Former White House counselor to Clinton calls on progs to abandon the Democratic Party

Although the media loves to run stories on a “civil war” within the GOP, the real story of intra-party strife today is among the Democrats. That party has swung increasingly leftward, but to the (mostly white) progressives who make up the real activist base, it is not enough. The biggest complaint is that the party has sold out to Wall Street and big money interests, who, in truth, do provide a huge chunk of money, right up there with the labor unions that extort dues from their members and give it to the party.

Writing in Salon, 2-time Democrat nominee for governor of Connecticut and former White House counselor Bill Curry writes a lament that deserves scrutiny by Republicans, even though he regards the GOP as the devil incarnate.

Some say a more populist Democratic Party will soon emerge. It won’t happen as long as these leaders and this system are in place. (snip)

Democrats are in denial regarding the magnitude and meaning of their defeat. It is a rejection not just of current leaders but of the very business model of the modern Democratic Party: how it uses polls and focus groups to slice and dice us; how it peddles its sly, hollow message and, worst, how it sells its soul to pay for it all. Party elites hope party activists will seek to lift their moods via the cheap adrenaline high of another campaign. For once, activists may resist the urge.

The vital task for progressives isn’t reelecting Democrats but rebuilding a strong, independent progressive movement. Our history makes clear that without one, social progress in America is next to impossible. For 100 years progressive social change movements transformed relations between labor and capital, buyers and sellers, blacks and whites, men and women, our species and our planet. But in the 1970s progressives began to be coopted and progress ceased. (snip)

It was around then [the late 1970s] that Wall Street began colonizing the Democratic Party and the Democrats began colonizing the left. After Jimmy Carter squashed Ted Kennedy, challenges to incumbent Democrats ceased. Grassroots movements morphed into Washington lobbies and formed their first PACs. For the sake of the Democrats in whom they’d reposed all their hopes and dreams, progressives moved their debates indoors. (snip)

They must declare their independence from the Democratic Party, its ineffectual politics and its current, clueless leaders. In the fall liberal pundits chastised Democrats who “ran from Obama.” Democrats lost because they couldn’t run from themselves. What they really needed to do was assure voters they saw the flaws in Obama’s program and had a plan to fix it. They didn’t have a plan because progressives never gave them one.

Democrats in Congress seem bent on mass suicide. After their landslide loss they reelected all their leaders without challenge. After the Senate confirmed two utterly unqualified Obama donors as foreign ambassadors, they caved on a budget that opened more sluices for the rich to pour money into politics and hollowed out Dodd/Frank to let Wall Street cover its bad bets with depositors’ money. In 2013 Obama said he wouldn’t “pay ransom” to pass a budget. In 2014 he did just that. (snip)

I see progressives taking leave of Democrats not as abandonment but more like tough love. In the end it may be the only thing that can save Democrats or for that matter progressives, whose reputation has been tarnished by the party that betrayed them. In any event it’s better for both parties for all future business to be conducted on an arms’ length, cash-for-carry basis.

Never mind the failure of progressive politics to deliveron its promises, I say it’s time for progressives to nominate their own candidate for president on 2016, as well as Senate candidates, too.

Although the media loves to run stories on a “civil war” within the GOP, the real story of intra-party strife today is among the Democrats. That party has swung increasingly leftward, but to the (mostly white) progressives who make up the real activist base, it is not enough. The biggest complaint is that the party has sold out to Wall Street and big money interests, who, in truth, do provide a huge chunk of money, right up there with the labor unions that extort dues from their members and give it to the party.

Writing in Salon, 2-time Democrat nominee for governor of Connecticut and former White House counselor Bill Curry writes a lament that deserves scrutiny by Republicans, even though he regards the GOP as the devil incarnate.

Some say a more populist Democratic Party will soon emerge. It won’t happen as long as these leaders and this system are in place. (snip)

Democrats are in denial regarding the magnitude and meaning of their defeat. It is a rejection not just of current leaders but of the very business model of the modern Democratic Party: how it uses polls and focus groups to slice and dice us; how it peddles its sly, hollow message and, worst, how it sells its soul to pay for it all. Party elites hope party activists will seek to lift their moods via the cheap adrenaline high of another campaign. For once, activists may resist the urge.

The vital task for progressives isn’t reelecting Democrats but rebuilding a strong, independent progressive movement. Our history makes clear that without one, social progress in America is next to impossible. For 100 years progressive social change movements transformed relations between labor and capital, buyers and sellers, blacks and whites, men and women, our species and our planet. But in the 1970s progressives began to be coopted and progress ceased. (snip)

It was around then [the late 1970s] that Wall Street began colonizing the Democratic Party and the Democrats began colonizing the left. After Jimmy Carter squashed Ted Kennedy, challenges to incumbent Democrats ceased. Grassroots movements morphed into Washington lobbies and formed their first PACs. For the sake of the Democrats in whom they’d reposed all their hopes and dreams, progressives moved their debates indoors. (snip)

They must declare their independence from the Democratic Party, its ineffectual politics and its current, clueless leaders. In the fall liberal pundits chastised Democrats who “ran from Obama.” Democrats lost because they couldn’t run from themselves. What they really needed to do was assure voters they saw the flaws in Obama’s program and had a plan to fix it. They didn’t have a plan because progressives never gave them one.

Democrats in Congress seem bent on mass suicide. After their landslide loss they reelected all their leaders without challenge. After the Senate confirmed two utterly unqualified Obama donors as foreign ambassadors, they caved on a budget that opened more sluices for the rich to pour money into politics and hollowed out Dodd/Frank to let Wall Street cover its bad bets with depositors’ money. In 2013 Obama said he wouldn’t “pay ransom” to pass a budget. In 2014 he did just that. (snip)

I see progressives taking leave of Democrats not as abandonment but more like tough love. In the end it may be the only thing that can save Democrats or for that matter progressives, whose reputation has been tarnished by the party that betrayed them. In any event it’s better for both parties for all future business to be conducted on an arms’ length, cash-for-carry basis.

Never mind the failure of progressive politics to deliveron its promises, I say it’s time for progressives to nominate their own candidate for president on 2016, as well as Senate candidates, too.