There’s an argument that’s been tossed around the Democratic party for decades now, that says we can’t afford to let Progressives gain a significant share of the party because they “can’t win in battleground states”. That we must hold to the tenants of Centrism, because that’s “more inclusive”, right? Well, the impending eclipse must signal the return of this talking point, because corporate interests have handed down their marching orders, and the faithful are at it again. This nonsense argument is just as tired and old as the people who try to sell us this garbage, and its high time we put these talking points in the trash once and for all.
How’s That Centrism Been Working For You: It feels both repetitious and necessary to remind everyone that under the charismatic-yet-still-quite-neoliberal Presidency of Barack Obama, the Democrats lost over 900 seats in Congress and State legislatures nationwide, since he first took office. There are more states with a trifecta of Republicans controlling their Governor’s Mansion, State Senate, and State House/Assembly than ever before; and remember, those unholy trinities each bring us one step closer to a Constitutional Convention, and it is in the States that Congressional districts are mapped every 10 years. So really, Centrists, speak up and be heard- how’s that philosophy been treating you recently?
Bad Luck Chuck: And another thing- what is Democratic Centrism these days other than Republican Lite? And I’m being honest here, someone draw out the policy differences for me. Centrist Democrats are friendly towards Wall Street, they oppose Single Payer, they seem unenthusiastic about Student Debt Relief at best, and they’re in bed with Big Pharma. The one thing I can give them is that it seems like they’re friendly toward environmentalism and green energy production, which is good, but then again so are Progressives. And the leader of this aggressive Centrism is Chuck Schumer, who famously predicted…
“For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”
So. Taking a look at the White House, at the House and the Senate, at the States from coast to coast… y’all ready to come to the table with us yet? Or do you need to get your asses beat again in 2018?
Something to Believe In: Now look, I get it. Given what Centrism has produced over the last decade or so, today’s Progresive agenda can sound like a lot to chew in one bite. Single Payer health care, massive environmental and infrastructure investments, student debt forgiveness, the abolition of for-profit prisons, renewed and vigorous pursuit of policies that further the causes of social and economic justice… and I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff here. Point is, these are big ideas! But you need these big ideas. Nobody’s going to flock to the polls for a bowl of porridge. The Democrats must convince the people that the party is going to fight for their interests; hang-wringing half-measures won’t do that.
And the thing is, all of the Progressives I’ve talked to understand that even if we sweep into Congress like a divine wind, we’re still gonna have to trade some things here and there to get bills passed. And that’s fine! But we want to start from the position of strong Progressive ideology so that when we have to negotiate, the end product is still something that causes a bold and positive change for our working-class brothers and sisters. We believe those pro-worker policies will bring people to the polls in droves, far better than any Centrist Democratic platitudes will.
Thus- spare us your nonsense about purity tests and so forth. We’re the ones with a plan to shatter the disastrous Republican majorities and get the country back on track. We’d love to work with the rest of the party, but we’re not backing down.
Questions? Comments? I tweet @Dispatchula and you can always email me!
Today’s photo content comes once again from the Creative Commons of Flickr. Bland Street was taken by Christopher Langmuir; Chuck Schumer was taken by chrisinphilly5448, and the porridge picture was taken by Viv.