Shedding their true liberal roots is the only change Democrats have implemented
The 2004 election had a very low voter turnout, but turnout in 2012 was even lower. In 2012, 93 million eligible voters stayed away from the polls. It’s not only due to voter suppression and long lines at the polls although it had to have factored into the equation. The fact is, liberals in the US have become disenfranchised with the Democratic Party.
In 2008, Barack Obama ushered in a euphoria in politics that hadn’t been seen in generations. It went beyond him being the first black President, the liberal left was basking in what they thought was to be a new era of liberalism in the US. They were thrilled that they had finally found their voice in Barack Obama. He said all the right words and made all the right promises… Promises that were quickly broken.
Health care for all got so watered down that the public option never even made it to the House floor for a debate. The Affordable Healthcare Act aka Obamacare was utterly ruined when Obama bargained with the devil behind closed doors with Big Pharma at the onset of the bill working its way through Congress.
The list of broken promises is most glaring in regards to foreign policy, not only the continuation of the Bush Doctrine, but expanding it beyond what Bush did. It was Obama who authorized the first execution of a US Citizen not Bush. It was Obama who authorized an undeclared war on Libya and sent drones into six different countries, Bush’s total was four. Where is the outcry from the left regarding Obama’s war crimes and the demand for his impeachment? They were non-existent because the liberal left has a history of giving Democrats a pass on many issues.
Many are quick to blame Obama alone though he is not the sole culprit. The Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress and the Presidency for the first two years of his Presidency and not Nancy Pelosi nor Harry Reid provided any leadership for a progressive agenda. These “leaders” are considered to be liberal Democrats, yet they denied the debate over a public option and disregarded Obama’s campaign rhetoric about universal health care.
The Progressive Democrats of America
The Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has an interesting take on the Democratic Party. They rightfully believe the Democratic Party has strayed too far to the Right. Founded in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention, they adopted an inside/outside strategy for moving the Democratic Party left. It’s worthy of note that featured speakers at their founding convention included top names within the Kerry Campaign.
Even though PDA claims to be an anti-war organization they endorsed Kerry and pushed their activists to get out the vote for Kerry. Meanwhile, they demonized the Ralph Nader supporters and all others to the left of the Democrats. These same people are those who needlessly blame Nader supporters for the Gore loss in 2000.
A quote from the PDA website reads: “As a grassroots PAC operating inside the Democratic Party and outside in movements for peace and justice.” The “outside” the PDA refers to are the efforts of consistently reaching out to the Green Party. Their site goes on to claim victories in 06 and 08, but don’t specify what those victories are. Out of 14 endorsed candidates in the 2012 race only five of their endorsements won their election.
Their biggest victory for the left was the return of Alan Grayson to Congress. The remaining four victors were long time members of the House, therefore they were hardly “grassroots” politicians. Elizabeth Warren may have been initially a grassroots candidate but her campaign was far removed from the grassroots level with the PAC money flowing in from across the country including corporate donors.
Despite their claims of being a grassroots organization their founding is far from it. It was founded by long time insiders, with a litany of politicians through which they had been employed. Contacts like that go a long way inside the beltway. One of the founders, Tim Carpenter worked on Capitol Hill for three decades. Hardly an outsider. He was also the Deputy Campaign Manager for the 2004 Kucinich Campaign.
At that same 2004 Convention, Dennis Kucinich let much of the left down when he withdrew his name from contention so John Kerry could have a unanimous vote. The liberals, particularly the Kucinich delegates, were torn about what to do. Their signs and Kucinich paraphernalia were confiscated on the floor of the Democratic National Convention.
Even though Kucinich obtained enough delegates to require a vote, the Party changed the rules so a unanimous decision for Kerry would be achieved. It left his delegates feeling demoralized and marginalized as Kucinich endorsed Kerry. Kerry was not the choice of the left and the voter turnout proved that.
PDA went full force against the only true left ticket that year. David Cobb and Pat La Marsh of the Green Party were the only anti-war candidates at a time when the majority of the country was against the Iraq War.
This election also served to splinter and defuse the anti-war movement as many of the Democratic friendly groups like United for Peace and Justice ended up endorsing Kerry as well. This leads to party building rather than movement building. This was the Anybody but Bush argument. We know how that strategy worked out.
The inside/outside strategy requires a couple of things in order to be successful. First and foremost are the activists. The PDA is stacked with loyal activists who believe in the strategy for changing the Democratic Party, yet at the same time will argue about the Democrats being the lesser of two of evils. That would still make it an evil now wouldn’t it?
It also requires the “big tent” philosophy for organizing. This means swaying back those who may have left the Democratic Party. Every election there is a rationale given for voting for the Democrat nominee. When there is such little indistinguishable difference in political points then it’s always the threat of Supreme Court nominations.
The United States is the only Westernized Country which does not have a solid liberal block. The Democratic Party is not the party of change and it especially isn’t the party of US liberals. It serves the same class as the Republicans, the 1%. The Democrats have become the party of more of the same.
It’s time American progressives mobilized for a movement for real change. It’s time for a third party in the states and I don’t mean the Tea Party. We need a true progressive party for the middle class. This country does not need another party which serves the needs of its corporate overlords. It’s time to organize.