Saturday, January 10, 2015

Letting the Left Lead the Fight

This is only happening because the political mess 40 years of conservadem, DINO, "Third Way" politics created is so huge, disgusting and unfixable that the establishment figures trying to clean it up might just kill off the left once and for all.

Now it's up to the left to show what it can do - and, once it succeeds, hang on to power instead of handing it back to those who created the mess.


"I can tell you, if Democrats try to adopt a Third Way, Democratic Leadership Council-type philosophy where we abandon average working Americans, we're not going to be successful [in 2016] or in general," Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told TPM. "This is a time where people talking about raising wages, fair trade bills that do not offshore our jobs, strengthening the right to organized labor unions. This is that moment to grab those issues in order to be successful. And if we abandon those issues and we sort of become Republican-lite, we're not going to be successful."
David Atkins at Political Animal:
More importantly, the establishment centrists have clearly failed the country. The public has never had less faith in social or government institutions than it does today. Every other month seems to produce some new moral or institutional crisis demonstrating the failure of American elites to police their own. Wages refuse to go up no matter what happens with the rest of the economy, and the middle class is shrinking and unstable. The only utterly indefensible position is that major changes aren’t necessary, and that due respect for the mores of the Washington elite should trump blunt talk and sharp moves away from the status quo.


So why, exactly, shouldn’t the progressive wing have its own response? One that promotes policies that are not only objectively wiser and proven right, but are also politically popular per public polling? The American people want comprehensive immigration reform. They want to reduce both wealth and income inequality. If the deficit must be reduced (and it’s not entirely clear that it must be), they want it reduced by taxing the obscenely wealthy. They want Wall Street curbed, and to break up banks that are too big to fail. They want to take action on climate change and move faster toward renewable energy. They want cheaper healthcare. They want more privacy protections, and fewer military interventions overseas.

And it just so happens that our best available evidence from social, environmental and economic science suggests that the American public is right about all these things.

So why shouldn’t there be a coalition in Washington that stands up for them? Why shouldn’t there be a group that threatens to primary leaders, play hardball with budget negotiations and upend longstanding traditions to achieve those legislative goals? What could possibly be wrong with that, when done in the service of the right policies? We already know from experience with the Tea Party that such an approach can be successful in defeating the centrists from a tactical standpoint.
The greatest error would be to join with the failed establishment types who treasure process over policy in protecting their social conventions. Change is needed. It’s just a question of what kind of change we’re going to get.

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