33 to go: Want to be considered part of the “Democratic base”? Sorry, but you have to earn it.
This are a lot of people out there who think that merely being “liberal” or “progressive” automatically qualifies them to be part of the “Democratic base.”
Of course, they would be wrong.
In order to qualify as part of the Democratic base, you must first demonstrate an unwavering loyalty to Democrats, over and above simply being liberal. It’s not enough to simply call yourself part of the base; you have to help Democrats win over and over again. In short, before you can be part of any party’s base, they must be able to depend on your vote and your support in getting other people to vote for that party.
There is a benefit to being part of the Democratic base. By demonstrating loyalty over a long period of time, you can then exert influence over the party by threatening to withhold your vote. What you cannot do is to threaten to withhold your vote, when you rarely offer it in the first place. That doesn’t work.
When we peruse the liberal blogs today, we see little evidence that the professional left and PUBs in general could possibly be considered part of the Democratic base. In fact, you get a sense that they are almost as anti-Democrat as Republicans are. Consider Eric Holder, for example. If one were to take progressive blogs seriously, one would think Eric Holder was far worse than John Ashcroft. Seriously. And they all give the same answer as to why. Because he didn’t prosecute bankers. Really?
The reason “he” didn’t prosecute bankers was because bankers didn’t do anything that was technically illegal. the Department of Justice has had thousands of people gathering evidence for six years now; the one thing that they have not been able to find is overwhelming evidence that bank executives themselves specifically defrauded customers and the American people. Mortgage brokers did, and thousands of them have been prosecuted and either heavily fined or thrown in jail. However, the bankers put mortgage brokers in between themselves and home buyers in the first place, and what caused the mortgage meltdown wasn’t the mortgages themselves, anyway; it was the asinine concept of an open, privately run and wholly unregulated mortgage aftermarket. Not only did that market allow any investors to buy shares in the mortgages, but the bill that Republicans passed that created that aftermarket, known as Gramm Leach Bliley, actually prohibited regulation of that market. Yes, I said it prohibited regulation. What that means is, those toxic securities banks invested in should have been illegal, and they should have been regulated, but they were not.
See, call me crazy, but I’m glad the Attorney General of the United States can’t just throw people in jail because he doesn’t like their business practices. In order for him to throw people in jail, he needs a law, and he needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the law was broken. because so many things were legal at the time, such a thing was impossible with the bankers after the Bush near-depression, because the banks didn’t do anything that was technically illegal. That’s why Dodd-Frank is so incredibly important; it re-regulated those markets, and it also made banks themselves responsible for their own bailouts in the future. By the way, I agree that Dodd Frank is insufficient and needs to be beefed up, but with a Republican majority in the house, how are we supposed to do that?
Democrats, whether it’s Obama or Eric Holder get absolutely no credit from these people, no matter what they do. All we ever hear from these people, who think of themselves as the “Democratic base,” are complaints, and always about Democrats. Republicans are the biggest problem this country has ever seen, yet PUBs and professional lefties simply assume that everyone knows everything the Republicans have done, and they get their jollies from informing the public about all the bad things that Democrats do. Democrats get no credit from these folks for anything they do right, and they get all of the credit when something goes wrong, even though they haven’t been part of the majority for 4 years.
On one blog, there are at least one or two articles every week about the ineptitude of the DCCC. Articles like these are detrimental to the progressive movement, as well as the Democratic Party. They are not helpful, and they certainly put the lie to the idea that certain groups of “progressives” are part of the Democratic base. Not only are they too wonky for most people to understand or care about, they’re usually wrong. It’s a midterm. There is no national campaign this year. The very idea that there is some sort of a national strategy at play here is ridiculous. All the DCCC does is raise and distribute money. They do have to take into account whether money is being wasted on candidates who have no chance of winning, but that’s the only calculus. If the DCCC doesn’t provide your favorite candidate with the money you think they should get, it’s not personal. In most cases, it’s because the campaign or the candidate sucks, and there is no point to the national party throwing money down a rathole.
And let me assure you, if the DCCC isn’t providing your favorite campaign with money, slamming them and berating them has a 0% chance of getting them to change their mind. Showing them a poll where your candidate has 45% of the vote or more in a district that is 55% Republican will get you the money. put simply, election performance is the metric that is used to secure funds from the DCCC, not insults.
At the same time, by constantly berating what you perceive as the “Democratic leadership” (it’s not), you make swing voters more likely to stay home, which gives Republicans a greater chance of winning. That’s not progressive. That your favorite progressive candidate doesn’t have enough money to put on a solid campaign is a sign of a lack of popularity, which is on that candidate and campaign, not the national party. If there are 33 days to go before the election, and your candidate has 39% of the vote, you need to get them to 45% of the vote, and money will not do the trick.
All politics is local. Never forget that.
As I point out quite often on this blog, some “progressives” (PUBs and the professional left) always claim that the reason progressives haven’t made great strides in recent years is the Democrats’ fault. especially those infamous “Blue Dogs.” I’m sure you’ve read the complaints about Democratic “spines” in the liberal blogosphere, because they say something along those lines pretty much every day. Once again, they’re wrong. In fact, the very concept is ridiculous. for one thing, “Blue Dogs,” or conservative Democrats, are a very distinct minority in the Democratic Caucus. They always have been.
the last time Democrats had control of both the House and the Senate and the presidency was four years ago, in the 111th Congress. Once again, during that congressional session, those “spineless” Democrats in the House of Representatives passed 375 bills that were blocked by minority Republicans in the Senate. During that session of Congress, not one Blue Dog blocked a single bill. Not one Blue Dog voted against cloture. Not one Blue Dog cast a deciding vote that killed any Democratic-sponsored bill. in fact, not one Blue Dog voted with Democrats less than 80% of the time. And yet, these PUBs and professional lefties (who think they’re part of the Democratic base, no less) attacked Democrats incessantly during the 2010 election. As a result, 26 members of the Blue Dog Caucus in the House lost. That not only flipped the House, it also gave the Tea Party a foothold in Congress, which they’ve used to create unprecedented gridlock and to stop President Obama and the Democrats in Congress from doing anything even remotely progressive.
Democratic base? Don’t make me laugh.
See, here’s the thing about that. This group of progressives, whom I call PUBs (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) are overwhelmingly white, not poor, college-educated and who think of themselves as “political junkies,” and they are actually expecting the Democratic Party to want their votes very badly. they truly expect the national party to kowtow to them, despite the fact that doing so would actually make it more likely that the Democratic Party would lose. It’s quite the dilemma, isn’t it? In other words, they want to be just like right-wingers. That is the problem with the Republican Party, by the way. If our side ever gets their shit together and start playing politics the right way, Republicans are doomed, because their base is all they have, and their base is nuts. The Republican base doesn’t give a shit about anybody. They only care about their own political power. The PUBs and professional left have exactly the same problem, but in the opposite direction. We keep losing elections, and we keep losing political power, precisely because a relatively small but significant group of “progressives” is waiting for “someone else” to give them political power.
I really hate to break it to them, but no one else is ever going to give any one political power. Not only that, but far left progressives will never be a majority. Ever. Even if we do the work necessary to move this country to the left, the most we can hope for in a democracy is to move it left of center. And everything will be relative, anyway; it’s not going all the way left.
If you are one of those was sitting around waiting for the national Democratic Party to embrace your views on issues, you really should understand that you are part of the problem. From 1933 through 1980, this country made amazing strides with regard to the economy and equality. And we did so because progressives, including many who are just like the self-important far left progressives of today, worked hard with the Democratic Party, instead of against it.
You cannot work against the Democratic Party in and claim that you are part of its “base.” If you want to be part of the base (and believe me; we will welcome you with open arms), you can’t attack the Democratic Party on a regular basis, especially with 33 days to go before the next election. During the primaries, if you want to run a full-on progressive candidate against a conservative Democrat, you’ll have no greater supporter than me, although you should do it without attacking the Democratic opponent. But once the Democrats who vote in the primaries have chosen their nominee, you have to shut the hell up and support the Democrat over the Republican in every race, period. We can’t do anything without a Democratic majority, and every whine and cry you make about an “imperfect” Democrat, especially during the last 60 days or so before the election, makes it 10 times harder to get rid of the Republicans who are blocking any kind of progress that we could be making.
If you are doing that, not only are you not part of the “Democratic base,” you’re not even acting very progressive. Think about it.