Thursday, June 23, 2016

We Fight the Republicans with the Democratic Party We Have, Not the One We Wish We Had.

I've watched as ostensibly progressive people, angered over Bernie Sanders' defeat, scream they're leaving the Democratic Party. Bad move.

Shades of the civil rights movement. Finally ready to fight?

I fully understand why a disillusioned newcomer to the political process, drawn into party politics by Bernie Sanders, would stand up at Sanders' defeat and cry, "This is bullshit!"

Problem is, it's not bullshit. It's the way things work. Also, and more importantly, leaving the Democratic Party in protest doesn't give you anything, it deprives you of your voice within the party.

Let's say you go, "Fuck it, I'm re-registering as an independent!" What have you gained? Nothing. Now you're in that Democratic-leaning independent demo that can't vote in primary elections. Wow. Progress.

True, you can say, "Fuck them, I'm voting Green!" Great. You vote Green and get President Trump. Well done!

Moral of the story: Do what you can, where you can. If becoming an independent and stewing in your own juices is the best you can do, fine. But it's not a strategy.

A strategy is getting mad and not taking it anymore, like Democrats in the House did yesterday. Jamelle Bouie in Slate makes clear that the Democratic Party is changing and it isn't Bernie Sanders changing the party:
But more important for us, as observers, is that all of this [the House sit-in] is over gun control, and it’s happening with almost unanimous support from congressional Democratic leaders. This wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago, and for good reason. The Democratic majority of 2007–08—and even 2009–10—was more liberal than previous majorities, but it still spanned wide divides of geography and ideology. Conservative and center-right “Blue Dog” Democrats were still an important element of the party’s support, and they had a voice in Congress. A public protest for gun control would have been near-suicidal for those members.
But then came the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections (and the subsequent redistricting), and suddenly, the Democratic Party was purged of its most conservative members. There’s no doubt Pelosi wants a majority, but while she’s in the minority, neither she nor her caucus has to cater to vulnerable Democrats in the rural South or West. The kinds of voters Democrats once tried to attract by shying away from gun politics are Republicans now. And Democrats don’t believe they need to reach out to them. The politics, they argue, have turned.
Yes, by all means, reject Rahm Emanuel-style politics -- which enables Blue-Dog Democratism -- and embrace Bernie-style progressivism. But realize this: When Bernie Sanders decided to go for it, he didn't try it as an independent, he joined the Democrats.

Why? Because outside the two main parties, you're instantly marginalized. What would Bernie have gotten with an independent run? A three-way race between him, Clinton, and Trump? You're damned right, he would. And what would he have accomplished? A President Trump. Bold move!

So, please, fight the Republicans with the party you have, not the party you wish you had. The Democrats are changing -- and this is important -- and Hillary Clinton is changing with it. More Bernies! More Warrens! More John Lewises!

Not more independents sitting around pissed. The Democratic Party is where progressives belong. Go there and make it better.

Final point: If you're a pissed-off Bernie follower who'd vote for Donald Trump because fuck Hillary, then you are not a real progressive, and, frankly, you can fuck off.

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