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August 9, 2006, the peak of progressive netroots power. Photo by Connecticut Bob
Do you ever wonder why, despite resounding Democratic victories in the 2008 elections, there was so little legislative movement on so many progressive causes from 2009-2010? There is a lot of dispute about how much was actually accomplished during the two years of the Dem trifecta, but consider this partial list of ways progressives were either frustrated or defeated entirely:

Congress passed no significant legislation on climate change or immigration. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were extended. Even a watered down version of the Employee Free Choice Act went nowhere. The public option was defeated. The laws passed on reproductive rights were actually regressive. Congress accomplished nothing in response to a Supreme Court ruling that sent campaign finance law backward, and no progress was made on the partisan composition of judicial appointments to the federal bench. Expanding overseas military deployments went unchecked, as did the reduction of civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism.

Why did wide Democratic majorities in Congress fall so far short of progressive policy goals? Some cite the 60-vote culture of the Senate, and given our extensive past activism on filibuster reform at Daily Kos we obviously think there is real merit to that argument. Some cite tactical flaws, such as Democratic negotiation methods, and there is definitely something to be said for that argument as well. Some believe Democratic leaders simply opposed some or all or the progressive causes, but I don't have access to the hearts and minds of Democratic leaders and as such I don't pretend to know what they really believe.

Whatever the accuracy of these various rationales, underneath them there is a more fundamental problem thwarting progressive public policy goals. Specifically, a majority of legislators and candidates believe their electoral chances suffer more if they oppose conservative policy goals than if they oppose progressive ones. That was even the case in 2009-2010, when Democrats held massive majorities in Congress. As long the majority of candidates and members of Congress continue to believe that veering to the left hurts them electorally, progressives will continue to see their public policy goals go largely unachieved even when Democrats are governing. (Although, obviously there is still a big difference between what progressives can accomplish under Democratic and Republican administrations.)

What's worse, the belief that it's electoral damaging to support policies liberals advocate is actually quite credible. Consider the following statements, none of which is generally considered particularly controversial:

  • Pro-choice Republicans are much more likely to lose primaries than pro-life Democrats. Further, Democrats are more likely to lose general elections for being pro-choice than Republicans for being pro-life, because there are significantly more voters who will oppose any pro-choice candidate than there are voters who will oppose any pro-life candidate.
  • Democrats who voted for the Affordable Care Act fared worse than Democrats who voted against it. By contrast, outside of Blanche Lincoln, no members of Congress were seriously threatened with losing an election because they opposed the public option.
  • Even though ending the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy is popular, candidates are still better off electorally if they favor extending them, given the monetary forces that will line up to support those who advocate extending them and to thwart those who oppose.
  • Democrats who failed to support comprehensive immigration reform have never been replaced by candidates who are more progressive on that issue. By contrast, right-wing demagoguery on immigration has been at least moderately successful in both primary and general elections since 2006.
  • No member of Congress has ever lost an election for not doing enough to combat climate change. However, Rep. Bob Inglis was crushingly defeated in a Republican primary last year at least partially because of his real support for action on climate change.

The sad truth is that it is reasonable for candidates and elected officials to believe they have more to fear for supporting progressive causes than for supporting conservative ones. Even when polls show progressive causes to be popular, the forces opposing those causes still make a disproportionate impact on electoral outcomes.

Not everyone reading this, and maybe not even most people reading this, will agree with the idea that there are few electoral repercussions for elected officials who do not support progressive legislative causes. Probably the most common counter-argument is that the Democratic base becomes depressed when Democrats oppose progressive causes, resulting in less activism for Democratic candidates and lower turnout among Democratic voting groups. Thus, the argument concludes, opposing progressive causes actually does carry a serious risk of electoral defeat.

However, there are two problems with this argument:

  • First, it's not supported by any evidence. Self-identified liberals formed identical shares of the electorate in the last two midterm elections, the only real apples-to-apples comparison available. In both 2006 and 2010, liberals composed 20% of the electorate. Further, they were actually slightly more pro-Democratic in 2010 (90%) than 2006 (87%).
  • Second, the argument itself is a tacit admission of progressive weakness. Saying that progressives will just stay home acknowledges that progressives cannot defeat bad Democrats with better candidates. Instead, the only option for progressives in the face of betrayal or legislative defeat is to just withdraw from politics itself. Since that state of affairs will actually increase right-wing power, one has to wonder why those who oppose progressive causes would be worried about it happening. Progressives staying home poses no threat to those who oppose progressives.

A more credible counter to the belief that pushing progressive policy damages candidates is that most swing voters don't make decisions based on the perceived ideological orientation of the legislation that candidates have supported. Instead, when times are getting worse, the governing party gets booted from swing districts. When times are getting better, the governing party wins swing states and districts. So, if progressive policy can result in more voters feeling their lives were improving, then Democrats who oppose that policy do real electoral damage to themselves.

Now, I actually accept that rebuttal, so I'm not going to spend time arguing against it. But it is a very abstract and academic argument that will not be persuasive to candidates and operatives whose lives are filled with the concrete experience of standing for office. Political science papers disputing causality in electoral outcomes are not going to overcome generations of institutional belief that appealing to the left will cause you to lose elections. So if we are going to convince decision-makers that there are serious political repercussions to opposing progressive causes, then we are going to have to do something much more than engage in abstract argumentation.

We have to start winning elections in ways so that the majority of political observers believe the defeated candidate lost because s/he opposed one or more progressive legislative priorities. Just defeating someone who opposes progressive legislation with someone who supports it is not enough. A wide array of pundits, candidates and political professionals must believe that opposition to progressive policies was the primary reason an elected official was removed from office. That is the only way we are going to start convincing people that opposing progressive legislation is truly bad idea for someone's political career. As such, it's also the only way we're going to start getting progressive legislation passed on a regular basis.

If political observers think we won an election because our opponent had corruption issues, it won't build progressive power. If political observers think we won because the other side had crazy candidates, it won't change legislative outcomes. If people think we won because we were well-organized or because we used clever new tactics, then they will come to our seminars about how to run a campaign–but they will not pass our desired public policy into law. Hell, even if we win because the country is in the dumps and we get a wave election, that will give us a brief shot at power but nothing over the long-term (see 1977-1980, 1993-1994, and 2009-2010).

From this perspective, the best fight the netroots ever picked, at least before 2011, was the Lamont vs. Lieberman primary in Connecticut in 2006. Every political observer in the country knew—and admitted!—that fight was about Lieberman opposing withdrawal in Iraq. As such, when we won the primary, a meaningful blow was struck against the idea, widespread in professional political circles, that pissing off liberals has no meaningful electoral consequences. It delivered the netroots the credibility that had escaped us when candidates who opposed the war in Iraq failed in the 2004 presidential primaries.

Sadly, losing the 2006 Connecticut general election to Lieberman might have set back our efforts on this front even further than winning the primary advanced it. Even so, Lamont vs. Lieberman is exactly the type of fight progressives need to be picking, and pouring a disproportionate amount of our resources into, in order to build real legislative power. Right now, there are at least two fights that fit this mold:

  • The first is the recall campaign in Wisconsin. The vast majority of political observers know and admit that this campaign is about Republicans stripping collective bargaining rights. As such, winning the recalls has real potential to strike a blow against the idea that pissing off the left has no electoral consequences. We can show that stripping collective bargaining rights can and will result in the people supporting it being removed from office. This will have a major impact on other states.
  • The second campaign that currently fits this model is the battle over Medicare. This is because it isn't really that hard to get candidates, pundits and political professionals to believe campaigns can be lost for favoring cuts to Medicare and/or Social Security. After all, the reason why politicians are labeled "courageous" for proposing cuts to Medicare and Social Security is because entitlement programs are one of the very few areas where politicos never stopped doubting that opposing the poor and middle class would result in severe electoral consequences. Further, the NY-26 special election, even though it featured a semi-major third party candidate, was an important step in cementing that belief. Imagine how deeply ingrained that belief will become if we retake in the House in 2012 while defeating Paul Ryan!

If tactics are how you fight a battle, but strategy is the rationale behind what battles you choose to fight, then the strategy to building lasting progressive power is to choose to fight battles like Lamont vs. Lieberman, the Wisconsin recall elections, and going explicitly after Republicans—or anyone—on Medicare and Social Security. We can't just win elections, and we can't just win elections with Better Democrats. We have to win elections in which people believe the outcome was determined by popular support for progressive policies, and a backlash against those who opposed them. That's the only way politicians will believe they have to support progressive policies in order to stay in office, and thus the only way progressives are going to stop being thwarted and disappointed even when Democrats are the party in power.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't dispute the points you are making but (38+ / 0-)

    without a comprehensive strategy on how to deal with the flood of corporate money into the political system (we used to call it "corruption"), I don't think our good intentions and hard work will have much effect in changing policy.

    I don't honestly think it is a matter of policies or electoral strategy or better candidates . . . I think it is all about money.  

    Until we put in some new controls on campaign spending, lobbying, etc., we might as well resign ourselves to fighting (and losing) the good fights.

    That's understandable when I realize that I can't feel my body.

    by prodigal on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:05:39 PM PDT

    •  Spot on, prodigal (10+ / 0-)
      I don't honestly think it is a matter of policies or electoral strategy or better candidates . . . I think it is all about money

      We're all being duped, people.  And, it's not just by the conservs or repubs and such.  It's by the VAST majority of every elected official in D.C.  They aren't interested in us...they're interested in one thing and one thing only...self preservation.  Us?  "We The People"?  hahahaha...yeah right.  These politicians run on excellent principles and super presentations to us and so forth...but, once they get to D.C., they just fall into the "business as usual" mode there.  

      Sometimes I just want to vote out EVERY politician in D.C. to make a point to them that WE are their boss.  But, no one would go along with that because the majority of the voters in congressional districts and senate seats won't vote against their current elected official...but want everyone else to vote out their own representative.

      I'd donate a lot of money to an organization or group etc. that could actually come up with a way to get EVERY elected official in D.C. out of office and to tell anyone that does win the next election that we'll vote THEM out if they don't follow the majority line.

      -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

      by r2did2 on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:18:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agree. Also, and it is not just about $$$ (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        A large number of reps are also ex-CIA.  Which means they have a different agenda then representing the constituents who elect them.  This is rarely talked about, but when you see Congresscritters voting against their constituents' interests, you can blame money, or in many cases, blame allegiance to an in-government agency committed to a secret agenda.

        This is also true of many in the media who set the "serious" agenda.

        The zombie-like "PATRIOT" Act is a great example of this.  Supposed progressives and many other liberals continue to vote for it over the rights of the citizens and their oath to the uphold the Constitution.

        Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

        by maxschell on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 06:57:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly, (16+ / 0-)

      this bullet point jumped out at me.

      Even though ending the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy is popular, candidates are still better off electorally if they favor extending them, given the monetary forces that will line up to support those who advocate extending them and to thwart those who oppose.

      Yeah, I think that's the one that explains why why are where we are today.

      'Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.' -John Steinbeck

      by Eddie L on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:26:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So how do you bell that cat? (28+ / 0-)

      "Until we put in some new controls on campaign spending, lobbying, etc., we might as well resign ourselves to fighting (and losing) the good fights."

      And how are you going to do that?

      There is only one way. You have to elect a Congress that will do it. Yes, yes, we all know - there's too much money for us to fight them.

      They've got the money, they've got the media, they have it all - except for the people. We actually have the VOTES, if we can get people to go out to the polls and give them some decent people to vote for.

      There is really only one thing that we CAN do - it's to organize on the level of part politics. We have to flood our local party committees with Progressives, with ourselves.

      Part apparatus is cumbersome, but it can be hacked. Look at how rapidly the Tea Party co-opted the Republicans! There is already a Progressive Caucus in the House. What I suggest is that we work within the Dem party structure to get rid of the DINOs.  We primary them.

      What this would mean is finding Progressive candidates to serve on every Township Committee, every nominating board - find a Progressive candidate to run for every seat if we do not have one already.

      We could form an action committee here, or work with the American Dream project or with DFA. We use the meet-up strategy that worked so well for Dean in '03, and invite people we know, or people we reach through posts in progressive websites. We search through posts on local paper websites or other progressive blogs and invite progressive posters to attend. We find articulate people who are committed and frustrated, We offer all of them a home, and a place to put those beliefs and frustrations to work.

      We identify primary candidates, we run them with an identifying label, we help them participate in all the standard campaign activities.

      We all know that Obama will follow the direction the Congress pushes him in. He can propose all the Progressive policies we want, but without a Congress to enact them they will come to naught. I want policies that are enacted. I want sweeping change.

      The only way to affect sweeping change is to sweep out the Congress, the Statehouses, the local Democratic organizations. We can't do it with cash or advertising. We have to do it with people, with organization, through campaigning.

      With a truly Progressive Congress, we can pass the Constitutional Amendments we all know we need, starting with a "Personhood is for humans" amendment.

      They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

      by Louise on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:30:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  bell the doorbells (13+ / 0-)

        I think the problem many people have is that really putting together local networks of voters to support progressive candidates sounds too much like work.

        In fact, all too many people are working as hard as they can to just survive in this economy.

        It used to be that volunteering was the strength that Democrats had.  Now it has been really curtailed.

        Nevertheless, the actual traction that can be achieved has to be in terms of personal commitments to actually participating in some aspect of what it really takes to build a movement.

        It is easy to complain in a blog, or to friends.  But that is not actually accomplishing anything.  

        Louise is absolutely correct.  If the Democratic Party is filled up with more people going to meetings who are progressive, then it will become more progressive.  

        You cannot complain about what someone else does.  They are there for the reasons they decided to commit themselves to.  It is about real people making real commitments.  

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:40:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We need pledges from every Dem. in Congress (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lcrp, blueoasis

        that they will support legislation that reduces the role of corporate and wealthy interests in our election process.  And a commitment to ending the filibuster.  Absent that, we withhold our support or primary them (depending on the state/district).  

        We should never let 2008 happen again.  If the Democrats ever win control both houses and the white house again (on our backs), we must be certain that this time, they will act to restore democracy.

        Pollution isn't free.

        by Frameshift on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:47:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But who is this "we"? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, SoCalSal

          Who is the "we"? Congressional Dems need to be asked by somebody. Is it individual constituents, or an interest group, that is asking for this guarantee?  If it's an interest group, is it a new one formed by Kossacks only, or is it one that already exists? Whos is going to write up the pledge that we wish them to take, who will deliver it, and who actually reports back to "us"?

          These are excellent goals, but we need actual strategies to put them into effect.

          They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

          by Louise on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:35:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I promise? No way.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Indiana Bob

            We all saw where Obama's "promises" went.    

            We need a big stick.   We need to be able to hurt them electorally.  Until we can, we are the fly buzzing around Obama that he so deftly slapped and killed.

            We may not be able to make candidates win, but we can make them lose.    A pound of flesh, despite having to cut off our noses to get it, is a more powerful message than a carrot, when the banks, big oil, and globalists can give them chocolate cake.
                 

            If you don't stand for something, eventually you stand for nothing.

            by dkmich on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 03:03:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I Guess I'm Confused (0+ / 0-)
              We may not be able to make candidates win, but we can make them lose.    A pound of flesh, despite having to cut off our noses to get it, is a more powerful message than a carrot, when the banks, big oil, and globalists can give them chocolate cake.

              How is this different than the attitude the progressive faithful at Daily Kos has always had?

              •  DFHs always vote for the sell-out Dems.... (0+ / 0-)

                I may have to vote for them, but I don't have to lie to myself to do it.    

                I am proposing primaries, recalls, and ballot initiatives making all elected office holders at the federal, state and local level  unpaid, part-time, and with zero benefits.    I think we need to attack them back.   Hit em where it hurts.   A big, non-partisan, kiss my ass movement.

                If you don't stand for something, eventually you stand for nothing.

                by dkmich on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 12:02:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (7+ / 0-)

        I know everyone who was there is feeling messianic after the netroots conference, but the fact is, you guys are the progressive establishment now. You are not "storming the gates" with Howard Dean anymore.

        That was almost 8 years ago.

        You have been leading the progressive movement through this period. Now you say jump and we all should just say "how high?"

        I don't think so.

        More or less, the progressive blogosphere's leaders have gone from the "more and better Democrats" refrain to Obama uber alles, to purity tests and disaffection, and now you still have a big microphone.

        I think a new, different group needs to come along and crash your gates.

        All I've got is an orange blog, three paragraphs, and the truth.

        by Attorney at Arms on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:39:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wasn't at NN (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SoCalSal, eztempo

          I'm not saying anyone should jump to follow me. I am saying that this is the way that we develop a Congress that would actually enact Progressive legislation. You won't get any of these idea that we all agree upon enacted without a Congress willing to vote for them.

          If you have a better plan to achieve such a Congress, please tell us about it!

          They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

          by Louise on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 04:01:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Money buys what those with money lack (40+ / 0-)

      Campaign money buys people learning things good about a candidate, and negative things about your opponent.  If the other side has a way to get their message out, the advantage of money disappears.  Once you saturate voters with your message, additional dollars are wasted.

      Campaigns costs more today because big media campaigns are expensive, but those campaigns can be beaten as long as you have other ways to get your message out.  Person to person contact is more powerful than ads.  It also increases turnout. If we build electoral strategies that depend on people power rather than financial power, far less money will be needed. But that takes organization - it cannot be built over in each electoral cycle.  

    •  I get that, but... (16+ / 0-)

      ...we are NOT GOING TO GET controls for campaign spending unless and until our efforts at good, old-fashion person-to-person grassroots organizing (supplemented with high tech tools, not replaced by them) makes that advantage at best marginal. If the funding advantage fails to consistently win for the Financial Elites, then they won't lobby so hard to keep the advantage. They'll find better places to use their money.

      We cannot wait for the rules to be changed. We must prevail in spite of the resources being thrown at us.

      That's a tall order, I know, but otherwise we'd waiting for a gaggle of benevolent, civic minded people to start dominating Wall Street, the Chamber, NFIB, etc. who would advocate unilateral funding disarmament.

      The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

      by Egalitare on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:34:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mao said, "Heighten the contradictions." (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, chuckvw, neroden, TracieLynn, lgmcp, offgrid

      In other words, progressives, like everyone else in the world, are prone to act only when matters have passed beyond "possible" or even "probable" to "critical" -- and especially, "it's happening now."  Regrettably, they may even wait (as do others) until "sh*t, look what happened!"

      Progressives don't want to align themselves with forces farther to the left for fear of invoking charges of communism and anti-Americanism.  This is a legacy of the Cold War that still works today.

      Frankly, I don't even know what communist means anymore.  The Chinese are communists and they're kicking butt in the market.  As for anti-Americanism, it seems to me that the Tea Party is plenty anti-American, yet no one calls them out as such.

      I fear that progressivism is all about talking about change, which is why Obama was so popular.  He talks the best game.  When it comes to action, however, too many don't affiliate or move things forward, even at the mildy left level.  My applause for all those who struggle and lose.  At least they struggle.  Maybe they'll find the key.

      Bob Jacobson, Tucson, Arizona | "The spirit is to win in the heart of the enemy." -- Sun Tzu, Art of War, 6th BCE

      by Cyberoid on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:38:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Chinese aren't really "kicking our butts" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, lgmcp

        in the market.

        Frankly, I don't even know what communist means anymore.  The Chinese are communists and they're kicking butt in the market.  As for anti-Americanism, it seems to me that the Tea Party is plenty anti-American, yet no one calls them out as such.

        China and India used to account for something like 40% of the world GDP, so we're just seeing a return to historical norms. They have hundreds of millions in abject poverty, and they have a LONG way to go, even at the current rapid pace, to get anywhere near the US in per-capita economic measures.

        Something like 4% of the value added of an iPhone goes to China. Most of the parts are produced elsewhere and final assembly happens in a Chinese plant.

        I think our biggest problem is that we've grown so accustomed to "American exceptionalism" that we feel we no longer have to look hard at how we can innovate and be successful as a country.

        The Republicans are especially bad at this, but I see it a lot in progressive circles as well. We hear that if we can only take America back to the 60's and 70's things would be better. Now Republicans would like to take us back to the 1860's, so that's much worse.

        I kinda wish we could move beyond "OMG that other team is beating our team!" The world has changed, and simply walling off America isn't going to work.

        When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

        by PhillyJeff on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:21:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dude (0+ / 0-)

          I want American exceptionalism. I want to live in a nation where everything is just omg so fricking awesome. I want my kids and their grand kids to be born with every advantage of the richest most powerful nation in the world can provide.

          People often decry exceptionalism and seem to be happy that it is slowly fading away due to the stupids having a large hand in our modern society. This is sad... the duty of a citizen is to do everything to make their nation great....not to be happy at its slow pitiful dieing.  

      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nada Lemming

        The contradictions were heightened quite starkly in 2000.

        You can be on either side of the debate you want to be, but the diary's analysis is weak because it does not include the effect of Nader on the progressive psyche.

        All I've got is an orange blog, three paragraphs, and the truth.

        by Attorney at Arms on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:30:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •   Intentions and hard work won't have an effect if (21+ / 0-)

      They aren't  tried at all.

      I think the WI fight is the most important this year.  I'm tossing and ignoring all appeals from Senate and House candidates, plus Obama, and only giving to the WI races. They are the first and probably only chance to demonstrate that bodies can overcome money.  And they can, if it is done right.  When that is  over I might look at the rest, or just save my money for the recall of Walker.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:41:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you are in another state (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catfood

        and the legislature is close to becoming controlled by Republicans, by all means include those state legislative races in whatever giving and volunteering you can do.

        Iowa is one state senate seat from being Wisconsin.

        Take the pledge on Social Security

        by 2laneIA on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 06:47:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  An additional approach (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, wbgonne, bartcopfan

      If, very much along the lines of what Chris is presenting here,

      a) Legislators taking money-corrupted positions on issues was a way for them to lose an election, and
      b) Political observers knew, and admitted, that it was a way to lose an election, then
      c) Money corruption in politics would stop being a problem.

      Fundamental campaign finance reform, or having negative electoral consequences for money corruption: both are ways of addressing the problem.

    •  sadly, that won't happen until we regain the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scott5js

      majority, increase it and KEEP it.

      we can't do that by constantly attacking sitting dems!

      MOVE'EM UP! ROLL'EM OUT... MOVE'EM UP RAWHIDE!!! meeeoooow! mrraaarrr!! meeeOOOOOW!

      by edrie on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:36:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cart before the horse (0+ / 0-)

      You are not going more controls over campaign spending without an electorate that elects enough politicians who will enact them.
      The most important thing is to get more of our kind of voters.

    •  Connecticut bloggers were never so energized (0+ / 0-)

      since the Lamont/Lieberman campaign.

      We had the war issue, our dislike for Lieberman, the genius of John Orman's takeover of  the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, and the Kiss Float.  It all came together.

      Ingenuity + passion = success.  

    •  Each state shuld have a Citizens United referendum (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming

      ... on the ballot in 2012.

      If your state doesn't have referendum, put it on as a constitutional amendment.

      Remember how Rove put anti-gay initiatives in every swing state in 2004? Well, now it's our turn to get back at him by using state referenda for a progressive purpose.

      It will bring progressives to the polls and force candidates to  be with us or with the corporatists.

    •  California 2010: Democratic sweep (0+ / 0-)

      Remember 2010 when Whitman and Fiorina lost their big-money races, and Democrats swept all the state-wide offices?

      And NY26, the Democrat won despite odds.

      I don't honestly think it is a matter of policies or electoral strategy or better candidates . . . I think it is all about money.  
    •  Grayson was a liberal (0+ / 0-)

      How did he do?

      How bout Russ F?

      How bout Ned Lamaont?

      They were all progressives and they all got killed...by conservatives.

      Liberals have no power because they have NO POWER in elections.  Liberals do not elect polticians.  Moderates elect politicians.  Except in the south and certain big cities.  Otherwise congress will be filled with moderates.  Moderates are no liberals.

    •  Yer full of crap! (0+ / 0-)

      What is needed is  FUNDAMENTAL EDUCATION.  An educated and rational person cannot be a Republican and will always see the lies for what they are.  It is unfortunate that the "progressives" always focus on the universities when the majority of the voters never go there.  The conservatives were smart enough to focus on the K12 system, reducing the education one receives in civics and not allowing any economics at all.  Given a minimal understanding of government and macro economics there would be no hope whatsoever for the conservatives. They could run propaganda campaigns on mass media till they puked and it would do not good. Yet the rank and file "progressives" have no clue about such subjects as macro economics and the rationale/intent behind the design of their own government  either.

      The "chairs" of economics are funded by people who are wealthy and powerful.  So by the time you reach the university level, yer screwed.

  •  very sad, but true (7+ / 0-)

    We need to create some kind of stronger force-field in the progressive direction.

    And, convey the meme that Progressive progress is forward and the opposite is regress.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:07:18 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps progressives should stop (27+ / 0-)

    voting for those that won't stand up for their principles?

    -7.5 -7.28, Democratic Socialism...It's not just for Europeans.

    by Blueslide on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:08:04 PM PDT

    •  Seconded. I will walk precincts for primary (13+ / 0-)

      challengers against DINOs anywhere I can drive to. Not only do elections have consequences, but the votes of the elected have consequences, too. That's what we haven't communicated to our Democratic representatives.

      "Somehow our slogan 'We’ll protect YOUR Medicare, but your kids are screwed' never really caught on."

      by BobSmith415 on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:26:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Running for office means marketing (3+ / 0-)

        The bottom line realities tend to mean looking at surveys that show demographically, where voters are at.

        There are various sub groups in a population and they can be defined in consumer marketing terms or in political terms.

        The people who vote are a subset of the population and have a typical profile versus those who don't vote.

        Those who don't vote, simply are invisible and irrelevant to this process.

        Resources are allocated to reaching those who do vote.  Even more importantly, the most important resource allocation decisions come from figuring out who could be persuaded that may be on the fence.  This always boils down to the people who are likely to swing either way.  Thus, the decisions that get made are usually about what affects people in the demographic groups that can be identified as likely swing voters.  Everything is trained on reaching them.

        Progressives are not swing voters.  Unfortunately, there is a factor that proves out as among non voters.  

        What has to happen has to begin way before an election cycle.  There has to be a public education campaign that is ongoing and which seeks to work to engage the non voter and the swing voter so that, as campaigns ramp up, those issues that have been worked show up on the radar screen.

        When a campaign begins, it is too late for this.  Then, the system falls back on the same old same old.  

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:49:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Umm...thank you? I knew that long before I (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, Blueslide, blueoasis

          went to DFA Training Camp, thanks again.

          "Somehow our slogan 'We’ll protect YOUR Medicare, but your kids are screwed' never really caught on."

          by BobSmith415 on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:59:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What did you gain from DFA Training? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            v2aggie2

            My comment was not addressed to someone who is well schooled, but to those who seem not to be.  

            How do we get to a better place from a lack of skill based knowledge without trying to foster a better state of knowledge that can be general in the community?

            It would not seem to do a lot of good for a few people just to say that they have received inspiration, without figuring out how to share it.  That is actually a challenge.  

            hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

            by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:26:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That works on so many levels... (13+ / 0-)

      But the problem is that politicians simply don't learn the lesson you intend.  No matter the stick you hit them with, the lesson they always seem to learn is 'head to the right'.  And we simply don't have the carrot they actually give a damn about - more money than is offered by the corporations.

      Aggravating in the extreme.

    •  What if they aren't offered a choice? (7+ / 0-)

      When you've got a choice between someone who can't be counted to stand up for Progressive principles all the time, and another that can always be counted on to vote against anything Progressive all the time, which one do you advice the Progressive to vote for?

      Do you see no difference between the two?

      The best choice, obviously, would be to offer the voters a candidate who will stand up for Progressive principles. How are you going to get those people as candidates? How are you planning to get them nominated?

      They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

      by Louise on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:40:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can't we write in another (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Florie, m00finsan, blueoasis

        Democrat to vote for? I want to vote so that they know I am interested and will not give up on my opportunity to select the person best qualified. If that means I need to write in another Democrat so I can vote Democratic, than so be it.

        One thing I will never do again is vote for a Democrat that I know will only support the status quo.

        -7.5 -7.28, Democratic Socialism...It's not just for Europeans.

        by Blueslide on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:52:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So there is no "lesser of two evils" for you (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sewaneepat, scott5js, auapplemac

          You would rather vote for someone with no chance of getting elected, even if it means the true fascist wins, then vote for someone who doesn't share your ideas of what to support.

          Does that mean you would rather live in a country completely controlled by the Republican corporatocracy, than live in a world where weak deal-making Democrats are involved? What benefit do you see to you or the country with that scenario?

          They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

          by Louise on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:01:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If I understand you (4+ / 0-)

            you should accept what's given to you.  That's what has led to such degradation of values within the Democratic Party.

            The mere act of voting for a marginally-better(?) candidate will not improve the situation.

            The situation will only improve when we first have someone to vote for — one who is truly our own — and then show ourselves willing to throw them to the wolves. Because if they get to Washington on our backs and then sell us out, that's exactly what they deserve.  Victory for a party without principles is...what?  What good is holding political office if you're not going to use it to do something?

            Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

            by Big River Bandido on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:25:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's not what I am saying at all (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              v2aggie2, GayHillbilly

              I have been saying repeatedly that if we don't have more and better Progressive candidates, we have no one but ourselves to blame. We are the people who actually have to go to the local Democratic meetings, to find out when the filing deadlines are for our states, to organize locally, to find people that are willing to run, and then run them.

              I agree with your third paragraph. But we cannot wait and jope and pray that we we have someone to vote for. There are very specific ways to get those people into the pipeline.

              Are Kossacks willing to do that work or not?

              They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

              by Louise on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:41:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  It's like the factory worker: (6+ / 0-)

            Things are tough, they have no benefits, they have no minimum wage, they have no security at all. But their family is just barely making it, they are hungry but not starving and there is a roof of sorts over their heads. However things are not getting better, and in fact they are getting worse. The owner just threatened to bring in new labor if everyone doesn't work on 80 hours per week.

            Does the worker go on strike, does the worker risk losing what little miserable existence they have for the possibility of no existence at all? Or does the worker settle for status quo?

            Because surely, you'd have to be a total idiot to stand up for what you believe in. Right? If anything, history shows that people who stick together and fight for their principles never, ever succeed.

            Right?

            •  So what are you planning to do? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              v2aggie2, GayHillbilly

              Let's say you don't get involved in local or state-wide politics. You don't help bring forward Progressive candidates, whether through primarying the DINOs or by working to re-elect Progressives already in office.Your contribution to this upcoming election cycle consists of participating in conversations, like these here on Kos.

              When you're in the voting booth in November 2012, you'll have choices before you. You think that none of the candidates, Republican or Democrat, suits your Progressive beliefs. What do you do? Write in someone you like? Vote for a third party candidate (as yet undeclared)? Or just sit it out?

              "People who stick together and fight for their principles" of course succeed. But they have to be organized, diligent and stick to a strategy that works. What's your strategy?

              It can't just be hope to luck that other people's choices for the candidates are good enough. If we want a Progressive slate, we will have to make it happen ourselves. Now is the time to start planning how we do that.

              They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

              by Louise on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:57:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Spot on Louise (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Louise, sviscusi, GayHillbilly
            Does that mean you would rather live in a country completely controlled by the Republican corporatocracy, than live in a world where weak deal-making Democrats are involved? What benefit do you see to you or the country with that scenario?

            I really believe that a good % of the people on DKOS actually would rather live in a scenario where Republicans control everything than to actually be in the majority with Dems the way they are now.

            Getting a progressive majority takes time. We can't simply wave our wands and get an ultra-progressive House, Senate and Presidency.

            Electing more Dems, even if they're Blue Dogs, moves the country left and gives us a better opportunity to get truly progressive representatives elected. Progress won't be instantaneous, but we move in the right direction.

            President Obama is less progressive than most of us would like. But he's more progressive than Bill Clinton, and obviously far more progressive than Bush.

            Once America sees that Obama hasn't turned America into North Korea or some crazy socialist nightmare, they'll be much more willing to elect a more progressive pres in 2016.

            Kinda wish progressives would catch onto this.

            When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

            by PhillyJeff on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:28:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  We survived eight years of Republican fascism (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nada Lemming, blueoasis, Rick Aucoin

            and it simply is not my fault that mainstream Democrats cannot affect real change. Why do I have to vote for who I am told to vote for? How is that not fascism?

            I don't know how to improve the Democratic Party except to vote for Democrats that will support my beliefs. Voting for the ones that are deemed "acceptable", "electable" or "centrist" by some unknown party head is a dead end.

            -7.5 -7.28, Democratic Socialism...It's not just for Europeans.

            by Blueslide on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 04:07:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If I accepted your fatalism (0+ / 0-)

              then I would not have Bernie Sanders for my Senator. He is not a Democrat (although the party doesn't challenge him), and I could care less. You see, sometimes the best Democrats aren't technically Democrats.

              When you force yourself to choose failure, you will fail.

              -7.5 -7.28, Democratic Socialism...It's not just for Europeans.

              by Blueslide on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 04:12:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Blueslide, are you willing to do more? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rick Aucoin

                You are fortunate to live in Vermont. I am not fatalistic, but I am realistic. In order to have better and more Progressives in Congress, we all have to work together in order to guarantee that they are on the ballot.

                Would you be willing to work with me to organize a project whereby Kossacks volunteer to do the work needed in their states to get Progressives on the ballot, running as Progressives? We face this question every election: do we vote for the Republicans who want to destroy America, or Democrats who don't fight hard enough for it?

                Frankly I do not believe that this country will survive another round of Republican fascism. The parks will all be sold off, the educational system privatized,and - worst of all - there will be wras of much worse effect than even those three we have now, Are you really willing to risk it?

                They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

                by Louise on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 04:20:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Blueside sees it the same way as you, I think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Blueslide

        The problem, as both of you say, is those in the party who don't stand up for principles, or what's important.  

        As I understand Blueside's point, it doesn't do any good to continue giving these scumbags your vote — if you do, they don't learn anything except "I must be really popular in my district".  Even with all the corruption rampant in politics, the voter still retains the right to withhold his or her vote. It's drastic, yes, but if you have no true choice, why reward mediocrity?  

        Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

        by Big River Bandido on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:54:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is it a "reward to mediocrity", or a choice? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RandomNonviolence

          If there is no more Progressive candidate to vote for, what is wrong with voting for the most Progressive of the choices given?

          The ideal situation would be to work to actually get a Progressive candidate nominated. Are we ready to actually do that work - to learn the nominating deadlines in our state, to work through the Democratic Party, to find and nominate Progressive candidates in the Democratic primary?

          They may not all win, but enough of them will to raise the entire level in the Congress. With enough of them, we could actually win back Congress and make the Progressive Caucus a real power in domestic politics.

          But it will take more than just pulling a lever.

          They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

          by Louise on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:05:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  yes (0+ / 0-)

      People should do a lot of things, but just saying "should" has never really done much to motivate people.

      A lot of people will support almost any Democrat because they are (rightly so) very scared of Republicans and what they will do when they set the agenda.

      I don't think you can just dismiss that urge. After all, not listening to that kind of reasoning, is, arguably, what gave us Bush in the first place.

      We know we won't do better than Obama in 2012. And thinking otherwise is delusional .

      The question remains, "should" aside: how do we get people who have a bit of PTSD about doing so vote more ideologically?

      Bowers says through some kind of pundit manipulation. Maybe he's right. Then again, it's been guys like him leading us for the last several years.

      All I've got is an orange blog, three paragraphs, and the truth.

      by Attorney at Arms on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:45:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, I'd say that progressives should throw (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rick Aucoin, catfood

      at least SOME Dems under the bus, in the general election. IMO, this should be done in an organized fashion. Viz., a competent political game theorist can recommend which Dems should have their careers ended, even if it means suffering the loss of their seat to a Republican for an election cycle or two. However, at the end of the day, you want your progressive Dem voting bloc to vote on which Dems to target, taking the political game theorist's recommendations as just a guideline.

      My best guesstimate of what % of "worst of the worst Dems" to aim for is 5-10%. That is a guess, which I in no way calculated. (Actually, I've suggested a more refined voting strategy, which targets "worst of the band", where there are 4 or 5 levels of "progressiveness". Don't want to discuss that here, though.)

      Speaking of competent political game theorists, I put the question to Bueno de Mesquita, who the NY Times wrote about, and whose record is twice as accurate as the CIA's own analysts, about whether or not lesser evilist voting strategy is indeed stupid, as I have claimed.

      The answer to my question, gentle reader, can be found in The Jesus Christ of Political Game Theory on the Stupidity of Lesser Evilist Voting

  •  Now you are talking! (15+ / 0-)

    Completely concur with the strategic vision here.

    One quibble -- please don't call politicians who want to police women's bodies "pro-life." Those who would legislate against our controlling our bodies are authoritarians, usually of the theocratic variety. They want to kill living women's lives and choices in support of their abstract notions.

  •  The right wing goes for the gut, and the throat (22+ / 0-)

    Fucking liberals and "progressives" play nice and go all intellectual.

    The right wing deals in fear. They make legislators afraid of opposing them. Fucking liberals and "progressives" think they are too "evolved" to "sink to that level." "We're better than that," they say, sneering down their noses.

    That's why we lose. That is really, honestly at the root of it, and I speak from a lifetime of partisan political activism.

    Our Democratic elected officials need to be told, and told in no uncertain terms, with passion in our voices, that if they cave to the right wing, there will be bloody hell to pay. and then we have to back it up.

    They need to be told that even if it means losing those seats. We have to think in the long run here. We need to multiply Blanche Lincoln by 100.  

    "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

    by Ivan on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:12:45 PM PDT

    •  Oh, and Chris (20+ / 0-)

      Quit using the term "pro-life," and start now. That's THEIR term. We're ALL "pro-life," get it? That lot is just anti-abortion.

      I told that to one anti-abortion woman once, and I thought she was going to claw my eyeballs out. "I'M PRO LIFE," she screamed at me. "YOU'RE A BABY KILLER!"

      "No I'm not, lady," I replied. "And you're not 'pro-life' any more than I am. You're just a god damn fetus fascist."

      But see, I'm not "civil." I'm confrontational, and I'm not always "nice." But candidates I volunteer for and organize for in campaigns don't usually lose elections, either.

      "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

      by Ivan on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:18:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sigh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        r2did2

        Foe starters, liberals should stop correcting each others' spelling. We all know what pro-life is and isn't. It doesn't help actually win that fight.

        All I've got is an orange blog, three paragraphs, and the truth.

        by Attorney at Arms on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:32:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree; Orwell was correct, RE: language (0+ / 0-)

          It's taken me 30 years, but the "forced birther" side (who love to call us "baby killers") is made up of woman-killers.

          It is imperative that progressives have accurate, assertive, emotive, and powerful language to counter the debate-skewing framing and BS firehose deployed by our opponents.  (I even have to watch myself--in the interest of saving a few letters, I originally said Orwell was right in my subject line.)

          We have to start the long, slow, ever-necessary job of pulling the Overton Window back in our direction.

          "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

          by bartcopfan on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 01:29:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  First comment on this: (7+ / 0-)

    It has been shown that Democratic politicians who see a Democratic candidate lose to a Republican will tack to the right, even if the loss was because of liberals "staying home"--witness the "enthusiasm gap" of 2010.  There was an interesting article (I forgot where it is) which said that the response of Democrats is always to shift rightward, and NOT to shift leftward.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:15:12 PM PDT

    •  Easiest comment in the world. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden

      Those guys are insanely stupid.

    •  A lot of that (5+ / 0-)

      is due to the stranglehold of a few corrupt media consultants in Washington, who run a dirty mafia of sorts when it comes to Democratic campaigns, and who do just as well when Democrats lose as when they win.  They are blind to the country's needs or anything else which is ancillary to their business concerns.  They have consistently used their positions as "party spokesmen" to undermine the party's values at every turn, for decades.  Anything goes that doesn't impact their bottom line.

      In my view, one reform that must be made:  campaign consultants should no longer be allowed to reap reward from electoral failure.  Perhaps consultants should be paid on contingency:  if you win, you get a share of the spoils.  If you lose, tough shit, pal...that's what you get for running such a lousy campaign.

      Oh speaking of that, why do we keep going back to those same losers, anyway?  It couldn't be that some members of Congress actually want losers running Democratic campaigns, could it?

      Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

      by Big River Bandido on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:08:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Republican politicians who lose (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, zenbassoon

      also tack to the right. Its a wonder we haven't fallen off the edge of the world by this point.

      When I perceive the fight to be rigged, I don't wanna grow up. The Ramones

      by tgrshark13 on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:01:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing Happens till Liberals Create Machinery (23+ / 0-)

    to create candidates rather than much passively dealing with candidacies the party creates.

    The party is not a progressive party; it is not a reality party.

    It's never going to deal seriously with climate change or the declining middle class or trade imbalance, or taking any major policy back to before Reaganomics, left to itself.

    The party is not going to create progressive candidates.

    To that extent, the American Experiment is concluded. For democracy and a sustainable middle-class-benefitting economy to thrive here from now forward, a new approach has got to be taken.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:16:55 PM PDT

  •  I have been wondering how to get pols to fear us. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobSmith415

    And you have the most persuasive argument yet. NY- 26 was sweeter than the Lamont victory for me. Maybe because it more recent and occured in my home state. Let's clean up Wisconsin and show these conservative jackasses that government is bad when they are in control. But we don't have endure their crap forever.

    "Live as if you will die tomorrow. Learn as if you will live forever.", Mohandas Gandhi

    by Bubbatoby on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:17:07 PM PDT

  •  Oh, I have seen the light (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, James Allen, sviscusi

    you are right. We need to go after them when they don't support every piece of the agenda.

    I now think punishing Sherrod Brown with 350.org is the right thing to do. I don't care if he voted for the the EPA's right to regulate greenhouse gasses.

    He must be punished.

    Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

    by mem from somerville on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:17:36 PM PDT

  •  Second comment on this: (3+ / 0-)

    Democrats are also cognizant of what happens when Republicans get into power, that they will vote for the Democrat no matter how conservative said Democrat is.

    I believe, for instance, a REAL Liberal could be a Senator from Nebraska.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:19:33 PM PDT

  •  Not to early to think about 2016 (6+ / 0-)

    I agree with your argument.

    A corollary to it is that there is entirely too much emotionalism in mucn of what has been the Netroots' approach to politics up to now.

    Go to any progressive web site and you'll see remarks like this:

    I'm so disillusioned, I'll never vote again.

    Barack Obama destroyed my ideals.

    I could never vote for someone who betrayed me.

    etc. etc.

    But it's not all about you, singular.

    Now lest I be accused of being an Obama-bot, let me say that I agree with most if not all of the critiques of Obama from the left.  He has been a bitter bill to swallow.

    But sometimes you have to swallow the pill.  I think that despite all the bloviation on the subject, at the end of the day, 2012 comes down to voting for Obama or staying  home and I think most will vote for Obama, holding their nose though they may.

    We are stuck with this situation.  Poll numbers aside, money talks and we need to know what we are up against.

    And so, Chris, another question we have to ask about 2012, is (assuming an Obama victory for the moment), how do we build the progressive bench for 2016?

    Where are the races where we can elect some stand-out progressives?  Who will be emerging from Wisconsin as the well-known voices of that movement?  We need to have a progressive beachhead after 2012 that can take it to the corporate Dems after this election.  It's not too early to be thinking like that.

    sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

    by stivo on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:19:34 PM PDT

    •  'But it's not all about you, singular.' Exactly. (5+ / 0-)

      No political loss is going to happen because of anyone who states

      I'm so disillusioned, I'll never vote again.

      Barack Obama destroyed my ideals.

      I could never vote for someone who betrayed me.

      Any such loss will only occur if MANY MANY people feel the same way.  At which point, the obvious way to point fingers is at the politician who has done such a crappy job that they inspire MANY MANY people to feel that way about them.

      If one person (or only a few) feel the need to make such statements, you're fine.  If enough do that you lose, then obviously you really should have paid more attention to not having made them feel that way.

      •  I can't really tell if you're agreeing with me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        or disagreeing.

        But I'm not talking about the Monday morning quarterback scenario.  If Obama loses because the base stays home, then recriminations will abound, legitimately.  And it may take generations to get past them.  But I don't want to go there unless I have to.

        We need a long term view and a short term view.  And we need to ask WHY Obama is so disappointing?  I believe it's because the right wing has a power-base in money that is more than a match for the fact that poll numbers show the popularity of this or that progressive policy.

        And that power base is very well represented, thank you, in the Democratic Party, as Chris says.

        Therefore, I believe that if there is an Obama victory in 2012, there is going to be an eruption of conflict within the Democratic Party between what I'll call the "Wisconsin Democrats" and the "Wall Street Democrats".  We need to understand that fight and view things through the lens of what strengthens the Wisconsinites.

        The same fight will occur if he loses, but it will be much harder to sustain, more disspiriting, more difficult.

        sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

        by stivo on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:55:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Post-election (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          m00finsan, blueoasis

          there ought to be recriminations, if the party loses.  Indeed, I think we would have been better off had we had more of these so-called recriminations in the wake of our biggest recent losses.  

          The time to have an intraparty fight is after a big election loss. That's one of the biggest opportunities to change course.

          Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

          by Big River Bandido on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:39:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My point is (0+ / 0-)

            it's needed after a win too.

            Maybe not called recriminations in that case, but there needs to be a power struggle for the future direction.   Then, the  argument isn't over "weakening Obama" but over the future direction.

            sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

            by stivo on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 04:56:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Various problems... (6+ / 0-)

    The GOTV system arose in the '70s because it was very manageable and worked.  It works even better today.

    But, what almost no one seems to notice is that it arose because of the need to address the condition that we all live with, the media.

    It has also become a creature of the media.

    Thus, the reason and purpose for volunteering for a campaign is now to fulfill a production line purpose.  Again, it works to win elections, so why criticize something that works?

    Mainly because it prevents the process from engaging in the really important thinking about real purposes that is so needed.  Candidates are given limitations and constant run downs on how the game is played and how to win through accepting the limitations.  

    Given the true nature of the problems that are faced in this country, most politics, campaigns and candidates accept too easily these limitations.  

    Thus, conservatives, oddly, sound more real.

    I have been involved in campaigns where people were proud to raise the progressive banner, but were unable to rise to the challenge of really articulating what the realities that we face as a society are and how to navigate towards a better future.  Instead, the formulas from the filing cabinet were applied which have been stale for years already.  

    Progressives need to be innovative thinkers whose value is that they are not afraid to talk about reality in Founding Father, cut to the bone terms.  

    Formulas from the past 30 years need serious and critical evaluation between elections.

    I really appreciate this series under the banner of thinking big.  

    One of the great potentials here in this blog site, is to develop an ability to break through the old conventionalisms and to discover new ways forward.  There needs to be more of this.  In fact, it could become a kind of grassroots, open source think tank.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:19:43 PM PDT

  •  It is because of the Church (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, blueoasis

    Religious organizations are an effective way to organize people, and they believe their leaders are divinely inspired.  There is nothing on the Progressive side that can contend with that kind of force.  Progressive will never handover reason and their free will to a religious organization that can shout down marching orders.

    Moreover, people will never be as passionate about politics as they are about religion.  And for conservatives religion and politics are just one in the same.  Progressives will never be able to compete with something like that.

    •  so you never heard of the Rev Barry Lynn or the (6+ / 0-)

      Rev Martin Luther King or the Rev Jessie Jackson, huh.

      •  Are you really that deluded? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        It is a demonstrable fact that the vast majority of strong church goers are conservative.  That fact that you don't know such an established fact makes me wonder whether you are intentionally being deceptive, because I would be floored that someone who frequents a political blog wouldn't know such a basic fact about politics.

        •  No, I'm not deluded. And unlike you . . . (0+ / 0-)

          I'm smart enough to know the difference between "religion" and "fundamentalism".

          They're not the same.

          I apologize if that concept is too difficult for you.

          •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

            55% of frequent church goers are conservative and only 27% are liberal.
            http://www.gallup.com/...

            So the devout are two times likely to be conservative.  Your delusion knows no bounds.

            •  whatever. (0+ / 0-)

              I think your antireligion campaign is a Quixotic waste of time. And I think you still can't tell the difference between "religion" and "fundamentalism". Heck, you're too dumb even to realize that most religious people don't live in America--and think the fundies are nutty. (shrug)

              Oh, and before you give me the atheist sermons, save your breath. I don't believe in any god, gods, or goddesses.

              •  Just citing statistics (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pot

                You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

                •  you should look at your facts again. (0+ / 0-)

                  If only 55% of churchgoers are conservative, that leaves 45% who are not.  And since atheists make up, at most, 15% of the population, we progressives can't get elected dogcatcher without those 45%.  That's why equating "religion" with "fundamentalism" is idiotic.

                  In politics, one attacks people who are on the other side.  Attacking people who are on OUR side, is really really stoopid.

                  So stop doing it. You're not helping anything.

                  •  only 27% are liberal (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pot

                    the rest are moderate or refuses to answer.

                    Moreover 78% of weekly church goers are anti-gay rights (i.e. want to treat homosexuals like second class citizens).
                    http://www.gallup.com/...

                    No one is saying that the Democratic party should bash them.  But you need to recognize the fact that religious people are harmful to society, and I have the stats to back that up.

                    •  so what. (0+ / 0-)

                      Most of the Dem party's not liberal either.  (shrug) Fact remains that we can't win elections without the "moderates". If you think atheists can win elections with just 15% of the population, then your math is just as idiotic as your, uh, political strategy is.

                      And I'm not talking about "the Democratic Party" bashing them--I'm talking about YOU. "The Democratic Party" isn't stoopid enough to do that.  You are.

                      You have statistics to show that FUNDAMENTALIST people are harmful to society, not religious people.  You're just too dumb to tell the difference.

                      But please feel free to point out what harm you think the Rev Barry Lynn or the Rev Martin Luther King Jr have done to the country . . . .  .

                      I'll be polite and not point to the human rights record of the only countries in history that were officially and legally atheist.

  •  You know, I think it's more simple than that (9+ / 0-)

    There is a regressive economic majority in Washington, composed of the GOP, and far too many coin operated Democrats.

    That division can even be seen here, with plenty of people defending free market, and by definition trickle down economic policy.

    Essentially, they are putting the needs of corporations above the needs of the people, and that needs to stop.

    Progressives not only need to think big, in terms of fights, but in terms of scale.

    We need to take the party, period.  So long as the party establishment leadership will entertain regressive economic ideas, we lose.  We will always lose, because the two parties can play games with the fact that people do not understand the difference between a progressive Democrat, and Democrats overall.

    Progressive Democrats are liberal socially, and they are progressive economically, seeking to value people properly in both their person and their labor.

    Democrats are liberal socially, but moderate to regressive economically, valuing people in their person properly, but failing to value their labor, placing business first.

    A great example of this was Wyden and Smith in Oregon.  For years, Smith was the economic regressive, while Wyden could present as the economic progressive.  Of course, their votes cancelled, leaving the door open for Wyden to be a strong progressive economic advocate, without really having to stand up for that, due to how he and Smith could game the limited party definition.

    When Smith got kicked, and we elected the strong Progressive Merkley, what did Wyden do?

    Did he reach out and start to push with Merkley?

    No.

    He said, "Bi-partisan legislation is my TOP priority."

    Why?

    So he could shift the game from the local Republican, Smith, onto the GOP as a whole, avoiding the need to put himself into conflict with that regressive economic majority.  He's not been anywhere near the progressive economic advocate he was, because now he would have to act on it, and that action would carry weight, because Merkley would not cancel his vote nicely like Smith would have.

    Here in Oregon, we hear almost nothing from our strong Progressive, and it makes me worry, because Merkley is a great progressive, who gets basically NO airtime.

    He runs against that majority, and is paying for it, where Wyden technically isn't, and that difference is going to matter in the up and coming elections because Citizen United is going to mean a lot of money will go to funding attractive regressives, socially liberal or not.

    That is what Progressives need to think about, organize around, and start to contribute toward.

    We need to be putting dollars into our people every single month, and into our movement every single month, because we've got to be self-sustaining, so we can grow to check that regressive economic majority.

    It holds the party purse, and it won't fund anything that will actually present a material challenge.

    Many people today do not understand the difference between progressive dems, and just dems, and are frustrated at the lack of spine, competence, you name it!

    All games.  They know how to deal, and they understand that as good as the GOP does.

    It's not a competence problem at all.  The GOP is aligned with the regressives, because it is regressive as a party.  That's where their strength comes from, because THEY KNOW a lot of Dems are regressive too, only being social liberals.

    We are weak, because we are divided economically, and that too is what progressives and Americans in general need to understand.

    Why are Democrats strong socially?  Because they have social unity on their side, same as the GOP has economic unity on their side.

    Progressives are aligned with the American people on both social and economic matters.  The Democratic party as a whole, IS NOT.

    IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

    by potatohead on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:22:32 PM PDT

  •  The fact that both Dems and the GOP (6+ / 0-)

    run against the liberal base is an infuriating state of affairs … thanks for the ideas on how to correct it.

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” ― Emma Goldman

    by Code Monkey on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:23:13 PM PDT

  •  Third comment: (4+ / 0-)

    On a national Congressional level, it's all about primaries.  Winning primaries will put the Party Leadership on notice.  They will shift to us, unless the winning candidate gets sucked into the Party system.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:23:41 PM PDT

    •  Thank you! I have worked on so many "losing" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon

      primary campaigns, I could spit! Can we find a way to organize the progressive base to seriously challenge the entrenched corpratist DINOs?

      The diarist provides a good starting point.

      "Somehow our slogan 'We’ll protect YOUR Medicare, but your kids are screwed' never really caught on."

      by BobSmith415 on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:34:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  neglected point about Lieberman-Lamont . . . . . (13+ / 0-)

    The party backed Lieberman anyway even though he lost the primary.

    The party is not on our side. Never has been. Probably never will be.

  •  Jumping Jupiter people! (12+ / 0-)

    Think it through for heaven's sake.

    Poll after poll shows majorities wanting the "left" position on issue after issue. The 'left" is the center everywhere but...

    Mass media, which sets ALL of our political narratives about candidates and issues; which determines which candidates and issues get mentioned and which not.

    This is not complex. First, abandon the little ghetto of "left" or "progressive" or "liberal" which you've been assigned. We have no stake in pretending our positions are not the Center, when they are.

    It's only Media Narrative, and the follow-along in DC, which makes "up" to be "down" and "Majority" to be "fringe."

    You really want "liberal" outcomes? Then please read this, pause, gather your memories, reflect, and reason, about everything you've seen in political outcomes for the last 20 years and more:


    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:36:48 PM PDT

    •  Polls do not equal votes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      v2aggie2

      How long are we going to keep pointing to certain polls that suggest people are disposed to our ideas while ignoring they don't vote that way?

      We also ignore polling that clues us into why the focus on the deficit has remained a priority, despite the overall concern about jobs.

      Favorable polls don't mean much if people aren't voting as they are polling. It might give us the appearance of some kind of authority, but it is all about getting the votes to get power and then doing what is necessary to hold power. Persuasion=more votes=sustained power=more liberal outcomes.

      That, I respectfully suggest, is what people should," gather your memories, reflect, and reason, about".

      "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

      by sebastianguy99 on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:45:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You miss the point, though. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bartcopfan

        How do you persuade when the organ of persuasion is completely in the hands of people who decide what is allowed and not allowed on the media.

        When the media decides what the topics discussed are and how they are treated.

        After the 1st year in Iraq, it was over 60% who said "no WMD in Iraq." Then there was a concerted media push, with experts on the air saying "Saddam gave them to Syria, Russia, dismantled them..." and the numbers went 50-50.

        Difference: Media controls persuasive information and technique.

        There's no politician with persuasive ability if the media brands them as a nut right out of the gate.

        Howard Dean, polling 2nd in the Dem primary race. Then,  "Dean Scream" -- a clip where Dean sounds maniacal because they are using his crowd-noise suppression microphone -- runs 24/7 for 3 days. One week later, Dean polling last.

        Look at the poll data in December 2010: 7% consider the deficit important. 7%! Then there's a blitz started of talking heads telling everyone who crucial the deficit is (though it isn't.) Now it shoots up.

        It doesn't matter what you or the Democratic Party says it wants to persuade people. What matters is that a handful of corporations will supply a narrative, and that will influence outcomes.

        This is what I'm talking about. This is the inarguable center of our political life, the driver of our political outcomes, this media power of persuasion and obfuscation.

        It was true 20 years ago, it was true in Nov 2010, it will be true tomorrow:


        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:48:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, we ARE the majority! (0+ / 0-)

      I totally agree! What's on TV is a strange soap opera, that is all. We've got to own up to our magnificence and claim the word LIBERAL – how is that not a good word?! But okay, we can go with PROGRESSIVE. People agree with US but not with the mealy-mouthed common Democrat. Do we need a new party?

      2) Why do the talking heads give so much time to Sarah? It's amazing. And now, why have they fallen in love with Michelle Bachmann? Is there something "appealing" about the domineering but not too bright woman? I don't understand.

      3) Why did Howard Dean say Sarah Palin could win???

    •  The answer to the "media" problem is quite simple (0+ / 0-)

      Just don't watch it.  

      Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

      by Big River Bandido on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:49:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  250 million people do, and did hear/see (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        m00finsan, bartcopfan

        "John Kerry is a coward and liar about his awards," and then a percentage go to vote. I'm not sure how me not watching the most powerful and widespread communication apparatus in the history of humanity has anything to do with anything.


        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:32:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Take just one example--public option (7+ / 0-)

    Almost all Dems supported it and voted for it. It only took one Dem to knock it out of the legislation, and, of course we had only 5-6 Dems who, out of fear of losing their re-election bids, caved on it. So, let's see---54-55 Dem senators held firm on the public option and enough to pass a strong PO in the House. So I fail to see how your thesis is correct.

    If you say reconciliation would have remedied that, I say that it would have only been useful if HCR was passed piecemeal; that too many items in HCR were not related to revenue and would have been ruled to be outside of the permissible ambit for a reconciliation bill---for example, medical loss ratio, pre-existing conditions, annual and lifetime caps, etc.; none of these items would have made the cut, and they were all very important.

    Now, would things have been different if health care was moved much more quickly---Republican style; hard to say; that was a tactical mistake; Obama failed to push Baucus really hard early on to just get a bill quickly marked up; but in the end I'm not sure if the same 5 or so Dems would have voted for it, though and it had 0 Repub votes.

    Now take energy; the same is true; it passed the House (weaker than we'd like, but not totally unpalatable). Lindsay Graham, seeing the handwriting on the wall (that is, seeing his own reelection chances slipping away if he continued to support the bill) bailed along with all other Republicans. The bill died. It also had maybe 5 Dems or so from oil-producing states who would not have signed on.

    My point is that more than 90% of all Dems elected to Congress have voted consistently to pass the bills we all agree are crucial for a truly progressive agenda.

    There's little we can do about the other 10%, who are from states which will not elect progressives. We can work our butts off to get progressive candidates in these states and I think the net results will be that we'll win primaries and lose the generals and I'm not convinced we can change the terms of debate, which is what's really needed in this country.

    Fact is that we need real public pressure, as we're seeing in WI, OH, MI, even AZ (with Pearce recall) to move the Overton window back in the direction on sanity. Right now it's fine to be insane because there are even more insane people to the right of almost any position now. You wannna talk secession---no problem; go ahead, and then run for President, Rick; no one will hold it against you that you're basically talking about being a traitor to the US.

    As the President and his minions keep saying, our job is to apply as much pressure as we can to get the public on our side---to make them demand the kinds of changes that will actually benefit them. We need to galvanize other like-minded people, to educate people who are being seriously screwed by what's happening in Washington, to articulate the issues in a way that resonates with ordinary people (yes, "The Republican Plan to KILL Medicare" is the way it should be sold, for example). We have to get as good as wingnuts at this.

    Obama can certainly help by moving totally into campaign mode at this point; why not? That's all Repub candidates are doing---attacking him. But we have to take matters into our own hands as well and I think that trying to pressure Obama, while it has its benefits, has proven less effective than applying that same energy in places like...WI.

    •  you're talking about one vote in Congress (0+ / 0-)

      at the end of a bargaining process of writing the bill.  

      The real decisions were made weeks before that vote, in votes that weren't even close.

      Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

      by Big River Bandido on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:50:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Totally true (0+ / 0-)

        And totally irrelevant. Those really big decisions don't change the narrative. Between 53 and 55 Dems supported the Public Option at all times and most House Dems supported and voted for it (where it passed). A few Dem Senators didn't support it. Their motive was generally fear. Reconciliation wasn't possible. The leadership was desperate to pass something. We almost got something better than a weak PO (which would be a disaster IMO---Medicare for those under 55). A last minute Lieberman flip plus (I think) Lincoln's opposition on this killed it's chance. This would have been far better than HCR with a toothless PO.

        Most Senate Dems do vote aye on progressive positions.

        A groundswell of grass roots support on just about anything is what can win the day. We had the opposite on HCR---an outpouring of crazy whipped up by wingnut politicians and Astroturf groups. We need to be twice as large and vocal as them to get the same coverage but....well, that's what we need.

    •  Excellent Analysis! (0+ / 0-)

      well done

      Barack Obama for President '08

      by v2aggie2 on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 05:44:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Swinging Voters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    evergreen2
    A more credible counter to the belief that pushing progressive policy damages candidates is that most swing voters don't make decisions based on the perceived ideological orientation of the legislation that candidates have supported. Instead, when times are getting worse, the governing party gets booted from swing districts. When times are getting better, the governing party wins swing states and districts. So, if progressive policy can result in more voters feeling their lives were improving, then Democrats who oppose that policy do real electoral damage to themselves.

    Theoretically, at least, swing voters are pragmatists. As pragmatists, they may be "turned off" by what they percieve as ideological partisanship. So, at some level, the progressive message has to be communicated in a non-partisan way over a long period of time for it to sink in and start to change the way swing voters perceive partisan candidates.
    •  I have a different theory. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, James Allen, m00finsan, pot

      Swing voters are underinformed and disengaged, and vote for with no particular ideology, but simply whoever appeals to them in the moment, whether through pleasant soundbites or photogenic nature.

      •  There is no large group of swing voters (4+ / 0-)

        Most independents lean either Democrat or Republican, and act as if they are partisans.  Pollsters lump them together, so it looks like a group of moderate voters who swing back and forth, but the same would be true if you lumped partisans together.  

        Also, the engagement of voters is a product of the organization of parties.  The decline in engagement since the 1970s was caused by a shift to big media strategies and away from more traditional party approaches.

        •  Probably there is in suburban areas (0+ / 0-)

          It is hard to generalize.  I agree with David Kaib that the 1970s say a shift to media strategies away from grass roots strategies and this has had a huge, and largely ignored, impact.  

          I live in a swing voter district.  It is suburban, a bit more affluent than average, with a pretty good minority component.  It is about evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, and swings back and forth given candidates and issues.

          These are not unengaged or unintelligent folks.  I think they filter out the ideological BS on either side to get the essence of what seems to be the pragmatic likely outcome.  

          An approach based on the perfect manifesto, be it progressive or conservative is likely to turn these people off.  One that is more intelligently constructed and that they recognize as based on reality is likely to get their vote.  

          Anyone who poor mouths swing voters is not likely to appeal to them.  Some of these at least, are among the most well educated and experienced people in the electorate.  Some of them, not so much.  They are a mixture of tendencies.  One should not simply lump them all in together as a monolithic "they."

          hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

          by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:21:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's not really swing voting, though, is it? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            David Kaib, chuckvw, m00finsan
            It is about evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, and swings back and forth given candidates and issues.

            The district may swing, but the voters themselves do not, from your description.  The number is just evenly balanced, so that a few people who miss voting for whatever reasons can shift it back and forth.

            'Swing voters' whether they exist, or are mythical, are supposed people who switch party votes fairly often.

        •  Good thought (0+ / 0-)

          I agree with that, especially the notion that the perception of the "swing" or "independent" voter is shaped by pollsters.

          I wonder what happens with these voters if you can change the central political narrative. Does that then alter voters perceptions of their own alignment and interests?  If the central narrative of environmental protection, for example, is that "dirty water destroys recreational areas", rather than "the EPA destroys jobs," how does that change the voter perception of an EPA supporting politician?

        •  There are definitely swing voters. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, James Allen

          Ticket splitters are a perfect example.  When I was a precinct captain, of the 1400+ votes cast in my precinct, the best Democratic candidate got an 800-600 split, and the worst got a 600-800 split.  That result simply does not happen without a population of swing voters who are not tied to party ideologies.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:46:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  "Democrats Who Voted For Reform (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99, Odysseus, m00finsan

    Did Better On Election Day Than Those Who Didn’t"

    http://www.alan.com/...

    DNC memo on health care reform:
    "Among those Democrats who faced competitive races, those who voted for the reforms fared significantly better than those who voted against it.

    Among the 93 competitive races that have been called, 67 featured Democrats who voted for reform and 25 featured Democrats who voted against reform.

    35 Democrats who voted for reform won re-election, while 32 did not, for a win percentage of 52%.

    8 Democrats who voted against reform won re-election, while 16 did not, for a win percentage of 33%.

    Also, among Democratic Senators facing re-election, only 2 of the 12 who voted for reform were defeated, Blanche Lincoln and Russ Feingold."

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/...

  •  dems lost in 2010 for doing nothing (6+ / 0-)

    whoever is trying to twist the narrative that the dems lost for not supporting conservative causes is part of the problem.

  •  It isn't rocket science, Chris. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Odysseus, m00finsan

    Maybe it's easier to see for those of us who are not so well-bread, connected, or school.  It's a very simple and powerful four letter word: J-O-B-S.

    To many of us, everything else pales in importance because jobs are what keep our families fed and our hopes for the future (especially those embodied by our children) alive.

    When you don't pay attention to that very basic reality, your agenda becomes easy to oppose.  "It'll kill more jobs", or even things like November,2010 -- the wake-up call that nobody seems to have gotten.

    In the end, political power comes from money, but it also comes from the ability and need to corral votes from the electorate.  It's much easier to oppose actions when the electorate will not punish you for your opposition.  A non-frightened and gainfully employed electorate will be more receptive to grand visions than one comprised of two many people who fear for their survival.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:57:32 PM PDT

  •  The Strategic Front End (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Odysseus, Florie, m00finsan, metamars

    I wonder how many people have been involved in the strategy, the message marketing, the candidate and consultant relationships at the front end of campaigning?

    The situation from such a perspective seems quite different from that depicted in many of the comments on this thread and many others on the Daily Kos blog.

    Over time, what has emerged as the problem to solve for me, is that the way this all works, dependent as it is on the expert system at the heart of all campaigning, has to be addressed.

    Usually it is not addressed, except through speculation that seems uninformed.

    One might say that there are two Democratic Parties.  One in which people participate who think they are accomplishing something, and the other in which people who actually make the decisions about what to do don't talk to the former set.

    Looking back at the way things have developed over the past 30 years or so, there are some lessons to be learned about how to innovate some improvements to the way the system is likely to continue to work, as a bifurcated reality.

    To me, the bigger picture is that there are urgencies behind the need to solve problems for America and the world that ought to motivate everyone to work harder to overcome the petty normalcy that most of our political system seems stuck in.  

    Those urgencies, however, are muted because the system we have for public education is a confused chaos of unintelligible rubbish on every level.

    One can point to various reasons for this, but it is.  If you want to start a campaign, you have to deal with the fact that you may not be able to bring issues you think are urgent out because the public doesn't have any preparation to hear the words you are saying.  

    You can't deal with that in a three month drive to election day.  You just can't.

    Over and over again, this gets demonstrated but we get caught up in the cycle anyway.

    What has to change is that progressives have to develop the focus and the discipline to go out and find innovative ways of reaching the public between elections.  

    This could mean going back to the old fashioned, pre media local organizing skills of our grandparents' time.  Or it could mean finding new ways to articulate what is at stake through new media.  Whatever it means, it means getting away from the conventional ways people think things must be done long enough to find breakthroughs.

    Otherwise, if nothing changes, nothing changes.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:04:12 PM PDT

    •  This was Dean's project (0+ / 0-)

      sadly aborted by the current leadership.

      Great comment.

      Whom do you blame more? The rattlesnake, or the bipartisan guy who put it in your sleeping bag?

      by chuckvw on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:35:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Few bloggers have real access (0+ / 0-)

        From what I can tell, not only do few bloggers have real access to the process for deciding about strategy and resource use, but few even know about the process.  This community really needs to rise to a new level of involvement in terms of how strategy may be shaped.

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:49:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  love this diary...please post this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, Florie

    every day from now till the election.  Very thought provoking and well written.

  •  How to Explain Lack of Progressive Success (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wbgonne

    after '08 elections?

    Because Blue Dogs bit the hands that fed them.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:07:09 PM PDT

    •  You're forgetting the South. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, neroden, v2aggie2

      I live in the South.  Even though I'm a life long Progressive, there are areas of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, the Carolinas, etc. where you can't find ONE Progressive in a County.  On Kos we forget that there are areas of our country that are much, much more conservative than we are.  Sooo...what is the Democratic Party to do in these areas?  If you run a Dennis Kucinich progressive they'll lose by a mile.  That is why the Democratic Party swallows hard and runs "Blue Dog" Conservadems.  It is their thought that having a Blue Dog who'll vote with the Dems 50% of the time is better than a wingnut/teabagger who'll vote with the Dems Zero Percent of the time.

      It will take many years....if ever....for Progressives to make inroads in the South.  Until then, there will be a geographic block of millions of voters that will oppose Progressive Causes....even though those causes would help those Southern voters the most.

      •  The South is a damned problem. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wbgonne, catfood

        I really don't know why it was allowed back into the Union.

        But anyway, the Deep South is not normal and it makes no sense to treat the rest of the US like the Deep South.  Even Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Virginia don't behave like Mississippi or Alabama.

        As far as I'm concerted these most-backwards states have to shape up and go along with the rest of the country rather than holding us back, and if their voters don't like it, they can secede.  Again.

        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

        by neroden on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 04:01:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You miss the point. Look at the facts. (0+ / 0-)

          These states you don't like have many votes in the house and the Senate.   It is their representatives that thwart the Progressive Agenda.  Each Census their influence grows as people move from the rust belt south.
          We can either have a solidly GOP South or some Blue Dogs.  When we have some Blue Dogs in the Senate, for example, we don't "have 60 votes" for Progressive Causes.  Plain and simple.

          It is much the same in the Far West.  There are few Progressive Senators or Representatives in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, Texas, etc.

          These are political facts we have to live with.

      •  Only solutionin the Deep South is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Trial Lawyer Richard

        VRA districts.  We can't win statewide and we can't seem to get white Democrats from down there that aren't corrupt or try to subvert the national party.

        We should fight for every VRA district in the South, and be happy with that.

        "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

        by James Allen on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 04:19:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I Live in the South, Too (0+ / 0-)

        Florida, which is largely populated by transplanted northerners who vote and bring their un-progressive crypto-racist mindsets with them, and in the Southern part of the state is largely populated with single issue-Castro haters, who bring their far right Batista-ist nostalgia with them.

        The three biggest retirement havens for transplanted more northern people are bereft of Progressives: Florida, Arizona, and West Virginia.

        Years and years.

        Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

        by Limelite on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 05:24:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's unfortunate that you failed to consider (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Odysseus

    this point:

    A more credible counter to the belief that pushing progressive policy damages candidates is that most swing voters don't make decisions based on the perceived ideological orientation of the legislation that candidates have supported. Instead, when times are getting worse, the governing party gets booted from swing districts. When times are getting better, the governing party wins swing states and districts. So, if progressive policy can result in more voters feeling their lives were improving, then Democrats who oppose that policy do real electoral damage to themselves.

    Isn't that by far the most important consideration? If progressive policies do not actually bring about improvements in people's lives, then at one point or another, they are guaranteed to lead to political defeat. Shouldn't all of the focus be on analyzing the how and why of the success or failure of progressive policies?

  •  question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2

    Were there 59 Dem senators in Jan. 2009?
    Didn't the MN counting last for several months?

    GOP = Goodluck Old People

    by MartyM on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:20:09 PM PDT

  •  Third Way knows how to derail you... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, pot

    they suggest Democrats spend their efforts "educating" evangelists that DADT is the big Obama accomplishment, while the organization proposes tax cuts for the rich and cuts in Medicare. We follow blindly and ignore the Wall Street rape in favor of battles with religious zealots, which we will never win.

    Instead of morality battles, we need class war. The rich have decided to derail us with all kinds of social "wrongs" so we ignore financial ineqalities.

    Clinton is the big Third Way hero and Peter Peterson is the brains and bucks behind it. Obama fawns over the UBS and Morgan members of this Stink Tank. http://www.thirdway.org/...
    http://www.thirdway.org/...

    The Third Way President ran an organization with no members, funded by Peter Peterson, and was a Clinton stooge. You remember Clinton, the "blowhard" who cut welfare and other social net programs. http://www.thirdway.org/...

  •  what ever happened to Lamont? (0+ / 0-)

    Would have been nice to see him engaged in the progressive movement, he seemed to vanish nationally anyway. Perhaps it's a different story in his home state.

  •  I know Lamont felt like a great victory (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, neroden, v2aggie2, sviscusi

    at the time, because it was long shot and Lieberman was so hated...but in the end, it was no victory at all, Lieberman's strong general election defeat of Lamont actually underlined and amplified the meme that opposing progressives is a winning strategy...it was more a case of, if you're going to take a shot at the king you better not miss....we ended up not only with Lieberman winning but enhancing his influence.

    On the other hand, the Wisconsin recall and the NY special election is a whole different ballgame--this is about standing up to Republican extremism, a real opportunity to energize otherwise apathetic voters who think it doesn't matter which party's in power.

    Overall, though, the only way to get people to support progressives is to show that progressive policies work...the problem being how to institute progressive policies with the current crowd in Washington. At least with the Medicare issue, we can stand on supporting the progressive policies of the past that have been proven...that may be our best starting point.

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:29:48 PM PDT

  •  Yes, we must win elections by persuasion, some... (0+ / 0-)

    ...refuse to even entertain the idea because they really do not like/understand those who do not believe as they do, or because they believe in the crutches of Fox News, Citizens United , etc...

    In other words, for too many, unless there are near perfect conditions (little resistance, people willing to accept ideas quickly, they don't have to into places they don't like such as religious institutions, in a purplish or trending blue locale,etc...), they do not believe progressive ideas can be shared, spread, or convincing.

    It is this condition that finds us now in a state that is no longer about people-power, but president-powered. Thus we have the unproductive intramural fighting. We applaud what is going on in certain states, but do not try to duplicate it. We no longer talk about the 50-State Strategy, ostensibly because it is supposedly not pushed by the White House and/or people weren't as nice to Governor Dean as some would like. The real truth is that the strategy produced many more Blue Dog and Centrist types than people know how, or were willing to, work with.

    We'll never transition to progressive dominance without first learning to work with those less progressive members of our own side, and perhaps, if the opportunity presents, a few on the other side.

    The bottom line is that Progressives are not willing to put in the 35-40 years of work the Right put in in order to become the dominant force. I don't think it will take us that long, given the damage Republicans have done and demographic change, but we must commit now and not be lead astray by the carnival barkers and drama addicts of the Left. But as we read in this comment thread, too many are not willing to put in the work. So now what?

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:31:17 PM PDT

  •  The Peak?? (0+ / 0-)

    No.

    Lamont was a poor candidate.
    With a poorer staff.

    I was no fan of Lieberman, but when Lamont's chief of staff wrote off blue-collar Lieberman supporters as "slime" and "evil" - a tone reflected by many Kossacks - he was simply indicating a trend which has accelerated in many Democratic constituencies.

    Thus, one should not be surprised with current political events in places like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and Michigan.

  •  We need to consider the whole picture (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    Honey attracts more flies that vinegar.  People are burned out on being angry.  Republicans are, and I'm seeing it in progressives as well.  That's why I don't spend much time here anymore.  Anger and fear I feel, but I need a balance, I need to celebrate sometimes too.  And we have a lot to celebrate.  Lots of others are feeling it too.

    We need a big picture because we need the majority to write the legislation, define the districts, and appoint judges.

    "Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected" ~Mahatma Gandhi

    by Kiku on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:32:03 PM PDT

  •  Roughly half of eligible voters don't vote (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Kaib, James Allen, m00finsan

    20-30% of those who do vote fall somewhere in the spectrum of "low information".

    We can blame the nonvoters, and surely some blame is accruing, but we also have to acknowlege that little in our current political discourse resonates with a lot of folks.  If this isn't by design, it certainly works out well for the thieving classes.

    Especially now that even the least informed and most cynical are beginning to realize how systematically, how thoroughly they are being fucked, the time is right for a populist/progressive movement.

    Jobs, housing, healthcare, education.  Everyone, across every geographical and cultural divide, needs them.  Wars and financial/political corruption prevent many - more every day - from having even the minimum requisites of civilized existence.  A party that explicitly stands up for the 95%, now more than ever, has a real chance of turning this Titanic around.

    Most professional Democrats are on the wrong side of the barricades, deformed by years of careerism and compromise.  I'm afraid my old party is not up to the fight that lies ahead.

    Whom do you blame more? The rattlesnake, or the bipartisan guy who put it in your sleeping bag?

    by chuckvw on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:33:17 PM PDT

  •  Think Big is a great idea. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, m00finsan

    We need to get out of our intellectual and political ruts and start looking around for ways to move society forward.  We desperately need to think big.

    The point of politics is policy.  Candidates are a means to an end, not an end to themselves.

    What we talk about here on DKos does not mean anything unless we can persuade the whole country to change course.  We need to emphasize over and over:

    1. Our American civilization is declining because of the dismantling of the middle class.

    2. The conservative movement is causing and accelerating this decline.

    3. The liberal, progressive, movement needs to be expanded to include as many people as possible.

    4. The liberal, progressive movement needs to be putting great effort into crafting policy responses to reverse this decline.

    5. The liberal, progressive movement can help reverse the decline and move civilization forward.

    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

    by Thutmose V on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:34:00 PM PDT

  •  we ALSO have to stop eating our own and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sviscusi

    thereby bolstering the opposition party's ability to persuade swing voters that the democrats are "incompetent" (OUR meme, pushed constantly because we don't think politicians are listening to OUR side of the equation.

    we represent a fraction of the political spectrum.  the majority of voters support many of our issues but not our stridency - it scares them because we attack the most moderate dems in very conservative democratic locations.

    we need to focus on issues - let me repeat that.  we need to focus on ISSUES!  by keeping the political face off the ISSUES, we can debate those and garner support of many more swings and conservative dems without polarizing them over a candidate.

    THEN we can point out who best represents those ISSUES!

    while we constantly excoriate our own candidate, most are not listening to the fine detailed print - they only hear the attacks... and then add to that the republican attack, the candidate who COULD be elected that might be willing to lean in our direction is either defeated or threatened with defeat by us.

    the art of persuasion works much better than the threat of annihilation.

    we need look no further than the mirror for our own lack of success.

    MOVE'EM UP! ROLL'EM OUT... MOVE'EM UP RAWHIDE!!! meeeoooow! mrraaarrr!! meeeOOOOOW!

    by edrie on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:35:31 PM PDT

  •  Yes, and progressive branding must be a part of it (0+ / 0-)

    I completely agree - progressives must focus on a few high-profile battles and win these to strike some fear into the hearts of spineless Democratic office holders. And the effect of such battles and victories will be amplified further if the progressives involved in them strongly and clearly publicly identify as progressives, thus tying the unfolding action to an ideological brand.I think it's sad that we are still having to learn to emulate the strategy and tactics of the Right. How did the Left ever wind up so far on the defensive? Not a day goes by without me wondering about that.

    "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

    by brainwave on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:03:08 PM PDT

  •  Well said. (0+ / 0-)

    Words to guide us.

  •  Progressives need a Voice (0+ / 0-)

    As effective as Grover Norquist has been for the Corporate Forces.  Why can't Progressives put forward a few simple issues and stick to it . . . and elect Representatives and Senators . . . and insure that the elected leaders pursue the issues that are important.

    We are always drawn away from our goals.  We cannot follow through with the issues that are important.

    Healthcare.  A Progressive Budget.  A graduated income tax.

    No.  We have to get rid of the voices who speak for us.

  •  start big: primary obama (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, m00finsan, PaulMunison

    obama is conspicuously absent from the diary but there is no doubt that running a primary challenge to obama from the left would accomplish the diarist's goals more quickly than any other path

    naturally, there are complications with that course

    but as i doubt the democratic will ever be reclaimed from the corporatists i am prepared for the risks

    if it didn't happen w obama after bush the dem party is probably hopeless

    might as well find out sooner rather than later

    time is not on our side

    •  This would be a good time for a number of reasons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      m00finsan

      The rethugs have pretty much already conceded.  None of their candidates come anywhere near winnable.

      Forcing the party establishment to discuss the issues, to defend their pro-corporate agenda, and maybe even nudge the window to the left would be a victory no matter what the outcome.

      Given who the rethugs will cough up for the general, this would be relatively low risk...

      Whom do you blame more? The rattlesnake, or the bipartisan guy who put it in your sleeping bag?

      by chuckvw on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:56:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Personally, I think it a waste of valuable time... (0+ / 0-)

      In a "bigger picture" kinda way--we could be searching, vetting and recruiting for 2016.

  •  Why should we listen to you? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2

    If you're the leaders, and you admit the zenith of your influence was 5 years ago, why should we listen to you now?

    This is not a rhetorical question. I'm willing to seriously listen to answers. I just want to know why someone who in part played the pied piper to some of these failures deserves followers now.

    All I've got is an orange blog, three paragraphs, and the truth.

    by Attorney at Arms on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:28:25 PM PDT

  •  I am happy to read a substantive post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wbgonne

    by Chris Bowers again.
     I am glad you are at Dailykos, but I must say I miss reading your long incisive commentary on a daily basis.
    Maybe I don't tune in often enough, but I think that your voice is very much missed -- and very much needed in the community.
    I think you are all being too nice to the Democrats.
    Those in power -- the corporate, DLC, New Democrats, are
    mostly Republicans who have stolen our party out from under us.
    As the years pass they give less lip service to Democratic values -- and they boldly, in broad daylight -- cheat the 85 percent of Democrats who were for public option health care
    (supported also by 67 percent independents, and 47 percent Republicans).  
    Then they call us (the majority) a "left" fringe.
    They supported Lieberman to lie his way into office -- claiming he would end the war -- claiming he shared out values.
    That was a significant win -- because it kept the right wing majority.  
    It was theft -- it was participated in by the major Democratic power structure including Obama.
    You are too nice to them.
    All this takeover by the power structure takes place in broad daylight -- and it is the American meme -- even here in the blogs -- that this is somehow ooohhhh
    not really evil at all -- just sort of well, they liked the old boy for old time sakes.
    Pulllease!
    That election kept the power structure in tact in the
    Senate -- and squished us devastatingly.
    We must take it seriously.
    The Democrats had the votes to do a lot of things, but in broad daylight they gave power to Max Baucus and company--
    to all of  them.  Why?
    Because the power lies with the corporate class -- and they own the networks, and they own the banks-- and they ignore the huge majorities in this country who
    want to tax corporations, and the rich, and want public health care, and want to end the wars, and want
    to put the Wall Street crooks in jail, and want strong and meaningful regulations on Wall Street, and want
    strong and meaningful protections for our air, water, and food.
    The media is owned by people who brought Newt Gingrich out of obscurity -- a man who was utterly discredited, who represents no one, and put him on the tv week after week with others of like mind, to say any crazy destructive right wing rant he (they) can come up with.
    That is, ignoring the 85 percent, the 82 percent, the 90 percent --
    It's a big deal.

  •  Obama wrecked the progressive movement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wbgonne, pot

    And set the Democratic party back for a generation.  He did to Democrats what Herbert Hoover did to Republicans.  

    •  Not only has Obama wrecked (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PaulMunison, wbgonne, pot

      the progressive movement, but he saved the Republican Party.

      Not by being too liberal, much less by being too progressive.

      By muddying the waters.  By taking on every stance the electorate had come to loath about the failing Reagan Revolution and reviled in the fascist Bushco regime, and granting them unassailable, politically off-the-table  'centrist' status.

      From perpetual warfare and a burgeoning domestic security state, to corporate welfare and the ongoing looting of the public sphere, not only has Obama not been a compelling cognitive political force for progress, but he's leaped the gap across the conservatism and planted his feet directly onto the fascist platform.

      In the process, politics hasn't been engaged, but obliterated.

      Obama's primary political accomplishments?  1) To keep George W. Bush from looking too bad.  Seriously.   2) To preserve the ongoing myth of the Reagan Revolution as those who benefit wring every last cent from a failing system.  3) To bring the Republicans back to viability way ahead of schedule.

      Again, this accomplished not by being too progressive, but by obliterating politics, political distinctions, and ultimately political reality itself.

      Obama has been the opposite of a political leader.  He's been an active, dedicated saboteur.

      Obama's ability to rack up a billion plus in campaign funds for 2012 is based entirely upon his track record and continuing promise to tank, obfuscate, under-perform, and sell out his constituency.

      Again, the man is a saboteur and a stooge.  Not a political alternative.

      Please don't feed the security state.

      •  The contest in 2012 isn't between Obama (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wbgonne

        and whatever empty suit the Republicans throw up in a political climate and election season engineered to maintain the statue quo while neatly sidestepping political reality itself.

        The contest is between Obama (along with the Big-Boy Pants(tm) Democratic Party) and the possible.  The possible being mounting a real, political, populist break from the failing and growingly reviled Reagan Revolution.

        The best thing progressives can do (and liberals too) is unhitch themselves from the Democratic Party and from a politicking orthodoxy which does not serve them, or their values politically (or even try to) but actively undercuts them in service to the other side.

        Please don't feed the security state.

        •  I believe they did that in 2000 with Nader (0+ / 0-)

          and look what happened, which is exactly what makes me so nervous about the notion of a third party.  I think a much more viable alternative would be to challenge undesirable Democrats in the primaries.

  •  While we have had majority of Ds, we have not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trial Lawyer Richard

    had a majority of Progressives. Plain and simple.

    Those Dems who won in 2008 were all across the spectrum. Many who won could not have won as Ps so those seats would have gone R.

    It's the numbers, it's the districts' (local) politics, it's the states politics, it's how good the candidates are, it's the counter ads and memes and it's the money. It's a lot of things and especially...(read my sig)

    Progressives will win when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

    by auapplemac on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 05:16:44 PM PDT

  •  I think he's right. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wbgonne

    We have to build the dynamics, and the appearance of the dynamics.

    We thought that our pure numbers as Democrats would be enough to get everything we wanted.  But it wasn't, because the vast majority of those people were not operating from the same playbook.

    We have to realize that most of the folks we have as elected officials are from a time where Democrats were on the defense, where liberalism was a albatross to take from around your neck, not a political cause to favor.

    If we want things to change, we got to change the style of American politics.  We got to start fueling the movement from both outside and inside, and changing the way people think of liberal policies.

    Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

    by Stephen Daugherty on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 05:20:44 PM PDT

  •  To leverage Bowers' 2nd campaign, for Medicare (0+ / 0-)

    I'd recommend educating your Republican base neighbors about what their Republican plutocratic leadership is likely to do to Medicare by going after (the minds) of their children. With any luck, Rush Limbaugh's head will explode, as well as that of his talking head fellow travelers. That is what you want, because it will force attention to the issue. You want el Rushbo to cry out about the Commie/Lefty/Liberal/Kenyan neo-colonials going after their kids. (Obviously, the pamphlets need to be on the up-and-up, so as to give no reasonable cause for censure by reasonable people.)

    I had recommended that teachers lead the charge in pampleting their students, after school, on public sidewalks where their First Amendment rights should still hold. Unfortunately, a lot of teachers are afraid of retribution, in these days of school privatization. However, non-teachers who don't work in the late afternoon can still pamphlet, without such fears.

    Please see my diaries for the previous iteration of this "reach the children, to teach the parents" approach to activism
    How teachers could make Rush Limbaugh’s head explode, but chronically fail to

    Call to Action: How the Tea Party can intelligently help CRUSH Teachers’ Unions

    My email to Naomi Klein, re organizing teachers intelligently, and the New Progressive Alliance

  •  Excellent post! (0+ / 0-)

    This cerebral, informative piece is one of the best blogging posts that I have read.

    I laud Chris Bowers.

  •  This is a great diary, and a great series. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Kaib

    I hope all the front-pagers will continue to advocate on the subjects.

    Two points:

    1. It would help if this community would take a stand on some policy matters and then back it up.  Representatives and Senators should be asked whether they will agree to support our carefully crafted agenda.  Those who vote against us at a certain percentage level should get paid back in the elections, whether primary or general.

    2. Targeting does not have to be a Club for Growth-style.  We should keep everything transparent and do it in the open here on dKos.  I for one would love to see more information on what positions our Reps and Sens take when they run for election, and then how much they follow through on those positions when they are elected.  We can do this.  We have the power and the means now.

    Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

    by maxschell on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 07:01:13 PM PDT

  •  The facts (0+ / 0-)

    Feingold = Loss (center left state)
    Grayson = Loss (centrist district)
    LaMont = Loss (center left state)

     I think progressives make a big mistake to begin with the predicate that America is a naturally progressive country.  

    Until libs realize they are in the minority of thier party and thier country in general they will never be able to effectively make thier case.

    Being delusion is not a helpful quality in politics.  Liberals/progressives are pretty delusional when it comes to the reality of the American electoral populus.

  •  Good luck (0+ / 0-)
    We have to start winning elections in ways so that the majority of political observers believe the defeated candidate lost because s/he opposed one or more progressive legislative priorities.

    Ive been begging the left for ages to change their voting strategies for ages so that they CAN win elections and demonstrate that voting for progressive policies wins elections.

    What I've gotten is a kneejerk reaction which can be boiled down to: "I'm right. And I don't care if the tactics I'm using aren't getting me what I want, I'm going to stick to them because I'm right, and damnit, that's all that matters."

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 08:35:09 PM PDT

  •  Good post. (0+ / 0-)

    Its a rare sight indeed when the we get an article with some decent political insight into the way things really are. This is a nice and positive change from the daily onslaught of "Omgz the republicans are puppy kickers"

    ^^ This article details why puppy kicking wins elections and wins real political battles.  

  •  The problem is simple (0+ / 0-)

    Number 1. 41 republicans all except 2 voting against everything the  Democrats wanted 100% of the time and those 2 only voted with the Dems about 2% of the time.

    Number 2. About 5 or 6 blue dogs voting with the republicans around 35% of the time.

    Number 3. Two of our Democrats were gone on extended sick and eventually died. And we only had 58 Dems plus the two independents before that. And one of those independents was Joe Lieberman. 60-2 died- Liebermann=57 votes- 5 blue dogs=52'

    Number 4. In order to get those blue dog votes, the bills had to be weakened.

    Number 5. The republicans made historical filibusters with the aid of blue dogs, Snowe and Collins 98% of the time.

    Number 6. No matter how you wanted the president to pound the podium and get tougher, you just couldn't get the votes. They wanted him to fail and they said so.

    Number 7. The Dems in the senate requested the signatures in the senate for those who would support the public option and got 39, 21 votes short of 60.

    Number 8. Not enough votes to get what we wanted.

    So the filibusters were very effective and not something to just matter of factly dismiss as this diarist did.

  •  Ya gotta focus on the stuff you can win (0+ / 0-)

    That means that while you are supportive of "GLBT" you don't make it part of the base issues on which candidates must carry water.  The same is true with abortion ans guns.  Such issues are deadly to many candidates.  But the economic issues aren't. We can win Medicare and Medicare Buy In as the "public option".  We can win the return to the Clinton tax code.  We can win trade barriers or monetary policy that improves the trade imbalance and thus creates jobs here in this country.  We can win PROGRESSIVE BUSINESS taxation that prevents monopoly and "too big to fail".  Social issues are not going to win the 2010 elections and such issues should be STIFLED.  End the war because we can't afford it.  The rest of the world is just going to have to learn to take care of itself.

  •  so... (0+ / 0-)

    It sounds like he's saying that in general, for an elected representative to support policy that is favored by a  majority of the people he represents is a threat to his prospects for continuing to represent them. Hmmm...

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