Because that's what it's going to take, the netroots joining together to actively campaign against the Dems, in order for the left to be taken seriously. This will require playing genuine political hardball going into next year's midterms, and building up going into 2012.
Before anyone starts in on me (because I know some readers will mistake my intentions), let me just point out that I am a progressive first, Democrat second. This is because as an activist, I recognize that movements must control political parties, and when the reverse is true, bad things happen. See this column for elaboration.
That out of the way, join me below the fold.
The following is based largely on the entry, "For a Full Court Press". It proposes action going into the 2012 elections, but it seems to me that we can and should begin building the foundations next year (which is only days away) for the midterms. The point is this: if progressives don't start getting genuinely tough with the Democrats, and start making the party accountable to us, then it's going to continue behaving like a party of Republican-wannabes that simply use and abuse us while implementing Republican policies — which we all know are utterly disastrous for the country. Here is what I propose.
1.) Draft an 8 or 10 point list of progressive policy principles that encompass a broader array of more specific issues (for example, on the economy: tight regulation, public investment in infrastructure through direct job creation, and steep, direct taxation of the wealthy).
2.) Get as many Democrats as possible to sign — in physical writing — a commitment to support and implement these policy principles. If they refuse, deny them all fund-raising and votes in next year's primaries.
3.) Seek out vetted candidates to run in primaries against incumbents who refuse to sign the pledge. Also, we must have independent progressive candidates ready to run in the general elections as a backup plan.
4.) Instead of giving money to Democrats, use it to target them in newspaper, television, and Internet ads on their many failures to follow through on voter expectations. Use grassroots on-the-ground campaigning to encourage voters to go with primary opponents from the left or with independent candidates from the left — but get them out to vote. Incumbents benefit from low voter turnout, and we want higher turnout. Having left-wing candidates on the ballot against right-wingers will offer voters a true choice, and perhaps get them to the polls.
5.) Offer full support to any Democrats who do sign on to the pledge. If they sign and then renege, be prepared to follow through on #3 and #4.
I hate to say all this, because I've been a registered and loyal Democrat since I was old enough to vote, but we will probably have to punish the party at the polls next year. The leadership won't take us seriously unless they know for a fact that we will no longer cave in and support them unless they do as they're told by us. And if they decide they'd rather be Republican-wannabes out of power in perpetuity, then so be it. The left doesn't need the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party needs the left. It's time we prove that to them.
(Note: if anyone is wondering about the similarity of my blog roll and that of 'Ich Folgte Gerade Ordnungen', it's because we're the same person. I got tired of people ripping on my user handle as an excuse to avoid substantive discussion of the issues, so I signed up under a new account. I will no longer be using that handle.)