Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This nails it:
"As Darcy Burner put it yesterday: "Perhaps if the Democratic base doesn't show up to elect Coakley, party leadership should consider *trying to appeal* to the base." There's a reason it's called "the base" -- it's because it's the foundation of the party -- and, as the Republicans never forget, there is a serious cost to ignoring or spurning them.

As I note in my NYT contribution today, the reasons for the Democrats' failings generally -- and the Scott Brown victory specifically -- are complex, and shouldn't be simplified in order to declare vindication for pre-existing beliefs (Obama loyalists: it was all about Coakley!; right-wing Democrats: it's all the Left's fault!; Republicans: it's a rejection of liberalism!). But whatever else is true, the Left, as usual, has very little power, both within the Party and in general. Blaming them for the Democrats' failings is about as rational as the 2006 attempt to blame them for the collapsing Iraq War. The Left is many things; "dominant within the Democratic Party and our political discourse" is not one of them."
There's one other thing to weigh, as well: the Left's timidity. Only today, when a friend suggested she was ready to create a third party, I responded that the Dems could be turned around:
"Third parties diffuse our energy and reduce the chances of a win. What the teabaggers are doing is working to take over local Republican machines. This is what progressives should be doing with the Democratic party. We could call ourselves the "Black Cat" Democrats, after the anarchist symbol "No War but Class War"."
This was met with a resigned defeatism, implying that any attempt to re-make the Dems would be a futile effort. This is what we're up against. But why shouldn't we fight windmills? Why should we circle the wagons and just keep on keeping company with only others who think like us? When did a third party EVER result in a viable candidate (and I say that as someone who spent the first 2 decades of my voting life voting for 3rd parties). If we tried to establish a 3rd party, wouldn't we run up against the very same forces that would be arrayed against us inside the party, except that we would have about zero chance of gaining allies wlling to abandon it? Staying in the party and seeking to gently persuade the incumbents in hopes of gaining their cooperation would only waste our time. Staying in the party and making our voices heard, getting confrontational, and demanding a cost for our support, would get their attention and allow potential allies to remain "loyal" in a comfortably familiar milieu.

And FUCK the local kingmakers. They aren't God on the throne, and the only reason they think they are, is that no one challenges the idea.

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