Some People “Would Rather Have 1st Class Seats on the Titanic Than Change the Course of the Ship”

By , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Cfdtrade. Follow him on Twitter , and . GP article archive . Originally published at

One reason the Dem establishment doesn't change after a loss like : Consultants who are part of that establishment just made millions.

— David Sirota (@davidsirota)

“Change cannot occur if the displaced ruling class is left intact after a revolution against them. We have proof of this throughout South America. Every revolution by the indigenous people has left unmolested the Spanish ruling class, and every revolution has been overthrown[.]”
—Paul Craig Roberts, quoted

Read the quote in the graphic above again. Insider Party consultants made millions off of Jon Ossoff’s loss. Would those insiders take an Ossoff win if it meant no money for them? These people, Democratic Party elites, are not your friends and they’re not the nation’s friends. They are their own friends, period.

This is the other problem the nation faces. This is why the nation can’t have nice things, like :

Hillary Clinton: Single-payer health care will ‘never, ever’ happen

Clinton stressed how difficult it is to stand up to the existing health insurance industry … “I think it’s important to point out that there are a lot of reasons we have the health care system we have today,” she said. “I know how much money influences the political decision-making…”

an economy :

Amazon is the shining representative of a new golden age of monopoly that also includes Google and Walmart…. In its pursuit of bigness, Amazon has left a trail of destruction—competitors undercut, suppliers squeezed—some of it necessary, and some of it highly worrisome. And in its confrontation with the publisher Hachette, it has entered a phase of heightened aggression unseen even when it tried to crush Zappos by offering a $5 rebate on all its shoes or when it gave employees phony business cards to avoid paying sales taxes in various states.)

and bankers who got to jail when they steal money (““).

This is a large part of why the worst political party in 100 years — the Republican Party, if you’re wondering — holds so much power. The other resistance is against Democratic Party policies like these. Democrats will have a very hard time winning until they change.

Which means, I think, that we’ll have to make them change. It should be clear by now that the next revolution must be inside the Democratic Party, unless one wishes to scale the mountain of deliberate, structural impediments to forming a viable, 50-state third party.

No Time Left At All

Moreover, we don’t have time for a 30-year project of reform. We have two years, maybe four, at most — après ça, le déluge. Here’s why:

a. Climate change won’t wait 30 years, while we elect sufficient climate-friendly Democrats and build sufficient Democratic political infrastructure to deal with it.​ Mother Nature is on the very verge of shrugging her shoulders at last and sloughing us to the floor of the historical past. Once that moment occurs, once we cross that line, we’re doomed to end as a memory, though none will be left to remember us.

b. Nor will all the wait 30 years, those who live in states where pissed-off dying voters are most concentrated and who chose the worst presidential candidate in modern history, Donald F-ing Trump (yes, that’s his middle name), over the “You can’t have nice things” Democratic candidate our Establishment elites cleverly offered them.

Those people won’t wait at all. They’ve totally had it. Students drowning in debt have totally had it. The jobless and homeless — and soon-to-be jobless and homeless — they’ve had it as well. Every independent (“I hate both parties”) voter in the country, or most, have had it, and every study says so.

How many “I hate both parties” voters are there — or would-be voters if someone would just give them something to vote for? This many:

What does “they have had it” look like in practice? It looks like anything that looks like rebellion against a hopeless life, including putting a fool like Trump in office. It also . (Nicole Sandler and I discussed this very topic, the collapsing social contract, recently. for the interview. Start at 42:00 for that part of the discussion. Or start at 31:15 for the whole interview, where we discuss what’s going on with Trump-Russia-Comeygate as well.)

“Tick-tick-tick,” says the world-historical clock on the wall. By my count, with the Georgia election Democrats have just blown their fifth chance in a row to make a new first impression — all so that its entrenched politicians, consultants, service-providing infrastructure and media surrogates can make a larger pile of money, grease the skids on their own and their children’s careers, and swan about DC like the minor-league queens and kings they think they are.

“We may be on the Titanic,” I hear them all say, “but the service in First Class is terrific! Check out the lobster in the Oh It’s You, Senator lounge.”

Protecting Their First Class Seats on the Titanic

The quote in the title of this piece is from , said in a recent interview with David Sirota. Here’s just a part (emphasis and paragraphing mine):

Sirota: The Democratic Party leadership has lost the White House, Congress, 1,000 state legislative seats and many governorships. Why is the party still run by the same group of people who delivered that electoral record?

Sanders: Because there are people who, as I often say, would rather have first class seats going down with the Titanic, rather than change the course of the ship. There are people who have spent their entire lives in the Democratic Party, there are people who’ve invested a whole lot of money into the Democratic Party, they think the Democratic Party belongs to them. You know, they own a home, they may own a boat, they may own the Democratic Party.

I mean, that’s just the way people are, and I think there is reluctance on some, not all, by the way — I mean, I ran around this country and I met with the Democratic Party leaders in almost every state in the country. Some of them made it very clear they did not want to open the door to working people, they did not want to open to door to young people. They wanted to maintain the status quo.

On the other hand, I will tell you, there are party leaders around the country that said, “You know what, Bernie? There’s a lot of young people out there who want to get involved. We think that’s a great idea, and we want them involved.”

Those who said “You know what, Bernie? There’s a lot of young people out there who want to get involved. We think that’s a great idea” — they don’t run the Party when it comes to its top layers of leadership. Not by a very long shot.

For the Message to Change, the Leadership Must Change

So what’s a progressive to do? It should be obvious. The Democratic Party has to change its policy offering, from “You can’t have what all of you want” to “If the people want a better life, we will give it to them.”

Yet this is not so easily done. For the message to change, the leadership must also change.

Which raises the critical question: How do we depose Chuc​k Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and the rest of their kind and make people like Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley the Party leaders instead?

After all, if someone like Bernie Sanders isn’t Senate Majority Leader, if a Sanders-like politician (Ted Lieu perhaps) isn’t Speaker of the House, what’s the point of electing more back-bench progressives, more “supporting cast” players? ​

If there’s no way to do that — and soon, given the ticking clock — we’re Sisphus pushing the same heavy bolder up the same high hill, year after year, decade after decade, till we die or the game is finally truly over. 2018 is around the bend. 2020 is coming. Après ça, le déluge. Not much time to solve this one.

Completely filling the Second Class cabins on the Titanic with our people (that is, populating Congress with progressives who are nevertheless kept from leadership and control) won’t change what goes on in the Captain’s cabin and on the bridge.

Put more simply, we need to control the Party, or when the clock truly runs out, all this effort will truly have been pointless. I’m not fatalistic. I assume there’s a way. So here’s my first shot at an answer.

Elected Progressives Must Openly Rebel Against Their “Leaders”

In order for the revolution inside the Democratic Party to work, our elected progressive congressional representatives senators, must work to depose Pelosi and Schumer (etc.) and take power. More — they must do it visibly, effectively and now, in order to convince the 42% of voters that someone inside the Party is trying to knock these people out of the Captain’s chair.

We voters and activists have our own challenges. This is the challenge for the electeds we’ve already put in place. If our elected progressives don’t do this — or won’t do this — “tick-tick-tick” says the world-historical clock on the wall. And we can all go down together, steerage and First Class alike.

It’s time to step up, elected progressives. It’s also time to be seen to step up.  Read the Paul Craig Roberts quote at the top again. If the Party’s failed leaders aren’t deposed, the revolution will have failed.

It’s a moment for real courage, and moments of courage bring moments of great fear. I understand that this kind of open rebellion, open public confrontation, a palace coup in front of the TV cameras, is frightening.

It’s also necessary.

My ask: If you agree, write to your favorite elected progressive and say so. No more gravy train for Democratic elites. Meat and potatoes for voters instead. Complete the Sanders revolution by changing House and Senate leadership — now.

I know this puts some very good people on the spot. But maybe that’s a feature, yes?

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155 comments

  1. Isotope_C14

    Though I believe climate change is well past the point that it can be mitigated, the attempt to depose the corporate democrats is a noble enough endeavor.

    Stephen Jaffe is running against Nancy Pelosi, a very thoughtful and progressive candidate.

    David Hildebrand is running against Feinstein. Also very progressive and well worth some research.

    I’m sure these guys could use any help anyone is willing to offer. I believe they are both against PAC money, but they can accept donations through actblue.

    1. a different chris

      Yeah but so we have two white men running against women, and on top of that if my google is correct Jaffe is > 70yrs old?

      No disrespect to the quality of the candidates, but…. seems like more wheel spinning. Like I keep saying, I don’t trust Tulsi as far as I can throw my gas guzzler, but she has the kind of profile we need.

      1. Isotope_C14

        And of course a white man isn’t qualified if he’s progressive.

        Thatcher and May are/were supposedly women, and I’d sooner vote for HIV than either of them.

        Jaffe strictly believes in absolute separation of church and state, you won’t hear him blathering on about praying for Trump, or Trump’s family.

        Perhaps we could experience a little less white-man-hate from the programmed by “Law and Order – SVU” crowd?

      2. HotFlash

        Yeah but so we have two white men running against women, and on top of that if my google is correct Jaffe is 70yrs old?

        Well, um, maybe one of them could change sex? Or colour? Or do that blood-drinking youth-preserving thingy? Dayum, it’s so hard to get perfect candidates.

      3. Vatch

        [Tulsi Gabbard] has the kind of profile we need.

        Yes, she does. But she’s from Hawai’i, and a 50 state strategy is needed. Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein are both Californians, and they’re a couple of phonies. Despite the difficulties, any progressive Democrats who oppose them in the primaries deserve to be seriously considered for support. Here are some more web sites for these candidates:

        David Hildebrand

        Stephen Jaffe

        Tim Canova, who opposed Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the 2016 Democratic primary, has endorsed Stephen Jaffe:

        Jaffe is 6 years younger than the 77 year old Pelosi:

      4. different clue

        I’d rather support / vote for an old white man who stands for something good, than to vote for a Goldman-Sachs feminist woman who stands for something bad.

        The Era of Identy Politics won’t die unless we kill it. And we kill it by destroying or aborting the career of every Identy Pimp Candidate who runs for anything.

    2. different clue

      For people who don’t trust ActBlue, do these two challengers accept donations directly? At an address or post office box of their VERY OWN?

  2. Kim Kaufman

    I love the spike in 2007 from Dems to Independents. That would be about the time Pelosi said “impeachment is off the table.” They came back to vote for Obama and have been cratering ever since. And Pelosi is still there. But the problem is: the leadership has not been developing any new leaders. Pelosi is a disaster but whoever might replace could easily be worse.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I noticed that too. Also, did you see the decline in Democratic Party affiliation throughout Obama’s presidency? And the downward trend for the Republicans that started under Bush?

      1. Susan the other

        In her own defense, Pelosi justified herself (TV clip last night on FOX i think) by saying that she is a “master legislator.” She was standing up to a belligerent audience who demanded to know what she was good for. I wish someone in that crowd had shouted “So it’s your fault!” She just doesn’t seem to get it.

        1. Patricia

          Whether she gets it or not may be of interest to sociologists/psychologists and the religious, but we are citizens viewing her work, yes?

          She, government official, does/did nasty things that cause great harm to the public/country. That is all we need to know. IMO we mustn’t spend any energy to convince, understand reasons, find ways to ‘work with’ or even ‘talk at’. Those urges/actions are good for sometimes and some people, but they’re a drain in this situation. Pelosi, and the crowd around her, need to go because their work has been incontrovertibly spit-in-our-faces wretched. That’s it.

          1. different clue

            Her own San Francisco constituents are probably in the Top Ten Percent. They are probably the same kind of Free Trade Treasonists that she is. They make a lot of money off of Pelosi policies. So they will keep voting for her regardless. Perhaps we should recognize that certain whole Congressional Districts are majority-populated by Social Class Enemies of the American Majority.

            But massive small donor support to Jaffe the primary challenger would help run an experiment worth running. It would let us all see whether the people of Pelosi’s district are American . . . or Davos Man.

        2. Jamie

          The thing is, these times do not call for a “Master Legislator,” but for honest, caring, courageous leadership.

          She can’t legislate when D’s are in the minority all the time.

          1. Allegorio

            Pelosi’s definition of master legislation is to create legislation that pretends to serve the common man, but is so structured as to really only benefit her class, the .01%ers, as in the Affordable Care Act. People pay high premiums, but the large deductibles prevent people from getting any benefit from the insurance, unless they are on death’s door. Then they pull out all the stops. Death is the big money!

            I am sure her master legislation for climate destruction will be some cap & trade scheme where Wall Street can pilfer billions and carbon use will become non-affordable to the common man but Pelosi’s people will be able to swan around in their limousines, private jets and luxury villas. Ah, la Dolce Vita!

    2. jefemt

      I shake my head in wonder at how ‘middle America” seems to have been suckered by Trump, and continues to vote against its self-interest. Yet I see a comment with a ‘conditional but(t) about Pelosi, and I think, “Well, that is just as inane?”

      We need to dump BOTH sides of the same neocon , self-interested corrupt to the core coin, BOTH parties, and completely re-tool.

      The collective ‘we’ must come up with a simple platform, over 300 new candidates for congress, as many candidates as there are for the upcoming Senate seats, in the next 18 months. Tall order, but, it really is up to ‘us’. We ‘the people’.

      The platform that would rally the votes, or a Constitutional convention and re-work that would satiate the broad center of America is daunting… if even possible.

      I have trotted out some ideas, and they just don’t resonate with closest like-minded friends, so how am I going to gain traction with folks that are of a deeper opposite philosophical perspective?

      – Single payor, one system, NOT insurance, but care: same one for congress, the president, the military, and lowly tax mules like me…
      – No-deduction, simplified flat-rate income tax with four tiers, 5% 12% 20% top rate 40%— you tell me where we draw the gross income lines between the % rates
      -Tax return has taxpayer- directed check boxes in front of a simplified matrix of ‘government’ , where individuals choose where they want their money to go. Initial 10 year period of a declining sliding scale— 90% goes general fund first year, 80% 2nd year, and so on so that by year 10 each taxpayor only gives 10% to the general fund, 90% is taxpayor-directed (direct democracy?) Allows lead time for the government to see the direction the nation, and not the elected officials, want to see their money go (infrastructure? Bombs and depleted uranium bullets destined for distant shores and brown people? National Parks and monuments? Starving disabled widows and children? Public universities and Community College/ Trade Schools?
      -Currency tied to BTU/ energy– value of BTUs based on full-life cycle costs- including carbon or waste management externalities (Coal, oil/gas, nukes, hydro) analyzed energy units– incentivize individuals to print their own money with rooftop solar, wind, conservation, etc… ( a new Gold standard :This is where all the displaced accountants and insurance/ medical staff can go after the tax code is simplified… )
      -Reintroduce The Draft, with mandatory service to include civilian work corps, get parents involved in directing our elected ‘reps’ to ponder the slelf licking ice cream cone of perpetual war…

      I’m sure I am missing many things… but boy, between Trump. Pelosi, McConnell, Schumer, Ryan, Gianforte, we are according to my values and preferences headed in a 180 degree wrong direction!

      1. B1whois

        Honestly, at this point, every single vote cast in the presidential election could be argued as being “against one’s best interests”. This hackneyed phrase needs to subsume under real qualitative analysis.

        1. jrs

          it’s going to be against one’s self interest in all likelihood as the system one lives in is against most of our self-interest (including our corrupt money drenched political system). Some votes can at best be damage control, which I suppose is in one’s self interest to a degree, but only to a degree.

        2. Crazy Horse

          This entire discussion is based upon the false premise that there are two political parties in the United States. Objectively there is only one party— the War Party, Empire Party, Kleptocracy Party— call it whatever you wish. Within it are two factions with slightly different players and ownership, but both are totally unrepresentative of the real interests of 99.99% of the citizens.
          From the standpoint of the commoners, the two parties are similar to football teams where fan support is based upon social conformity and quasi-religious delusion. Loyalty is fostered by staging huge circuses where the two contestants compete to see which one can fabricate the most appealing set of lies which they never intend to try to implement.

          “Change cannot occur if the displaced ruling class is left intact after a revolution against them” The idea that one of these “political parties” can be captured and transformed into something other than its very essence is ludicrous. What exactly does the displaced ruling class (not being) left intact mean? Nancy Pelosi finally succumbing to old age? Pelosi, Obama, or Trump are hardly the ruling class— merely its’ hired servants who can be replaced. Having the ruling class overthrown is more likely to mean the Buffets, Bezos’, and Dimons of the world thrown into a maximum security cell In Guantanamo or burned at the stake than a mere shuffling of political actors.

          And Gaius, what basis do you have for calling Trump the worst presidential candidate in modern history? In order to achieve that honor he will have to outperform Obama, he of the silver tongue who ruled for 8 years as a “progressive” while overseeing the destruction of the middle class, enabling the financialiization of the economy and the greatest transfer of wealth in history, and becoming the world’s most prolific assassin using a fleet of remote controlled drones. Or be more evil than George Bush, who sat in the back row of an elementary classroom while Dick Cheney stage managed the false flag attack upon New York and the Pentagon and used that to turn the country into a Homeland Insecurity police state. Granted, Trump is trying hard to be even more destructive than his predecessors, but he hasn’t yet succeeded.

          1. Johnny Pistola

            You effectively echo my thoughts, Mr Horse. The children of the American Revolution are afraid to revolt… perhaps they fear they will be demoted to economy class on the Titanic if they rebel?

      2. redleg

        Missing 2 big ones:
        1. MONEY IS NOT SPEECH, and shall be subject to regulation by legislation and/or administrative rules;
        2. Corporations ARE NOT PEOPLE and have absolutely ZERO inherent rights. Any rights assigned to corporations by legislation shall be subordinate to those of living beings.

        Yes, I’m shouting.

        1. jrs

          The U.S. Constitution IS ONE F’D UP DOCUMENT, that makes things so hard to change.

          But really since it seems this requires an amendment to change these things, and that is nearly impossible to achieve (well we haven’t had a new amendment in 45 years unless you count congressional pay – yea approaching near half a century without one), it does just underscore what a screwed up political construct we live under.

      3. different clue

        Well . . . who exactly was Middle America supposed to vote for in favor of Middle America’s interest?

        Hillary Clinton? That Free-Trade-Treason-Agreement-supporting war pig for Global Jihad and war with Russia? How would THAT be in Middle America’s interest?

        Do you see the problem here?

  3. Kim Kaufman

    And here’s something to listen to on the good ship Titanic:

    Gavin Bryars – The Sinking Of The Titanic (1975, Obscure)

    I’ve always liked Gavin Bryars but just read the above is on Tom Waits’ top ten list of music favorites. So here’s something he did with Bryars, also part of the sinking of the Titanic:

    Gavin Bryars Feat. Tom Waits – Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet (Long version)

  4. Ignacio

    This article shows that the Democratic party, all political parties with possibilities, are run like corporations. Period.

      1. allan

        Or a lobbying firm. A flexian lobbying firm:

        [Intercept]

        [ Long laundry list horror show of Obama/Clinton bundlers lobbying to advance Trump agenda. At the end:]

        … The Intercept spoke to several progressive activists who expressed outrage that leading Democratic Party officials are now advancing the Trump agenda, but were reluctant to comment on the record, for fear of angering powerful Democrats. But a few activists, like Democracy Sping’s Newkirk, decided to speak on the record.

        Becky Bond, an activist and former Bernie Sanders adviser who also spoke out, said, “When Democratic insiders team up with Comcast and the private prison industry, they make it pretty difficult to see how the party can recruit relationships with the voters it needs to bring back into the fold.”

        “Destroying the internet and maximizing the profitability of mass incarceration,” she added, “is not what I would call a winning strategy for Democrats who want to take back power in 2018.”

        If the DNC wanted input from granola crunchers, they would ask for it.
        Or, rather, have Blue State Digital ask for it and bill the DNC six figures.

  5. I Have Strange Dreams

    The doctor has correctly diagnosed the disease, but there is no cure; the prognosis is terminal. The D party are American to the core: grifting, hustling, murdering, stealing, tech-douchebaggery, vagina-hatted buffoonery, egotistical, self-obsessed anti-social psychopathic angry drunks of selfish parents. I.e, all-American.

    1. HotFlash

      There is a lot of truth in what you say. But perhaps you could make some new friends?

  6. relstprof

    “By my count, with the Georgia election Democrats have just blown their fifth chance in a row to make a new first impression”

    Yep! And a lot of money flying away in a summer solstice breeze….

    Direct and simple. Publius has it right, like Hillel:

    “There was an incident involving a Gentile who came before Shammai and said to him: ‘Convert me to Judaism on condition that you will teach me the entire Torah while I stand on one foot.’ Shammai pushed the man away with the building rod he was holding. Undeterred, the man then came before Hillel with the same request. Hillel said to him, ‘That which is hateful unto you, do not do unto your neighbor. This is the whole Torah, all the rest is commentary.'” (Shabbat 31a)

    Imagine this scenario with a fast-food worker, a coal miner, an adjunct professor, a docks trucker. (Evidently Ossoff didn’t imagine this, as reports surface that he didn’t campaign for these kind of voters.)

    Do not exploit. Single-payer. Debt relief. Free tuition. It’s not going to be easy, but there’s no need for fear.

      1. different clue

        I think “fear” is the better word because it means the “fear of being beaten down”.

    1. Carla

      “Do not exploit. Single-payer. Debt relief. Free tuition. It’s not going to be easy, but there’s no need for fearmongering.”

      As long as we keep bombing the shit out of Syria, Yemen, and anywhere else we please?

      Oh, I forgot. “Do not exploit” only applies to Amuricans…

  7. cripes

    As much as I would like to see a viable third party that owes nothing to the POS legacy Dems, it does seem like the more likely scenario is a takeover of the entire party apparatus and leadership.

    The hour is getting late. (hat tip J Hendrix)

    1. Hayek's Heelbiter

      Actually, the line is by Nobel Laureate, Bob Dylan, from “All Along the Watchtower.” which was, importantly, preceded by the line, “There’s no reason to talk softly now.”

    2. Eureka Springs

      I like PCR’s quote.

      “Change cannot occur if the displaced ruling class is left intact after a revolution against them….

      I don’t even detect this as a sincere goal among progressives/demos… which is yet another reason I’m not d partying.

      If anyone takes over the party without changing nearly every process then they are just seeking the same results by new faces.

      Binding platform/policy established and maintained by as many people/votes as possible. And this should be done by nearly anyone but candidates/office holders. Officeholders should represent with instructions much like a jurist.

      True party membership.

      No more caucus. Individual private votes on paper ballots for all party processes. All off which must be counted immediately. Votes should be scheduled far in advance, with no last minute changes to questions/issues as we witnessed when given glimpses of inner party shenanigans.

      Transparent, real time monitoring of all incoming and outgoing funds. Down to the office pencils and after hours beers if on party or contracted dimes.

      Otherwise it’s a private anti-democratic exclusionary party and you ain’t in it.

      1. HotFlash

        I don’t even detect this as a sincere goal among progressives/demos… which is yet another reason I’m not d partying.

        You are right, E’Springs. You and I have been commenting on the same blogs for what, a decade? More? but call me a political doofus, I never saw it so clearly until GP quoted PCR. We have been aiming for better candidates to primary our corrupt incumbent Dems in order to take over (or back) the government of America. We should have been aiming to replace the corrupt, and largely unelected, Dem party leadership. I do not see this as a change in strategy, only a refinement of tactics.

        OK, so, immediate target changed, let’s see if we can’t dial it in. FWIW, all the Dem Party ‘leadership’ I have seen at the county level seem pretty vulnerable — they have the support of their loyal local cadre, which is thin in numbers (that’s the weakness of a ‘democratic’ organization that governs by squeezing or boring out the actual demos). Head office gives them the occasional attaboy, but functionally takes them for granted, as you might expect (see a familiar pattern here?).

        Gather up a few angry independents, find a candidate who will challenge the party’s county chair (usually easy to spot, she/he is the one with the most cobwebs) and y’all go to the next county leadership meeting. Repeat. Should be way easier than taking over a schoolboard, as fewer paleo-Xtians.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I like the tactic you proposed! It hits the party structure where it is weakest and most exposed — but I worry what countermeasures the Party Elite might take and wonder what courses of action might defeat those countermeasures.

        2. Oregoncharles

          One way to find out where the firewall between the membership and leadership is, but the hard way.

          I honestly don’t see why anyone would fight this battle. Walk away, for heaven’s sake. They don’t deserve you and don’t want you.

          1. different clue

            But if we exterminate them, then we can seize all their assets for ourselves. Then we don’t have to care if they wanted us or deserved us.

    3. HotFlash

      Each of us may have to make that decision, but all of us do not. Lots of people, 42%!! — much room to multi-task.

  8. Eclectic

    Being in control of the losing party is still being in control: deals can be made, hands can be shaken, backs can be rubbed. A reformed progressive party means that the current elite lose their relevance, influence and power. And they will have none of that.

  9. wellclosed

    “Change cannot occur if the displaced ruling class is left intact after a revolution against them.”
    Dems have been running away from Henry Wallace (Roosevelt too) since way before my time.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And Henry Wallace had plenty of entrepreneurial cred. He founded Pioneer HiBred, for crying out loud.

    2. different clue

      Which Dems actually ran away from Henry Wallace? Millions of Dem voters? Or a few hundred super-richest Elite Dems . . . the Clintonites of their day?

  10. habenicht

    Michael Hudson said this back on this site in March:

    “It seems that only a new party can achieve these aims. At the time these essays are going to press, Sanders has committed himself to working within the Democratic Party. But that stance is based on his assumption that somehow he can recruit enough activists to take over the party from Its Donor Class.

    I suspect he will fail. In any case, it is easier to begin afresh than to try to re-design a party (or any institution) dominated by resistance to change, and whose idea of economic growth is a pastiche of tax cuts and deregulation. Both U.S. parties are committed to this neoliberal program – and seek to blame foreign enemies for the fact that its effect is to continue squeezing living standards and bloating the financial sector.”

    Further I find it hard to conclude that the Democratic party is salvagable reading the post here. They have proven time and time again where their interest lie.

    Unless there is a mutiny on the horizon for the democrats, maybe it is better to abandon ship!

    1. Moneta

      Donor money attracts the status seekers pushing for the status quo, guaranteeing low voter turnout. Leaders probably love it when the dissenters just give up and become even more individualistic.

      A new party needs to get started promoting:
      – pension protections
      – universal healthcare
      – affordable post secondary education

      1. Susan the other

        Interesting how Macron managed to recruit enough members of parliament to make his EM party viable – just that easily he ousted and replaced people. I thought it was all too smooth. Here it’s a cat fight all the way. And in the end party politics gets corroded anyway. I’m thinking a party is secondary to policy, because it is always shifting. Whereas some bedrock policy, regardless of which “party” might be marching for it, can survive all the ups and downs of sack-of-potato politics. What we need is a movement that demands human rights. A constitutional convention would just be another cat fight – we need to start demanding the basics, as you list them and maybe a few more like a jobs guarantee program – the right to work for a living wage.

        1. Moneta

          IMO, the manifesto has to list requests that are

          Human rights are too nebulous: one could see walking down the street holding a gun a god given right while the other sees being able to walk in a gun free city
          a god given right.

          Job guarantees are just as nebulous. Instead of offering job guarantees, you’d have to guarantee the creation of specific jobs: cleaning polluted areas, universal daycare, research into X, etc.

        2. Rhondda

          I don’t think you can compare the situ with the Dems to Macron’s feeble sweep up. He’s a Globalist banker construct, a cutout. Obama v 2.0 a la Français. IMHO, of course.

    2. Carolinian

      Thank you. The Dems are never going to change unless challenged from outside the party. Sanders’ Titanic analogy isn’t particularly valid since the first class passengers in this case have their own private lifeboats. Of course you can get melodramatic and claim the fate of the world is at stake and therefore the planet itself is the Titanic due to AGW but that’s a problem much bigger than political parties and changing one for the other isn’t likely to make much of a difference.

      Since the article brings up Walmart and Amazon perhaps they could serve as better analogies. They aren’t really monopolies of course since they fear competition including each other and that may be all they fear. I see this in my own town as new competitors move in and Walmart cleans up its stores, offers new services etc.

      So Michael Hudson had it right. Sanders would have made far more of a difference if he had started a third party rather than sheepdogging for the Dems. The barriers are huge and designed to be so but the people running the Dem party are not going to step aside for our convenience. It’s the duopoly system itself that needs to be overturned and not this perpetual suggestion–that we’ve been hearing forever–that the Dems somehow reform themselves. Their idea of reform is to bring on somebody like Obama to fix the p.r.

      1. a different chris

        >Sanders would have made far more of a difference if he had started a third party

        Not sure I agree with this. Now you can possibly convince me that he should, but I feel strongly that the initial attack right in the belly of the beast was necessary. Now everybody’s heard of him, know who he is. He’s on the TeeVee, he brings them eyeballs.

        If he started a third party he would have just been ignored in the media, and the media is all.

        1. DanB

          He could have started a third party with the justification that the DNC sabotaged him. We’ll never know what would have been the outcome in 2016, but since I see Bernie as a “first pancake” (don’t eat it but it’s necessary to get things going) breaking with the Dem. Party would have been important on several levels.

        2. Vatch

          You are absolutely correct — as a third party candidate, Sanders would have received even less media coverage than he did get from the mainstream media. I think he would have done better than the Greens, but he still would have lost badly. One of the major lessons of 2016 is that the deck is heavily stacked against third parties in the United States; neither the Greens nor the Libertarians in combination could muster 5% of the Presidential vote. To ignore that lesson would be tragic.

          1. UserFriendly

            At the end of the primary this poll came out.

            In a 4-way election for President of the United States today, 06/10/16, with Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Gary Johnson all candidates on the ballot, Trump defeats Clinton 35% to 32%, with Sanders at 18% and Johnson at 4%, according to SurveyUSA research conducted for The Guardian. Of those who vote for Sanders if his name is on the ballot, 73% say theirs is a vote “for” Sanders, 19% say theirs is a vote “against” Trump, and 7% say theirs is a vote “against” Clinton.

            In a 4-way election for President with Sanders’ name not on the ballot, Clinton defeats Trump 39% to 36%, with Johnson at 6% and Jill Stein at 4%. 5% of all voters tell SurveyUSA they would “stay home and not vote” in this ballot constellation. Of those who vote for Sanders when Sanders’ name appears on the ballot, 13% say they will stay home if Sanders name is not on the ballot, 41% vote for Clinton, 15% vote for Johnson, 11% vote for Stein, and 7% defect to Trump.

            I can’t help but think that as Sanders got to put his message out at the debates, when most voters are just starting to tune in, and then with comey and pussy grabbing there would be a significant shift to the only not insane candidate with a shot. That is if the media didn’t go ape shit on him for ‘handing the election to trump’ as soon as he decided to go 3rd party. That is a big IF, but now I wonder how much of an effect that would have had with how much everyone loves the media…..

        3. charles leseau

          If he started a third party he would have just been ignored in the media, and the media is all.

          Exactly.

        4. habenicht

          Whats interesting is that I thought he more or less *was* ignored by the media.

          Maybe we disagree to the degree, but if one assumes that Sanders effectively was ignored by the media yet still came uncomfortably close to sidetracking “its my turn” Clinton (taking the primary race all the way to California!), he must have been successful in getting his message out in other ways aside from the msm.

      2. HotFlash

        The Dems are never going to change unless challenged from outside the party.

        Sanders’ Titanic analogy isn’t particularly valid since the first class passengers in this case have their own private lifeboats.

        To your point the first, it is not an either-or situation. And think how effective it would be if the Dem Party leadership was challenged from *both* inside and outside!

        To your point the second, the *very* first class passengers feel assured that they have lifeboats (and they could be wrong), but the hangers on? Not really. They have not adequately prepared, they are as few paychecks from disaster as the rest of us are, they are riding on their employers’ ticket, and that is why they are hanging on to the “donor class” like grim death. The actual “donor class” doesn’t pull the levers of power, they have staff to do that. It is the staff that we are after.

      3. habenicht

        I agree that unless there is at least a threat from outside the party, the ” you progressives have no place else to go” meme will continue to give democrats license to kick the left.

        I have reread this thread tonight and have yet to see a concrete plan proposed on how progressives can change the democrat party from within. Maybe thats a big ask, but think about it. If it hasn’t happened since Henry Wallace days, what are we going to realisitcally do differently today to break the elite deathgrip on the democrat party? And look at Sanders run at it 2016. All the chicanery, double delaing, mendacity, tipping the scales, you name it; wasserman schultz and the democrat elite and their MSM lapdogs were doing it.

        I concede that going third party is a slog, but trying to fix the democrats from within fits einstein’s definition of insanity in my opinion.

      4. different clue

        The “sheepdogging” accusation is generally made by jealous Greeners and other Third Party Wannabes who are mad that Bernie didn’t sheepdog millions of people for the Greeners and other Third Party Wannabes.

        I am perfectly satisfied with Bernie’s refusal to step into the bottomless quicksand tarpit which Jill Stein invited him to step into . . . the standing joke of wretched irrelevance of drowning face down in an inch-deep puddle of algae-pond-scum-green ditchwater.

        Let the Greens be true to themselves and let the New Deal Nostalgiacrats be true the THEMselves.

        I will give up on “conquer, purge and declintaminate the Democrats” if I am good and ready. And self-serving static from jealous Greenies won’t make me good and ready any sooner.

    3. EricT

      Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton, Hoyer. They are all old. In 5 years time, the whole Democratic party could change. There is a saying attributed to Max Planck, “Science advances one funeral at a time.”, I suggest the same applies to politics.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        You beat me to it. The only way the leadership changes is by dying off.

        And Gaius proposed remedy of writing to one’s favorite elected progressive (by my definition of the word those can be counted on one hand – or less) seems astoundingly naive.

        Not going to work.

      2. different clue

        The problem is that these senior scum have been mentoring junior scum for decades. Obama is not old. Booker is not old. McCauliffe is not old. Andrew Cuomo is not old. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not old. Ossoff is not old.

        These empty spaces will have to be conquered by spiritually violent force and focused hate-based initiatives. Waiting for the Planck Principle to solve the problem . . . won’t solve the problem.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      The history of third parties in the U.S. is not encouraging. Much as I respect Michael Hudson’s writings on economics I tend to adhere to the writings of G. William Domhoff for analysis of power. [http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/class_domination.html] From the section “The Power Elite and Government”:

      “… there can be only two main parties due to the structure of the government and the nature of the electoral rules.”

      “The fact that Americans select a president instead of a parliament, and elect legislators from “single-member” geographical areas (states for the Senate, districts for the House) leads to a two-party system because in these “winner-take-all” elections a vote for a third party is a vote for the person’s least desired choice. A vote for a very liberal party instead of the Democrats, for example, actually helps the Republicans.”

      This last election cycle the Democratic Party too plainly exposed its empty hull within. It appears vulnerable to take over by mutiny or pirates from within.

      Abandoning ship? — That sounds like a good way to drown. Neither of the main alternative parties show promise and riding the currents of the present seas will not carry us to a new island home.

    5. Adam Eran

      The current situation is an echo of the post-Civil-War elections when the Farmers’ Alliance and Peoples’ Party actually elected officials from local to Federal. They lost, ultimately, to J.P.Morgan and his interests, but sparked genuine change (a central bank, among other things).

      Hard to say we’ll do much better now.

      1. different clue

        Did they lose to Morgan and his interests? Or did they lose through a premature Democratic run by Bryan? Might they have won if they had stayed their own Populist Party course?

  11. Chronic Illness

    I’m not sure how you look at the last election cycle and conclude that the ‘Democrat’ party is even remotely capable of reform from within. For all of Mr. Sanders laudable goals, I think he is still suffering from the delusion that enough people in the party have the courage and moral conviction to do the right thing rather than looking out for their own skin. The money suggests otherwise.

    I think it has been proven rather conclusively that political animals are first and foremost self-serving creatures. That being said, it’s probably time people take the bull by the horns and proceed with forming a party that actually represents their collective interests rather than “the system”.

    I have been involved in a discussion group with some highly intelligent people (mostly PhD types here), and it is fascinating how many of them will apologize for the destruction created by the previous administration’s policies. These people aren’t necessarily wealthy, but they see themselves as the “resistance” when they are part and parcel part of the problem.

    They, like many in the ‘Democrat’ party, still cling to the Hamiltonian principles that have alienated so much of the country. Obama was a perfect example of how destructive this mindset can be. These closet elitists espouse popular progressive policies on their face, but when push comes to shove they will happily throw a few people under the bus if it means they won’t have to wait in line for their morning latte at Starbucks. These faux progressives see themselves as the thinkers and leaders in modern society (much like Orwell’s Animal Farm pigs), and they have no intention of letting the peons without proper pedigrees institute change which would level the playing field for a more just and humane social and economic structure.

    1. HBE

      These closet elitists espouse popular progressive policies on their face, but when push comes to shove they will happily throw a few people under the bus if it means they won’t have to wait in line for their morning latte at Starbucks.

      This is a perfect definition of a dem tribalist, in all but words they are the exact same as those suburban republicans the dem party so desperately longs for, but will never have for the simple reason they are tribalists as well.

      Dems are enraged enough to don little pink hats and march by the millions, not because of gross inequality, injustice or global warming, but because their moderate Republican lost.

      They say they hate racists and racism, but they steadfastly support the policies that institutionalize racism. Mass incarceration, economic injustice, global war, the biggest drivers are just fine with them. The racism they don’t like is the crass kind displayed by individuals that they see or here. Not really because it’s racist but because it tarnishes their virtue bubble.

      Dems are moderate suburban Republicans who don’t have stiff enough constitutions to see, and own the effects of the policies they support. They are delusional hypocrites.

      Third party please.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        “… they are they exact same as those suburban republicans the dem party so desperately longs for…”

        Freud, referring to nationalism. called it “the narcissism of superficial differences.” It seems to apply very well here, too.

    2. DanB

      Read a bit of Pierre Bourdieu on “taste” and how humans make “distinctions” for some insights relevant to your observations.

    3. oh

      The crooked leadership in the DimRat party are only interested in fooling people so they can collect campaign contributions which they promptly lop off for their personal gain. They don’t if they win or lose an election as long as they can fool people and loot campaign money. They’ll swindle the honest people who stay within the DimRat party and throw them away like used rags. The people who desire to change the party from within are deluded. Bernie might have meant well and spoken some truths but when push came to shove, he ran back to Momma! Let’s get with the program and support a third pary like the Greens who already have registration in ove 40 states.

  12. David, by the lake

    I washed my hands of the Democrat Party and national politics after the primary, with the exception of a possible Constitutional convention, which I see as the best chance we have to dismantle the American empire peaceably. I’ll still vote, as disruptively as I can, but I’m not investing my energy in national issues only to be left a dry husk. Rather, that energy is being focused on my garden, my community, and my family.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Count me as another feral voter. And, yes, I am with you on the family, community, and garden focus.

      1. David, by the lake

        Your comment is appreciated, perhaps more than you realize. One can feel quite alone in a decision like this when the massed crowd insists on marching off the cliff and expects me to not only go along, but to agree that it is a good idea. Thank you.

        1. Arizona Slim

          You’re very welcome.

          And, shhh, don’t tell anyone, but there are many more people like us. Our numbers are growing.

          1. ErnestMold

            Yep. Many, many more. We should create a secret handshake to identify one another in public. Or maybe we identify our comrades by the dirt under their fingernails, or the beet left dangling from their back pocket as a sign of solidarity.

            1. different clue

              Or the revealment in “casual conversation” of a genuine knowledge of this kind of gardening, family raising and community growing and entrenching/protecting.

              Someone who uses certain “keywords” like “humanure” in the proper context might be someone who could be chatted up to see what else they actually know and are doing.

              For example.

        2. freedeomny

          I don’t think you are alone at all. I have been planning similarly for the past 3 years and know several other people who are doing the same. We have paid off mortgages, pinched pennies and are living a simple, anti-materialistic life with the end goal of moving to a rural/small town where we can be largely self-sustaining, focus on our communities and make due with a much smaller income.

          That being said-I will continue to use my voice (in any way that I can) to express my outrage at the current state of the USA….

          1. Johnny Pistola

            Yes! And you can find us at the local community food and music festivals across North America. National politics has become a toxic playground for futile argument.

    2. Vatch

      I’m not investing my energy in national issues only to be left a dry husk. Rather, that energy is being focused on my garden, my community, and my family.

      Simply voting in the Democratic primary doesn’t take a lot of energy. Your family and your community could benefit if you do so (I’m not sure about your garden).

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I strongly second this view! Independents and the alienated [David, by the lake you seem “alienated”] should register to one of the two parties — preferably Democratic. Registering for a party means you can vote in that party’s primary and it means you might be called by pollsters and receive requests for contributions — all offering great potential for disrupting which are not otherwise available to Independents … and the alienated.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Not that I’m happy with what he does or plans to do, but isn’t Trump already doing a pretty good job of dismantling the American empire?

      Given our circumstances, and the patterns of history, isn’t it a delusion for the anti-imperialist Left to think that the empire will shrink/dissolve into something resembling its preferred model, whatever that is? In fact, doesn’t history show cronies/grifters/looters/shitheel relatives (think Kushner) as the ones who inherit a failing empire, and get their skim from the excess energy/capital generated by it collapse?

      I’ve no patience at all for the “Putin did it” memes, but according to the Caligula/Nero model of imperial decline, he’d have been wise to do everything in his power to get Trump elected, since Donnie is likely to do more to undermine the empire than anyone imaginable.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        In the BBC series “I Claudius” — Claudius believed favoring Nero would help bring a return of the Republic.

        My chief hope from Trump was that he might draw down our Military and stop a few of our ruinous wars. Instead he seems to have “outsourced” control and direction of the Military to the Military. And Trump’s domestic agenda seems oriented toward reducing most of the population to the condition of self-supporting slaves transferring what wealth they still hold into the hands of the very wealthy. I suppose this is one way to dismantle the American Empire.

      2. redleg

        Trump and the GOP are doing exactly what they do. This might be dismantling (privatizing) society, but this is what they are and have been so for many years. They are malevolent, but relatively honest about it.

        The Dems, however, speak through their hats. They are also malevolent, but do not broadcast it. They are masters of scapegoating and rationalization. They have been moving right since at least the Carter Presidency (yes, Carter) and appear to covet the GOP so much that they have effectively become the GOP of 5 to 10 years ago on a sliding scale. Since every election is The Most Important EVAH ™, they have kept those attempting to move the party back to the left unhappily in the party as “they have nowhere else to go”. But the results over the last 50 years reveal the Dems as liars, and eventually the lessor of 2 evils strategy (not a typo – they are for lease) stops working as people slowly realize that the benefits of voting blue no matter who are minimal. Thus the increase in independents on the above graph.

        We have hit the point, globally IMO, where people have had enough. “Vote GOP/fascist, and those empty-promise Dems/liberals will suffer with us- and we get to keep our guns.” Or don’t vote at all. Schadenfreude is a powerful motivator.

        The Dems were the party of conservatives back in the 1800s (remember slavery?), took a little detour in the 1930s, and have reverted to what they were. The left (not the vichy-left that is left only relative to the GOP, but the progressive left) has no representation in US politics. The future for progressives lies outside of the Dem party – let the aristocratic Dems and GOP become one party with 2 factions discriminated by the amount of bible thumping they do.

        Progressives need to start over very publicly, and the sooner the better. They need to clearly, loudly describe what they will do, how they intend to do it, and how it will benefit people. Corbyn and Sanders have demonstrated that there is a significant fraction of the population that will support this. It also uses the existing Schadenfreude as a political tool.
        \rant)

  13. FWX341844

    “For the message to change, the leadership must change.”

    For the Democratic-Party leadership to change, we have to get the new message [we will give you a better life] through to them. They’re not listening to that new [old-school] message, because roughly half of us will vote for them no matter what the message is [say, the alternative is worse, ya’ know] and the other half of us don’t vote at all [read: what difference does it make?].

    Let’s address that last part first. We should be able to convince the people that their votes would make a difference if only they’d cast them for at least five consecutive election cycles. That might entail electing more of the same sort of Democrats that we have today. But if voter participation on the Democratic side of the choice increased sufficiently and persistently, then even the worst of the Democrats would have to remove the tampons from their ears to hear the people demanding a better life.

    Be advised, though, that when the better life arrives–as it briefly did following the GI Bill, The Interstate Highway Act, the expansion of the suburbs, the era of urban decay and municipal budget crises wrought by bond down-grading–a fair number of the people will become Republicans and the great cycle of rent-seeking expropriation will begin anew.

  14. Kokuanani

    The foolish Democrats continue to send our house “surveys” as part of their begging. Usually I just throw them out or write a brief, nasty message in red marker. This time, with the two that are awaiting my action, I’m going to add a more detailed “get rid of Pelosi, Schumer, Hoyer etc.” message.

    Having worked in a Congressional office, I know that I’m not really “communicating” with anyone, but perhaps if they get a few more of these specific “suggestions,” a light will go on in their lizard brains.

    1. Moneta

      I’m cynical but my first thought is that they would add your zip code to the list of areas where donor money should not be used.. bang for their buck being too low.

      1. mwbworld

        Yup. I’ll add aninteresting sidebar. I was surprised to see in my mail a thing from some Ted Cruz pro-life group which surprised me for several reasons:

        1) I live in a super-blue area
        2) My charitable donations and subscriptions are extremely progressive.
        3) I’ve been registered a Green and Democrat (not at the same time) when I vote in primaries over the years
        4) I’m a regular support of Planned Parenthood and their legal defense fund
        5) And I’ve been a regular attendee of various pro-choice, reproductive rights marches over the year.

        So I’m just an incredibly not someone who should be getting a mailing from them – yet they were trying to reach out. So I applauded their grit in trying as I sent it to the shredder.

        1. Moneta

          In some ways, their targeting is spot on and in other ways you scratch your head.

          Let’s face it, if they had mastered the art of persuasion, they’d be winning everything. And they are not.

          One thing I am sure of is they are targeting.

        2. IC_deLight

          1. Maybe your area is not as blue as you would like to believe.
          2. Well keep throwing your money away.
          3. Which parties’ primaries did you vote in when you were Green and Democrat?
          4. See #2.
          5. At what stage did you already exercise your right? How long does this right exist? Do both parents have a say? If they have different opinions does the result change depending upon which parent has which opinion? Maybe your mom and dad should be able to exercise theirs right now. If it is a right, can they sell that right to someone else?

  15. Northeaster

    Bernie Sanders? Really? He is a hypocrite and a Socialist – GTFO of here with that nonsense.

    This country may just have to duke it out and see what’s left after the ashes fizzle out. It won’t be Bernie Sanders, that’s for sure.

    1. Arizona Slim

      You are saying “socialist” like it’s a bad thing. Ever gone for a drive? To the library? You just dealt with two socialist entities, roads and libraries. I could go on, but the hour is getting late.

      1. IsotopeC14

        Fascinating stuff really, how in America Socialism=USSR=Stalin=Terrorism=Obama.

        Reminds me of that excellent wikileaks document talking about how they are content to have erased civics and worked to create a clueless population…

    2. tegnost

      Bernie played it masterfully, disrupting the democrat party and exposing the fraud, while maintaining an operational voice as a senator. The aforementioned elites would like nothing more than seeing him go away.

    3. Johnny Pistola

      @Noreaster: I’m curious how you intend to “duke it out”… through informed and respectful discussion, or the other way?

    4. different clue

      Umm . . . what is Sanders a hypocrite about? Exactly?

      If you think he is a Socialist, then you don’t think he is a Sheepdog. So it must be something else.
      What is it, exactly?

      1. FWX341844

        Sheepdogs are the ultimate socialists. That’s why donkeys have a hard time getting along with them. BTW, donkeys also make excellent flock guardians–or at least they used to. The trick is to get the donkeys and the sheepdogs to work together. And, if the sheep want to call that hypocrisy, then let the wool grow long over their eyes.

  16. [email protected]

    I’m no fan of Nancy Pelosi. Little she has done of late qualifies for what I consider leadership. Still, the rush to point fingers at her for the Ossoff loss struck me as a bit odd. If anyone really believed this, they would have had Ossoff run against Trump and/or Ryan, both of whom have numbers as bad as (or worse than) Pelosi. Except they didn’t.

    What the Pelosi finger pointing did sound like then was the chorus of Ossoff consultants eager to not only escape their own blame, but to also to have people look to assign blame as far away from the Ossoff campaign as possible.

      1. a different chris

        Shrug. I’d like to see some exit polls to see if any of the voters gave a damn about Pelosi/Trump. I bet not, especially Pelosi. All politics is local, I don’t know why or where this “Pelosi” stuff comes from, although I do have a theory the Rethugs have so much money that they simply shotgun everything with every election. So once they beat the local candidate to death they still have some left, so they spend it the “ohhh Nancy Pelosi” crap but I doubt many voters care.

        Now the Dems had a lot of money, and the Dems are stupid, so they will often try to do the same with Trump. Ossoff didn’t really though, did he?

        1. EricT

          I think the Pelosi stuff is just static to confuse the public away from the impression that both parties are just 2 wings of the corporate party. I don’t understand how the Republicans could hate Pelosi so much. If it wasn’t for her, the whole Republican party could of been destroyed by an investigation into pushing America to invade Iraq, a war crime in of itself. She just refused to investigate or impeach.

          1. neo-realist

            I think using Pelosi as a piñata is kabuki theater the get the locals in their districts all frothy mouthed inspired to vote for republicans in their elections. So they can get the power and the donors on their terms.

    1. Big River Bandido

      The entrenched power within the Democrat Party in Washington lies with the campaign committees (DNC, DCCC, DSCC) who are under the thumb of some of the most sleazy, corrupt people in politics — Democrat
      “consultants”.

      There will be no kind of change without decapitating the party of those scumbags. They, in turn, owe their jobs to the members of Congress who are elected by their caucus to “oversee” those campaign committees. DCCC is headed by Pelosi apparatchiks Lujan and Israel. Israel, in particular, is a poster child for the corrupt, antideluvian Democrat Party hack. Similar dynamics apply in the Senate, although the caucus “leaders” are not always what they appear to be on paper. (Feinstein has long been the “leader” of the Senate Democrats, though she has never held the title.)

    2. tegnost

      Ossoff was the elite dems looking for another vapid spokesmodel. Had he won we’d be hearing that he’s the giant killer for 2020. The dems won’t learn even after they get plastered in 2018 and 2020, which is a near certainty, as anyone who gets out of the posh neighborhoods can clearly see in all the 3’x5′ trump signs that scatter the land. Nowhere do I see support for the dems except in these posh enclaves. As the article states, the deplorables have had it.

      1. neo-realist

        I’m not quite sure about the 2020 plastering: Lets see how many people with the 3 X 5 signs die from the GOP health care policies as the impact kicks in the next couple of years before we give the white house to Trump again.

  17. roadrider

    You might as well try to reform the Mafia.

    The Democrats are dead to me and have been since 2006 when they “took impeachment off the table” and acquiesced to the “surge” in Iraq. Whatever inclination I might have had to remain with them was shattered in the 2008 primaries when any candidate voicing actual progressive thoughts was shunted aside by the party leadership and their media sycophants in favor of the two most conservative, war mongering (take another look at the second Obama-McCain debate if you think only Hellary was a war monger) , corporate/MIC lackeys.

    It doesn’t matter how many elections Pelosi, Schumer, et. al. lose or how hollowed out their representation in Congress and state houses become, They will continue to be supported by the mega-rich neoliberal establishment, celebrities, tech elites and the coastal intelligentsia. Without an outside challenge from the left nothing will change inside the party since they are correct in their observation that the left “have nowhere else to go”, well except to stay home (like they did in 2016). This will result in more Trumps (who are smarter and more competent than the original model) and then the Dems will play the “unity” and “resistance” cards.

    1. a different chris

      I agree with 99% of what you say but, if they continue to lose then they will not be supported by the mega-rich etc.

      The sad thing is we now have the Imperial Presidency, and I’d still probably bet (lightly) against Trump in 2020 so the Dems will probably get the Presidency again without Congress and the country will continue to spin its wheels.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        They have been losing for decades now and yet they do continue to be supported by the mega rich. That’s not going to dry up any time soon as those types do like to hedge their bets.

        The Imperial Presidency didn’t start in January. And I’ll remind you that statusquObama had a Democrat majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate when he took office. He had no need to compromise with the other side and could have pushed through any truly progressive reforms that he and the Democrats wanted to and yet the wheels continued to spin. All that came of that was a pro-corporate health insurance scam that is now on its last legs.

        Please don’t continue to labor under the delusion that if only they controlled more branches of government things would be different. If they actually wanted to help out the working class in this country they would have done so already. That they’d rather lose than help the ‘deplorables’ has become abundantly clear.

        1. Mark P.

          They have been losing for decades now

          For sixteen years out of the last twenty-five, Dem administrations have held power in the U.S.

          Let’s not exaggerate. Repellent as they are, they’re significant, owning most of the MSM, too.

  18. RenoDino

    It’s ALL one party with a scrum at the margins. St. Bernie stands atop the burning dumpster, railing about the injustice of it all, while being consumed by its flames. This is an Empire backed by a full-blown Police State. Nobody is going anywhere.

    You are now free to go about your business enjoying the benefits of our consumer society. Thank you.

  19. PKMKII

    Democratic consultants are to politics as mutual fund managers are to Wall Street: Put on fronts of intelligence, talent, and insight well beyond their abilities, act like their expertise is crucial for success when their actual track record is mixed at best, act like their much more important to the process than they really are, and it doesn’t matter if they win or lose, they get their hefty fees regardless.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I know such a consultant. He is oh-for-two with his last couple of candidates.

      An acquaintance just hired this consultant to manage his campaign. Said acquaintance reminds me of Ossoff. And not in a good way.

      Methinks that the well-paid consultant is about to go oh-for-three.

  20. Daniel F.

    Reforming the so-called Democratic Party is impossible in my opinion. It’s torn between a corporate leadership (appeal progressives) and its regressive fringes. Let it burn to the ground and make a new party, for true progressives (am I going in the direction of a “no true Scotsman”?), who would represent the interests of “We, the people”.
    Then you have the real radicals, BLM, AntiFa, and the nth wave intersectional feminists, respectively crying about “systemic oppression”, “goddamn nazis everywhere”, “the Patriarchy”, and collectively: “fugg da po-pos!”. Yes, the Republicans also have their corporate leadership and fringes, but actual nazis and delusional AnCaps seem a lot less vocal or significant (at least from Europe) compared to any riot or the madness at the Evergreen State College. Then again, this is coming from someone living in Europe, so my perspective isn’t very good. Still, I don’t feel really good about the self-proclaimed Leader of the Free World (which it actually used to be) devolving further.

  21. Louis Fyne

    That’s why as small donors, people need to starve the beast—-no contributions to the any DC-based organization (to culturally appropriate Ronald Reagan).

    Support local individuals. Even $20 spent on a losing well-chosen local state rep. is better spent than $10 for the DNC.

    1. Arizona Slim

      One of my friends is running for re-election to our state House of Representatives. She is a progressive Democrat. Next time I see her, I am going to ask how I can chip in for her campaign.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I like the description of the Ossoff race as a Pyrrhic loss – so much invested by Dems into a candidate with so little to offer, that the loss looms larger than it would otherwise.

      I’m for trying anything that might work, inside or outside the D Party. I am convinced the rules of the game in the US make it almost impossible for a 3rd Party to succeed. But there is no permanent reason the D Party has to be one of the two.

      The problem/difficulty with taking over the D Party is not just the handful of leaders in DC. By my count, there are maybe 20 truly left-progressive Dems in the House and no more than 5 in the Senate (being truly charitable to people like Warren). So changing the nature of D representation in DC with require primary-ing the vast majority of current DC Dems. So the question is, does it make more sense to try to do this in D primaries and try to take over the D Party apparatus – no doubt against virtually the entire existing apparatus – or to run a complete slate of 3rd party candidates in Nov elections. I used to think the former strategy has a much higher likelihood of success. Now I am not so sure.

  22. DJG

    One concept that may help here is “party system.” We are in the sixth party system of the U S of A. And it sure looks like we are opening the door to the seventh party system. So ruling out “third parties” isn’t a great idea: Both of the political parties (D and R) are structures that are dry-rotted. One kick may send either or both tumbling. In some respects, Trump won the nomination because Republican voters perceived how corrupted the Republican party is. (He may be the stereotypical spoiled American businessperson, but to Republican voters, he was somehow more “real” and “new” than Romney, the well-scrubbed spoiled Republican businessperson.)

    The parties aren’t permanent. Is anyone nostalgic for the Whigs? Should we argue that there was no way to get rid of the American Party (the Know-Nothings)?

  23. SoCal Rhino

    I think the PCR quote raises a larger challenge to creating a viable alternative party through reform or creation. Simply, his point is not a metaphor.

  24. justanotherprogressive

    Sanders: “Because there are people who, as I often say, would rather have first class seats going down with the Titanic, rather than change the course of the ship.”

    And then there are those propaganda-gulping people who think that someday they too will get one of those 1st class berths if they just keep going along with what the elite wants……

    I can’t believe some of the people I meet who think that somehow that the neoliberal game plan is going to make their lives better……someday……

  25. Mike

    Many here commenting upon G. P.’s post truly hope and wish for change (heard this one before?), both within the Democratic Party and outside. In both cases, the answers and suggestions given are very innocent.

    To cleanse the entire nation of the influence of corporate cash, corrupted lackeys, and warmongers is absolutely necessary to accomplish both of those goals, and we often do not see this nor do we see any method to be used. How can anyone have the slimmest belief that the moneyed interests, their toadies, and the hired hands at DoD, State, the Fed, and NSA, FBI, CIA, etc. will go peacefully into the night when we challenge their puppets within the twin parties of death? Will they not double down on preserving this system that promises so much to them? Have they not killed those opposing them in other countries, as well as here in the good ol’ USA? What do we do when we go to phase two (sorry- a wannabe poet)?

    I’d like to see a discussion based upon that reality, with backup plans to initiate and defend a strategy that knows a “win” in one area of division of this system guarantees nothing until total victory over the entire ball of wax is accomplished. In short, we have no global ideology, no encompassing

    My gut feeling is that the working poor know, deep in their bones, it was never as simple as presented by radicals of the sixties or those of us who have not thought this through to its conclusion. That is why they “oppose” such ideas and presentations (and, partly, due to well-earned suspicion that some ideas are meant to rope the poor into a losing proposition, all the better to hang them out to dry, eh?).

    Plan piecemeal, if you must, but “act locally, think globally” means more than just a surrender to local politics and school board elections. It can also mean your whole philosophical outlook and approach to the question ” after this, what do we do?”.

    1. tegnost

      “around here” it’s long been known that the reality is the dems can’t win a school board election. You don’t need a gut feeling. Their demise is as certain as their inability to see it coming.

    2. Carolinian

      OK I’ll bite….what do we do?

      The sad truth is that history’s lurches and spurts are usually the result of great violence–wars, revolutions. The Russian revolution shaped the history of the 20th century because the western oligarchs were so afraid that would happen to them that they had–temporarily it seems–to make concessions to the welfare state. Their other tactic was to try to destroy the source of the infection. Hitler and those backing him really had eliminating the Commies as their principal concern. Lots in the west were hoping he’d do it and this carried on into the Cold War.

      At any rate while waiting for the cataclysm we can at least nibble at the edges and try to revive the Left to a degree. Sitting around worrying about what’s going on with the hopeless Dems probably isn’t all that useful.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        All true. But we are a young species still, and the world has changed so much in the last 100 years that I’m not sure how much of what happened before sets limits on what we can achieve going forward.

        OTOH I certainly agree with Mike that electoral politics is just the tip of the iceberg. OTO we won’t really know what we are up against until we have some electoral power. But, just as one example, I am not at all convinced that the grunts in the military would back a soft (or hard) coup against a left populist with a real strategy and political operation to improve the lives of most people. (I do think most cops probably would.) And it is still the case that corporations need customers to make money – in both the 1910’s and 1930’s, there were important splits in the world of big business that provided openings for left politics. One of our biggest problems is that a huge proportion of the remaining manufacturing in this country s the MIC and it will be hard to get working people to oppose that.

  26. casino implosion

    I did my part for the Sanders revolution by voting for Trump, who campaigned far to the left of Clinton. But I’m just a het white male brocialist, so what do I know.

    1. different clue

      Well, I voted for Trump too, for my own version of the same reason. So I may know whatever you know.

  27. Susan the other

    Just one quibble. I don’t want us to be at cross purposes. We have a global way of doing things – for lack of a better description it is “capitalism” but it falls way short of replacing government – even tho’ it has been trying to do just that for a century. Government is basically a distribution system – the more equitable the better – and we still rely on Government to deliver. That is one side of the coin. And it is, so far, all about money. The other side of the coin is the planet, which has been polluted and exploited almost beyond recovery by a human population that is way too big and a blind faith in capitalism and trade. We are already living a contradiction. And we need to fix it quickly. In order for policies to do us any good they have to repair the planet while they keep us all alive at some level of comfort. An angry revolution that has all sides talking past each other won’t help anybody. It will just waste precious time. And I submit that politics is the art of talking past each other. We need to get above it.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Gov’t is more than just distribution – it also structures the whole capitalist market system – there is no capitalism without limited liability, bankruptcy, contract law, etc. None of that should be taken as given or unchangeable.

      1. Bobby Gladd

        Nice. Depressing that you have to point that out.

        “If there were only one man in the world, he would have a lot of problems, but none of them would be legal ones. Add a second inhabitant, and we have the possibility of conflict. Both of us try to pick the same apple from the same branch. I track the deer I wounded only to find that y ou have killed it, butchered it, and are in the process of cooking and eating it.

        The obvious solution is violence. It is not a very good solution; if we employ it, our little world may shrink back down to one person, or perhaps none. A better solution, one that all known human societies have found, is a system of legal rules explicit or implicit, some reasonably peaceful way of determining, when desires conflict, who gets to do what and what happens if he doesn’t…”

        David Friedman, “Law’s Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters”

  28. Oregoncharles

    “, unless one wishes to scale the mountain of deliberate, structural impediments to forming a viable, 50-state third party.”

    Excuses, excuses. You’d rather scale the mountain of impediments to reforming the “Democrat” party?

    After many years of mountain climbing (figurative), and many, many discussions with apologists for repeating what didn’t work before, I’ve concluded the real determinant is not a rational calculation implied by Gaius’ above quote; it’s personality. Some people have a much lower tolerance for betrayal, and a lower attachment to institutions, than others. Personally, I walked away in disgust when Slick Willy was president and I realized he was really a Republican – only worse, because of the betrayal. So did others.

    Others don’t react that way; instead, they stay attached to the institution and hope to overturn its power structure. I think Bernie’s extremely impressive campaign demonstrated the essential futility of that approach. So did thousands of Bernie supporters who turned around and joined the Green Party as soon as he lost. (Oregon has other more-or-less leftwing parties, so I don’t think we caught them all.) The proportion changes over time because it depends on the severity of the provocation; deliberately choosing the weaker candidate, and cheating to do it, even in the face of a Trump candidacy, was a very severe provocation.

    OTOH, I’m beginning to wonder what it will take to finish the job; the total self-immolation of the Dems – or maybe of the country? Just as individuals have breaking points, so do populations; where is it? My worst fear, and I now consider it quite likely, is that we shoot right past overturning the party structure to outright violent insurrection. It’s easy to joke about torches-and-pitchforks, but I’m getting too old for that sort of thing, and the human costs are truly forbidding.

    1. different clue

      People should do what they believe in the most. And people who are doing what THEY believe in the most should try to contain their spiteful envy of OTHER people who are doing what THEY believe in the most.

      Let the Third Party minded people support Third Parties.
      Let the “Conquer and Purge the Democratic Party” people support conquering and purging the Democratic Party.

      And let each group of people spare the other group of people from envy-spite based lectures about why the “other group” is wrong and should all join the “each group”.

      Let the two TAGs ( Theory Action Groups) each pursue their own theory-based set of actions.

      Let Darwin decide who is right.

      1. Oregoncharles

        That’s what will happen, but it means lefties of various stripes charging off in 3 or 4 conflicting directions, as happened, including here, in 2016.

        The debate will continue until large events settle it. Wish us luck.

        1. different clue

          it is the best way. The only way to see who is survival-worthy and survival-ready is to see who survives.

  29. Cujo359

    Politicians, like most people, do difficult things for only two reasons. Either they have to do them, or they really want to do them. No one does them because they think it would be a fine idea if someone does them someday.

    This means that any strategy like the one proposed in this article needs to explain how we’re going to convince our congress people that they have to oppose their leaders, not that it’s a good idea. When progressives are willing, in sufficient numbers, to either vote for and support someone else or keep their votes and support in their pockets will those politicians think that what we want them to do this. Short of that, no amount of pleading or shaking our fists is going to matter.

    If enough progressives in each Democratically-controlled district are willing to publicly state they’ll withhold their votes and support until this happens, it has a chance of happening. Otherwise, I don’t see how it’s going to be any more of a priority than all the other things we want that aren’t being done.

  30. Synoia

    Change the funding: Candidates can only accept money from natural people in the constituency they wish to represent.

  31. Ed

    I think most voters are very wary of the government’s ability to deliver anything in terms of actual services what they want is money from them in some form or another.

    People will vote Democrat again and then they will vote Republican but there isn’t going to be some sea change in the actual policies either way.

  32. Steven

    Democrats: how low can they go? Take a look at this link: In addition to repudiating the two-bit hustlers currently leading the Democratic Party over the cliff, anyone aspiring to a leadership position should be willing to come clean on this issue.

  33. different clue

    The thing about the Clintonite-Obamacrats choosing to be first class passengers on the Titanic rather than second class passengers on a better ship is this . . . they fully intend to seize all the lifeboats for themselves and keep everyone else firmly trapped on the Titanic when it goes down.

    They plan to be among the Deserving Survivors of the Global Overclass plan to kill 6 billion people over the next hundred years and make it look like an accident. And they are afraid that enabling too much of us Second Class passengers to survive the Big Sinking would spoil their post-Jackpot view.

  34. Gaius Publius

    I just want to add emphasis to two comments by tegnost (among the many good comments here):

    June 23, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Bernie played it masterfully, disrupting the democrat party and exposing the fraud, while maintaining an operational voice as a senator. The aforementioned elites would like nothing more than seeing him go away.

    and:

    June 23, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Ossoff was the elite dems looking for another vapid spokesmodel. Had he won we’d be hearing that he’s the giant killer for 2020. The dems won’t learn even after they get plastered in 2018 and 2020, which is a near certainty, as anyone who gets out of the posh neighborhoods can clearly see in all the 3’x5′ trump signs that scatter the land. Nowhere do I see support for the dems except in these posh enclaves. As the article states, the deplorables have had it.

    Both dead-on IMO.

    GP

  35. Knute Rife

    Don’t need to look to South America for failed revolution. Contrary to the moonlight and magnolias rubbish in popular literature such as GWTW, the antebellum ruling class was left largely in place. Result: The South remained a collection of feudal fiefdoms, and that by no means has been corrected to this day.

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