Friday, November 07, 2014

Should progressives form their own political party?

Is it time for progressives to start their own political party? As author Frank Rich pointed out in yesterday’s Salon, Democrats will likely do what they always do after a political drubbing and that is to run toward the ideological center. The flawed thinking goes like this: Republicans won big. That must mean that voters want more conservative candidates. No. That isn’t what it means. Republicans won because a lot of old white guys voted and whole lot of younger, more liberal adults didn’t. Why? There are lots of reasons, but a major one is that today’s Democrats don’t sound all that different than Republicans. What’s the distinction, young voters ask?

There are distinctions, but instead of using those points of difference to their advantage in campaigns, Democrats run screaming from them and hide behind squishy rhetoric and cautious pronouncements. Please, whatever you do, don’t call me a “liberal.” Obama? Who’s Obama? Why don’t Democrats take their lesson from Minnesota? Al Franken is an unapologetic liberal, and he’s won two elections. Voters had a distinct choice in the mid-term between a true conservative and a true liberal, and they chose Franken. Isn’t there something that can be learned here?

I like the idea of a new progressive political party. It doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s agenda, and third parties do have a history of failure, but there are a lot of progressives who feel that the Democratic Party has already written them off, so why not have our own soapbox? We could start by supporting and funding Bernie Sanders’ or Elizabeth Warren’s run for the White House in 2016.

A guy can dream, can’t he?

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