I wish I was a political scientist. I have a notion that we won't see a progressive agenda truly championed and, even, enacted in Congress until we have a different kind of Democratic party. But first, Republicans have to change.
We need to see a resurgence of GOP interest in and ability to make reasonable policy to achieve better governance and "promote the general welfare". The Preamble of the Constitution only identifies five purposes. Besides promotion of the general welfare, the Constitution exists to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to all Americans forever.
Current Republicans are trapped by orthodoxy to oppose measures that demonstrably, scientifically, promote the general welfare, even where their positions do nothing to promote any other Constitutional purpose. Ideology compels them to view general welfare in terms of protecting unborn life, yet the magical shields that isolate them from objective reality permit them to exhibit little concern for humans after birth actually brings them into existence. As I like to say, I never met a person who wasn't born.
As long as this religious orthodoxy and other ideological fetishes hold Republicans captive, progress on the environment, defense, general welfare, budget and other issues will remain elusive, even, I fear, if Democratic majorities emerge in Congress, though I am sure that would undoubtedly be an improvement over the present situation in Congress. So, without improvement in the quality of Republicans being elected in the red states, I don't see much hope for improvement in run-of-the-mill Democrats in Congress, even from reliably blue states.
To me, politics looks like any other battle. Aggressive opponents move toward, not away from one another. That seems as true with ideology as with any other form of weapon. As long as Republicans drift near the extreme edges of ideology and are prevented by orthodoxy from supporting good governance measures, there will be irresistible force pulling Democrats ever rightward, just to be in the same conversation. Until people in the red states start electing reform minded Republicans, and absent a full blown Green or other attack from the left, I fear it will remain hard to grow the Congressional Progressive Caucus, or, as I like to think of them, the Communists. I actrually fear that Republicans will shrink to a non-national, regional role on their way down the path followed by the Whigs before them. Perhaps someday. But in my time, I'm more concerned about Democrats emerging into a period of modified one-party dominance, without a true compass on where they should lead the nation.
I might have been a political scientist. That was the plan when I left for university and enrolled as a polisci major in the liberal arts college. But I didn't like the professor in my first semester, big lecture class. Stupid, me. Actually, I was a little bit smart, but dreadfully lazy and alarmingly ignorant. But I quickly fell for a band girl, wound up in the music department, and spent much of those years rehearsing and on national tour with a troupe of college musicians. So much for political science, until law school obliged me to consider aspects of American political history. Later, I worked for nearly a decade for a state attorney general, running several divisions and representing many State officers while campaigning for the boss through several election cycles. I represented the state election commission as their principal counsel for several years, in state and federal court. But I am not a political scientist.
I haven't the slightest idea how to test my notion that we need red states to start electing better people in order to have much chance to improve the Democratic Party. I don't know how to do that, because I'm not a political scientist. I'm just another blogger shooting off my mouth. But it makes sense to me.