For the most part, I’ve stopped following the machinations of the DNC. It is true that they purged Bernie supporters from senior leadership positions. If one remembers that a party is but a conduit to deliver a payload, that should not matter as long as we have a large percentage of the grassroots.
Let me preface by saying the following. I am a loyal Bernie Sanders supporter, specifically his real progressive policies. In fact, I was one of his delegates in Philly. Like Bernie, I voted for Hillary Clinton because she was the best choice running and would have been better for the constituents we support. I had intended to hold her feet to the fire the day she took office as one of her voters. We were ready to be the progressive thorn in her side.
2018 must be a big win for progressives. Democratic candidates will get the Democratic vote. But that is not enough to win. That is one reason the DNC’s purge was so shortsighted. But it will take two dumb moves to lose 2018. As Max Brooks said on Real Time with Bill Maher, the three Conservative President’s we’ve had, Reagan GHW Bush, and GW Bush were mostly caused by infighting than anything else.
Former Resolutions Committee Chair James Zogby sent out an Our Revolution email every Bernie Sanders supporter must read. I agree wholeheartedly with his approach, and in fact, I have suggested similar engagement many times, on my Politics Done Right radio program. Following is his letter.
I began my service as a member of the Democratic National Committee in 1993, after serving as a deputy campaign manager in Reverend Jesse Jackson’s two presidential campaigns. I served on the DNC’s Executive Committee since 2001 and from 2006 until the recent meeting in Las Vegas, I was also co-chair of the Resolutions Committee. Because I was a superdelegate for Bernie Sanders and supported Keith Ellison for Chair of the Party, I was deeply disappointed, but not surprised, to be replaced as co-chair of Resolutions and removed from the Executive Committee.
What concerns me is that after a hotly contested primary race in 2016 and a close election for DNC chair in 2017, this was the time for Democrats to come together before the important 2018 mid-terms. Instead of seeking unity, the slate nominated by the DNC chair Tom Perez and confirmed by the DNC at the Las Vegas meeting virtually eliminated Sanders and Ellison supporters from the party’s major governing bodies.
Keith Ellison is the only one of 11 officers who supported Bernie’s nomination. There are virtually no Bernie supporters on the Rules and By-laws Committee and Keith is the only Bernie supporter on the new Executive Committee. We should have more representation, and it is fundamentally wrong that we will have such a diminished voice in party affairs when, more than ever, we will need “all hands on deck.”
At times like this, I remember a lesson Jesse taught me a generation ago: “Don’t quit, stick around and fight.” And so instead of dropping out, I remain committed to staying engaged and continuing the fight to change the Party.
I am encouraged by the number of Our Revolution and other progressives elected to party positions in more than 10 states, including party chairs in several states. And I am hopeful that the Unity Reform Commission, on which I serve as a Sanders appointee, will soon vote on a series of measures to reform both how we, as Democrats, choose our presidential candidates and how we run our party. We are calling for greater budget transparency, accountability, inclusion, and democratic decision-making.
When our reform proposals are sent to the entire DNC for a vote, Our Revolution will work to mobilize Democrats across the nation to join our call for real change—because we believe that the reforms we are proposing are necessary for unity. And, we believe that unity is the prerequisite for victory.
Our Revolution is the largest national organization demanding party reform in each of the state parties as well as nationally. We believe that we must build strong groups through party building inside and sometimes outside the party, and link to strong candidates working with us on key local, state, and national issues.
Last week I wrote the piece “Hey, progressives: let’s prove ourselves by winning the primaries & then the whole thing” to express that same sentiment.
The fracture within the Democratic Party has more to do with the leadership and the grassroots than with Democrats and Progressives in general. There are those who want to hold on to the middle because that is where the “Progressive” wealthy Establishment Democrats reside. Ironically, it is not that far away from where the Conservative wealthy Establishment Republicans live. It is the concept of the left rail and right rail being different but heading in the same direction.
The 2016 election proved that American don’t just want Left or Right rails. Their current economic and social conditions demand a derailment. A Progressive derailment is much more advantageous to the masses than a Right Wing derailment which would be the virtual enslavement of “the other,” people of color, women, the poor, gays, and many others.
The election of people of all types, political persuasions, and values is probative. It illustrates that the Progressive movement has the reach most activists knew it had.
Progressives do not need to fight what many refer to as the Establishment. They just need to replicate Virginia, New Jersey, Washington state, the elected that was not supposed to be electable, women, and more. Progressives must run for precinct chairs in their Democratic Primaries. Most importantly saturate the primaries with Progressives for local, state, and national offices.
Let’s suck it up. Let’s think about the people we activated to help. Let’s go out there and do what is necessary to give all Americans a better life. 2018 is in our hands. Only we can lose it.