Writing at The Nation, John Nichols, finds reasons to celebrate New York’s 2018 state primary results.
… The change in Albany will be dramatic as a new generation of insurgents and reformers arrives. (Governor Andrew) Cuomo is likely to return with a more progressive bent—having been pushed left by the (Cynthia) Nixon challenge. The Democratic nominee for attorney general, Tish James, has served for many years in New York City posts as a labor-aligned progressive. And the legislature will be populated by a state senators like Alessandra Biaggi, who claimed her victory as a signal that New Yorkers would no longer “tolerate Democrats who would be empowering Republicans.”
If the local Democratic Party is to be purged in like fashion, candidates who aren’t afraid to describe unclothed passers-by need to step forward and take “down-ballot” into places like the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th council districts.
First, the bigger picture.
Yes, let’s wipe out Trump. But take neoliberal Democrats with him, too, by David Sirota (The Guardian)
After a scorching summer of discontent, Donald Trump’s endless tweets and scandals have given Democrats their best chance to retake Congress since George W Bush’s second term. And yet, insurgent progressives are not limiting themselves to dethroning Republicans: they are taking aim at corporate-friendly Democrats within their own party, too.
Amid an upsurge of populist energy that has alarmed the Democratic establishment, a new wave of left-leaning insurgents have been using Democratic primaries to wage a fierce war on the party’s corporate wing. And, as in past presidential primary battles, many Democratic consultants, politicians and pundits have insisted that the party must prioritize unity and resist grassroots pressure to support a more forceful progressive agenda.
Not surprisingly, much of that analysis comes from those with career stakes in the status quo. Their crude attempts to stamp out any dissent or intraparty discord negates a stark truth: liberal America’s pattern of electing corporate Democrats – rather than progressives – has been a big part of the problem that led to Trump and that continues to make America’s economic and political system a neo-feudal dystopia.
Dislodging those corporate Democrats, then, is not some counterproductive distraction – it is a critical front in the effort to actually make America great again.
Sirota surveys a long train of abuses and usurpations.
Recounting this sordid record is not to dispute Democrats’ occasional successes. Some blue locales continue to periodically pass progressive initiatives, most recently on climate change, net neutrality and minimum wages. These are undoubtedly important, but they have for the most part been incremental at a time when the economic and ecological crises we face demand far more radical action.
The current iteration of the Democratic party has proven time and again that it is not merely uninterested in that kind of radicalism, but actively opposed to it. Party powerbrokers and multimillion-dollar MSNBC pundits would prefer an election focused exclusively on the palace dramas surrounding Trump’s boorish outbursts and outrageous personal behavior. They don’t want an election focused on the bipartisan neoliberalism that has wrought the desperation and mayhem unfolding outside the palace walls.
Out here, though, economic reality has proven the scripted red-versus-blue theater to be a bread-and-circuses distraction from the fact that both parties are culpable for this moment of crisis. America is now in backlash mode, producing candidates in Democratic states who are boldly challenging the party’s decrepit establishment.
After briefly reviewing a list of these candidates, Sirota brings it home.
These progressive challengers and others like them have each run unique campaigns, but all have embodied the core belief that anti-Trump rhetoric alone is not an adequate response to the emergencies at hand. Democrats’ record in liberal states and liberal cities over the last decade makes a strong case that they are correct – and so now the revolution is on.
That may bewilder the Democrats’ permanent political class that has gotten used to steamrolling the public, losing elections and still remaining in charge of the party – but, really, the only confusing thing about this uprising is that it took this long to finally ignite.
As noted previously, local prospects for Democratic Party reform are slim, although much will depend on the next 52 days.
If the “blue wave” doesn’t materialize in Floyd County, it’s likely the party’s current municipal power brokers will go to any length to remain ensconced. They’re entrenched and waiting better times outside the city limits, but still capable of wetting beaks in the city.
Do we even have enough progressive voters to support candidates who might seek office? I’ll leave that one for another time, along with a analysis of local issues which define “progressive.”
Hint: the street grid is a perfectly applicable social justice issue.