a Congress the Greens would be stymied at every turn.
But let us return to those billions of dollars it would take to brand the Greens. Where will it come from? Who has that kind of money? And if they have it and are willing to piss it away, why would they piss it away on a third party when they could use it to take over the Democrats for a fraction of the cost of branding the Greens?
Jill Stein demonstrated that having a good message was hardly enough. She also demonstrated that the Greens cannot attract the financing necessary to make them a viable national party.
And those who have deluded themselves into thinking that the Greens can rise from the ashes of 2016 and displace the Democrats in 2020 need a reality check.
In all of American history there has never been a third party candidate elected to the presidency. The closest a third party ever came to capturing the White House was in 1912, when Teddy Roosevelt led the Bull Moose (Progressive) party. Even though he was a former president and a national hero, he was unable to break the stranglehold of the two party system. Third parties only become major parties when one the the major parties ceases to exist, as was the case when the Republicans were created out of the Whigs. The structure of the American political system makes it impossible for a third party candidate to win the presidency, as an absolute majority of electoral votes must be won or the race is thrown into the House of Representatives. There, each state gets one vote, decided by the majority of each state’s delegation of Members of Congress.
The repudiation of Hillary Clinton and her Wall Street Democrats was the primary message of the general election, but it was not the only message.
The repudiation of the Green party was even more profound. Progressives supported Hillary, stayed home, or voted for Trump. They did not vote Green.
Jill Stein’s positions were nearly identical to those of Bernie Sanders, yet progressives who supported Bernie overwhelmingly rejected the Greens.
It is difficult to envisage a more compelling scenario for the Greens than existed in this election cycle. Bernie Sanders was cheated out of the Democratic nomination by a war mongering Wall Street shill, the Republicans nominated an anti-environment xenophobe, and the only voice of reason was Jill Stein.
Yet Stein only received a quarter of the percent of the vote that Ralph Nader garnered in 2000.
For the progressive movement, the Greens are a non-starter.
If we as progressives are to succeed, we must wage our battles within the Democratic party.
With Hillary’s defeat and the repudiation of the Democratic establishment, progressives are presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the party’s future.
To do so, progressives need to challenge at every level of party organization. We need to primary establishment hacks, run against those owned by Wall Street and Big Oil. Against Big Pharma and Big Ag. Against the banks and the munitions industries.
The 2018 midterms are critical. Nationally, 32 governorships are up. Reapportionment in 2020 will determine whether the Republicans or the Democrats control the House until 2032.
Establishment Democrats must be primaried and defeated where possible. They must be convinced that progressives will pursue a scorched Earth policy to wrest control of the party from Wall Street.
With the election of Trump fresh in their minds, that won’t be hard to do.
#Scorched Earth Democrats.
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