This midterm election could still go a couple of different ways, but it's already clear that people like Powell, Hagel, Crist, and Castle are more at home in the Democratic Party. Yes, that means that the party moves to the right, which progressives like myself will find immensely frustrating. But it also is our final bulwark against the tide of xenophobic, ultra-nationalist, know-nothing radicalism of the Tea Party movement.Howie P.S.: As you might imagine, this post drew many comments and they make interesting reading.
And this is how I've seen things since at least August 2009. We're dealing with a real danger now. We don't have two governing parties anymore. We have a party filled with people who want to dismantle the post-war structures of the government, overturn the rulings of the post-war Courts, and tear up sacrosanct legislation and amendments to the Constitution. And then we have the Democrats for everyone else. We make a mistake, perhaps a perilous and deadly mistake, if we let our frustration with the condition of our party get in the way of opposing this new incarnation of the Republican Party.
That doesn't mean that the progressive project needs to be put on hold. I see no problem with supporting more progressive candidates against less progressive candidates. There's no reason not to lobby your elected officials for more progressive policies. But we have to keep our eye on the enemy and not sow needless division among ourselves. We should be able to see how the massive divisions in the Republican Party are hurting their chances in the midterms. We often delude ourselves that we achieve progressive change by doing something similar to the Tea Partiers. We think we can win legislative battles if only we make our party purer. The truth is that we have won our legislative battles precisely because our party grew to majority-size through the simultaneous incorporation of the reasonable (Establishment) right and the newly-engaged left.
Only half of that equation makes progressive change easier. The other half makes it harder. As we wind down to the midterms, success hinges on keeping the center-right in our camp, which is actually made easier with every outburst of craziness from the Beck/Palin/Gingrich crowd. We also have to prevent apathy and disillusionment among those newly-engaged voters who came out in 2008 or are newly-eligible to vote in 2010.
As I've said for a while, I don't think the progressive blogosphere has been, in the main, engaged in the right battle. I hope that this changes over the next month and a half. Our country's future depends on the left getting this campaign right. MORE...
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Booman on the 2010 Midterm Election