Photo: Daniel Lobo | Public domain

The Democratic Establishment Refuses To Learn

By nivekbr | Policy, Not Politicians | 10 Nov 2020

It’s not the left’s fault that people don’t want to vote for the status quo.


So-called “moderate Democrats” have, unsurprisingly, decided to continue to blame progressives and “socialism” for their inability to appeal to voters by offering them nothing. Rep. Jim Clyburn apparently said that if they “are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we’re not going to win,” which is kind of funny, considering that none of the people who reportedly shared his view in the call that quote came from actually ran on any of those things. It is also worth noting that Cori Bush, who did run on those things, won her race, as did the members of “The Squad,” who are currently being attacked from the right by Republicans and establishment Democrats alike.

Not only did progressive candidates do well in many places, so did progressive policies that were on ballots across the country. Several states legalized cannabis, Florida passed a $15 minimum wage, Colorado passed 12-week paid family medical leave, Arizona approved a tax on the wealthy to fund education, and Oregon voted to decriminalize “small amounts” of drugs up to and including heroin. Since Clyburn deemed fit to mention the healthcare issue twice, it should perhaps also be mentioned in a discussion about policies that universal healthcare actually polled very well with voters even before the pandemic, and continues to receive public support, even in Fox News polls.

It also bears consideration that many of those trying to blame Democratic underperformance on the party “moving left” are part of the government that oversaw one of the worst transfers of wealth from the bottom to the top in U.S. history, and then left the working class hanging while they played games for months, arguing over the price tag of another stimulus package, which they still haven’t passed. Meanwhile, millions face eviction and hunger, and can’t afford healthcare, and the party wants to blame the ones offering to maybe do something to help them.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also made a good point about where some of the actual blame may lie in a thread on Twitter, in which she describes the party’s “awful execution on digital.” From one post in the thread:

“Underinvestment across the board. Some campaigns spent $0 on digital the week before the election. Others who spent did so in very poor ways.

If I spent only $12k on TV the week before an election & then blamed others after, you’d ask questions. That’s how it looks seeing this.”

Richard Cooke pointed out another problem, namely, the party’s lack of organization:

“What I found was a stunning level of disorganisation. No-one was in charge. No-one knew who was in charge. Even entry levels of enquiry like ‘who is your press contact’ were unanswerable.

More senior staff (when people knew who they were) were AWOL, not on the trail but at home or on leave. I kept being told a particular individual ‘knew everything’; when I finally found him (it took several days), he was a backpacker volunteer who had been living in Spain.”

He was talking about a specific area in Florida, but there were other examples given in the thread as well, which are easy enough to back up should you doubt their veracity.

Could it be that the problem doesn’t lie with progressives or the left, but with the party establishment’s own failures?

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Mountain hermit turned rabble rouser. Maker of strange noises. Deeply disturbed, but not surprised. He/him.

Policy, Not Politicians
Policy, Not Politicians

Looking past the cults of personality that have come to dominate US politics.

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