Millions of progressive activists give time, money, and energy to advocacy groups, because they don’t trust the Democratic Party. Shouldn’t progressives take over the Democratic Party the way religious conservatives and Teabaggers took over the GOP?
The Republican Party is united behind a hard right agenda that keeps becoming more extreme. Often GOP lawmakers vote unanimously.
The Democratic Party is divided between “centrist” corporatist Dems, on the one hand, and progressives and labor on the the other. This is true both nationally, where President Obama often sides with corporatists, and in Washington State, where Road Kill Dems and other centrists vote with Republicans on many issues.
Due to the (perceived or actual) centrism and unreliability of the Democratic leadership, millions of progressives donate their time, money, and energy to advocacy groups like MoveOn, NARAL, Sierra Club, and scores of other groups. This weakens the Democratic Party, forces it further to the right, and dis-empowers progressives, because third parties rarely have much positive influence in our non-parliamentary form of government. Twould be better, I think, if progressives took over the Democratic Party, the way religious conservatives and Tea Partiers took over the GOP. I’m not (yet) in favor of going the third party route, though some progressives, or socialists, are.
Many people active in the advocacy groups are in fact also active in the Democratic Party. Still, I’d rather have a progressive Democratic Party than a centrist one with a bunch of advocacy groups snapping it its feet.
In order to reform the Democratic Party, it seems to me that it needs to be, uh, “purged” of centrist Dems. That will inevitably be a painful and difficult battle. But it happened in the GOP, and it’s not something progressives should shy away from: The Good Fight.
Some will say that progressives should shut up and stop criticizing President Obama, lest Republicans win in 2012. I understand that way of thinking. But perhaps the better approach is to acknowledge Obama’s failings, show how much worse the Republicans are, and work to support progressive Democrats in down ticket races. Democrats can’t hide from the truth. The people won’t support them if they’re perceived as being supportive of Wall Street more than Main Street. Unless Democrats serve the people, they’re little better than Republicans.
In Washington State, our leaders don’t lead. Governor Gregoire and the legislators have punted on the issue of raising revenue. If you ask them, they say “the people” have to demand fair taxation.
Though the Democrats control the governor’s mansion and both houses in Olympia, they don’t use their positions of power and influence to exert power and influence. Instead, they allow Tim Eyman to lead.
People (especially young people) don’t trust the Democrats, and it’s understandable why. Either the Democrats reform themselves or the country will continue to be screwed over by conservatives.
But it’s possible that this Good Fight will be too disruptive and will lead to GOP victories. If so, it’ll be so sad that the hard right was able to take over the Republican Party but progressives couldn’t gain significant share in the Democratic Party.