Over the years I have worked for populists and leftist Democrats, only to see their influence evaporate after endorsing successful centrist and establishment Democrats.
Like many other leftists, I was thrilled to have been a part of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 primary campaign. Sanders’ political revolution now threatens to engulf the Democratic rank and file and Sanders or one of his followers has an excellent chance of becoming the 2020 nominee.
No progressive has been nominated by the Democrats since 1972. And while there have been a number of attempts to steer the party to the left since McGovern’s nomination, all have failed.
I was involved in most of those efforts, most notably on behalf of Gary Hart (1984), Jesse Jackson (1988), Bill Bradley (2000), and Dennis Kucinich (2004, 2008).
Unlike all previous efforts, the Sanders campaign ignited a political revolution that is still playing itself out. Sanders put a spotlight on issues such as universal healthcare, wealth disparity, and trade, and put the Democratic leadership under a microscope for their support of Wall Street, Big Banks, Big Pharma, Big Ag, the military industrial complex, and Big Oil.
While most political strategists are hired guns who will work for any candidate who can afford their services, some of us are motivated by principle over money.
I now provide services to progressives and leftist populists of any party and in support of progressive issues advanced in the left wing of the Democratic party.
I aim to be an integral part of Bernie’s political revolution, and to provide effective strategic, tactical, and comprehensive managerial services to candidates challenging the existing political paradigm.
Sanders inspired many disenchanted voters to re-enter politics, and this year’s primary contests across the country were spiritedly fought by both novice and experienced progressive candidates.
Nationwide, some 200 Sanders-endorsed progressives were nominated, more progressive nominees than ever in American history.
Even so, progressives are likely to send no more than four new progressives Democrats to Congress in January. And that is because almost every progressive primary victory occurred in a safe Republican district which is unlikely to change hands.
At present, both the Republican and Democratic parties are controlled by industries and billionaires. Both parties take money from those who wish to influence government and dictate policy. The result is as pernicious as it is obvious. Legislators are more beholden to their donors than they are to their constituents.
Bernie Sanders and his progressives are democratic socialists and have little in common with the corporate Democrats who now control the party.
Progressives support public financing of political campaigns, bans on private money in politics, bans on campaign contributions to candidates, and bans on gifts to elected officials.
Progressives support universal healthcare as a human right.
Progressives support a living minimum wage and tax policies to incentivize full employment. Many also advocate for a maximum wage and a cap on personal wealth.
Progressives support tuition free college, relief of student loan debt, allocation of resources for maintenance and improvement of infrastructure, nationwide high speed rail and fiber optic networks, and the aggressive pursuit of renewable energy.
Progressives believe protection of the environment should be our greatest priority, and that neither the public treasury nor the nation’s natural resources are to be plundered by private interests. That climate change is an immediate threat to our survival and requires extraordinary measures to address and control.
Progressives oppose endless war, military adventurism and belligerence, and a foreign policy of American Empire.
All of which positions are in diametrical oppositon to establishment Democrats as well as to establishment Republicans.
For progressives to take over the Democratic party they must wrest control of the party machinery from establishment incumbents and party officials. Primary victories certainly help by elevating progressives to positions of influence in local party organizations, but the defeat of incumbent Democrats at all levels of government will be required to change the party’s philosophy, policies, and platform.
The drawing of congressional district boundaries every ten years allows state legislatures to create safe districts for the party in power in each state. This abuse of power is known as gerrymandering, and results in almost all Congressional seats being overwhelmingly controlled by a lopsided majority of Democrats or Republicans.
Only a small percentage of Congressional seats are actually in play in the general elections. In most districts winners are determined in the primaries and merely rubber stamped by voters in November.
– Roland Vincent