People always talk about how ‘great’ the Democratic Party was. In case you do not know many of us Millennials and Gen Xers have no clue as to what you speak of. A lot of us have been politically active since the late 1980’s. From where we stand there has been absolutely nothing great about the Democratic Party. During the entirety of our lifetimes we have been fighting to reform the Democratic Party. What did the Rainbow Coalition accomplish? What did Democracy for America accomplish? What did Progressive Democrats of America accomplish? What did Democrats Organizing For America accomplish? What did We the People accomplish? All failed miserably.
At this point, after what happened in the (un)Democratic primary last year we should all know beyond a shadow of a doubt that reform is not possible. The corporate neoliberal Democrats that run the DNC will never let it happen. They will openly rig primaries and commit election fraud even collude with the media to keep any real progressives from winning a presidential primary. They will collude with the same media to prop up the Republican candidate that they think is the weakest, thus elevating Trump and ensuring he wins the Republican primary. After reading the transcripts of the DNC fraud lawsuit I have no doubt that they would do the same for key senate races. What is to stop them from interfering in house races as well? Which according to the DNC lead attorney they have the legal standing and right to do so. Of course, I expect the DNC will emerge victorious from the lawsuit and set a legal precedent to rig any primary they want to. After all what are we going to do about it? The only other option is the Republicans, right?
If that wasn’t bad enough, they have spent the last 24 years pushing forth a neoliberal agenda. One that is anti-working class. Bill Clinton’s presidency fueled the rise of the Blue Dog coalition. Peachy sounding name for a group of politicians that were elected on the premise that they would be working for corporate America. But hey at least they are better than the republicans, right? They continue to support and push forth economic policies that benefit the one percent. The establishment of the Democratic party is made up of corporate Democrats. They work for their donors not the working class. This has created a political party that puts Wall Street leaps and bounds ahead of main street.
Many of us on the left like to talk about how bad the ALEC is. For those of you not in the know the American Legislative Exchange Council is an organization made up of elected Republicans and lobbyists for large corporations and for profit prison system. What many people on the left may not know is that during the same thing has been happening in the Democratic Party. The past few decades have seen the rise of Third Way and the Democratic Leadership Council. Which effectively functioned the same way as ALEC. When ALEC started catching a lot of heat for being corrupt, the Democratic Leadership Council dissolved to distance the politicians from Third Way. They were proactive in trying to stay beneath the peoples notice. However, many of the same politicians that were in the DLC are still in office today and still work with Third Way and their lobbyists. Partnerships like this is what brought rise to the Trans Pacific Partnership. Everyone knows how disastrous that would have been, right?
This New Democrat mentality is one that has pushed to have millions of our jobs sent overseas with NAFTA. They pushed to implement racist policies by privatizing the prison system and enacting minimum sentencing laws. They pushed to have thousands upon thousands of independent media companies monopolized into 6 mega corporations with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, thus allowing the 1% to control our media. They deregulated the financial industry with the removal of Glass Steagall, thereby causing the financial collapse of 2008 and the loss of millions of Americans jobs and retirement income. They push for manufactured for profit warfare. They continue to bomb and murder women and children with drones. I could go on for days and days.
From where we stand there is not much in the Democratic Party that is worth fighting for. For us, when we hear people talk about how ‘great’ it use to be, it is like hearing them talk about some mythical fantasy. A story book tale. The reality of the matter is that for tens of millions of Americans who were not alive back then do not know what you mean when you call the Democratic Party ‘great’. We have never experienced it. For us it sounds so improbable that an organization as corrupt and dirty as the DNC was ever great at anything other than fraud and lying.
So is it worth the time and energy to try and reform? Would we be better off joining the Republican Party and reforming it? After all they don’t have super delegates. They are more likely to listen to their constituents, even when it is as bad of an idea as a President Trump. They don’t pick their nominees in a back room smoking cigars. They didn’t commit election fraud in the primary. They don’t say their constituents’ votes don’t count and only the GOP has the right to pick the nominee. Listening to how great the Democratic Party could be, is like listening to me say we should join and reform the republicans. For us we have lived in a world where neither party is for the working class. The truth of the matter is republicans make worse policies and democrats are more corrupt.
We have no idea how or why anyone could or would join either party. Stop talking about this “once upon a time” fairy tale. Those bygone times have absolutely no bearing on today. However, in the spirit of unity and to hopefully help advance a more progressive agenda we should support our brothers and sisters that are fighting against the DNC and GOP establishments of the Democratic Party and Republican Party. From the end of the Democratic primary to now the progressive movement has splintered into so many different directions. There Berners that are trying to reform the Democratic party from inside. Many have just left the democratic party entirely and do not plan on looking back. Some have #DemExit and went #GreenEnter. Others plan on staying independent and plan on supporting all true progressives regardless of party affiliation. Some are pushing to Draft Bernie Sanders for a Peoples Party. I am sure some have become so disaffected they may not even vote again.
There lies the problem. How do we unite and come up with effective strategy when we are divided into so many different directions? How do we come together in such a force as to apply the leverage we need to get the Democratic Party to have a working class agenda and working class economic policies? The only thing I can think of that is even remotely productive at producing the type of leverage we need is a Progressive or Bust strategy. How do we do that? There were millions of us that united last spring to help try and push forth the change that we need. How can we unite again?
Since Bernie was the one that brought us together, maybe the answer came out of his campaign came Brand New Congress, a dedicated group of organizers and volunteers that want to push forth an entirely new congress by electing progressive Democrats, Republicans and Independents. They have created a multiparty 52 state initiative for over 400 hundred races. If you are in a deep red state or district then Brand New Congress could be endorsing progressive republicans that may win where democrats couldn’t. These will be candidates that may not have a political back ground. People who have a drive and are members of the working class, like teachers, nurses, engineers and community leaders. There goal is to oust all of congress and replace it with a progressives.
If the Brand New Congress candidate loses their primary what should we do? Supporting the candidate of the corrupt establishment isn’t an option for many of us. We feel as long as we keep voting for candidates that do not represent us the DNC will have no reason to change. For me it is clear what we should do, in 2018 we should all back the Brand New Congress candidates that are on our ballot. If they lose vote for Green Party or progressive independents in the general. This is a Progressive or Bust strategy. Either we vote them out in the primary or they lose in November. Dedicating ourselves to change our voting habits and become multiparty voters will both apply the leverage we need to reform the Democratic Party while supporting a progressive Third Party and independent candidates.