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rbnyc

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Gender: Female
Hometown: New York
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 17,043

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I came over here to see if anyone posted that infuriating Barney Frank piece...

So, this pissed me off:

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/07/why-progressives-shouldnt-support-bernie-120484.html#.VbhB0NLD-RR


I believe strongly that the most effective thing liberals and progressives can do to advance our public policy goals — on health care, immigration, financial regulation, reducing income inequality, completing the fight against anti-LGBT discrimination, protecting women’s autonomy in choices about reproduction and other critical matters on which the Democratic and Republican candidates for president will be sharply divided — is to help Clinton win our nomination early in the year.


I think we are all sick of this game. We are told again and again, support the establishment Democrat because it's our best strategy to defeat the Republicans. We are told that we are hurting our own causes if we don't do this. And we are told that our characterization of HRC as being poorly positioned to challenge corporate power is baseless and wholly without evidence, because listen to all the things she has said.

The foundation of this argument is that with a strong progressive challenger in the primaries, Clinton will have to spend too much money and align herself with too many ideas, and too many progressive positions. Let's not make her spend money and be clear about who she is. We'll wear her out for the real fight.

I think this is the real fight.

The argument in this opinion raises more serious concerns about the state of national elections than it does about the activists and citizens who are partnering with Bernie Sanders in the political revolution. We are supposed to just accept the reality that tens of millions of dollars are not enough to run an effective campaign, and that position clarity is a detriment. We are not supposed to challenge that. We are supposed to challenge ourselves and our foolish behavior, promoting the candidate who best represents us.

What I want to say most to Barney Frank in response to this piece is simply "Fuck you."

We are coming for entrenched power, and we are starting in the primaries with the Democratic Party. This is a take-over, and we will not be discouraged.

Winning

As we struggle to use our deeply pathological political process to advocate for social and economic justice, two critical activities are primary elections and general elections. We are now in primary season, and I am speaking as a progressive voter.

I am a registered Democrat for only one reason, so that I can participate in Democratic primary elections as a means of communicating my values and concerns to party leadership. The political center has been moving to the right for decades and I believe the driving force behind that trend is the failure of registered Democrats to utilize primary elections in this way. Constituents place too much emphasis on selecting a candidate who is perceived to be electable. Constituents judge candidates through the eyes of others and elevate the candidate with the most perceived broad appeal...and the most immediately recognizable spending power. Constituents dismiss candidates who more closely represent their own positions because they know those positions have been marginalized. Constituents dismiss candidates who must rely on financial contributions from the general population because we don't believe the general population can compete with entrenched power. The underlying themes in this kind of constituent behavior are fear and shame. Refusal to act in a contrary manner is compliance. Refusing to act in a contrary manner is a message to Democratic leadership that constituents are willing to give up a lot for emblematic victories.

I am fervently in support of Bernie Sanders this primary season, as I intend to be in the general election. I am also in support of anyone who favors another candidate if such an alignment is based on positions and values. But I do think a serious mistake is made when we try to shape our positions into what we hope will be winnable, rather than trying to win with the positions we believe are important.

There's an analogy in non-profit fundraising. When organizations change their programs in order to win grant support, what happens to the organization is called mission creep. When this is done time and again, the organization finds it has strayed from its intended mission and values and is participating in a smattering of activities responsive to grant guidelines. The solution is to give up that funding. Funding should chase programs; programs shouldn't chase funding.

The Democratic Party has mission creep, because we're afraid no one will chase us.

There's another analogy in fundraising. The best way to avoid mission creep is to collect the bulk of revenue through modest individual gifts. This also turns out to be best for growth. (Bernie wins again.)

My strong appeal to everyone, no matter whom you support, is to reject language about viability and electability and always frame the debate in terms of issues. This is not the same as being unconcerned about winning. It's about winning by selling what you want to sell, instead of by trying to figure out what people are buying and selling that.

(I am highly conscious that this narrative is dismissive of third parties. That's a problem. The two-party system doesn't work. I acknowledge my unwillingness to fully commit to a third party as being somewhat analogous to the misuse of Democratic primaries. I do, however, see my participation in Democratic primaries as similar to being an independent public servant who caucuses with Democrats.)

Dear Hillary

Dear Hillary,

I'm a liberal, feminist, activist, community leader. I should be excited about your prospects as a presidential candidate, but I'm not. I should be ready to volunteer for you, but I won't. I should vote for you, but I can't. I don't believe in you. I don't trust you. Citigroup owns you.

You have gained so much over the years, so many connections, so much backing. You've played the game like a pro and you've proven that no one can gain so much influence and ascend to such power without also losing. You have to give up a lot when you take that money. And I do want you to miss what you've lost, at least a little bit.

In a way, I'm talking about your soul. I'm talking about your conscience and integrity. I'm talking about your word and honor. I'm calling you a shill. You're a corporate shill right up there with the worst of them, doing what it takes to stay in favor.

This is a personal attack, yes. Can we talk policy? Maybe later. But right now I'm taking personally, as a representative of your target market, I was yours to lose, and you lost me. You probably let it happen because you don't need me to win, you need money. You know how to leverage social issues well enough to keep me terrified of your opponents, but your fingers are crossed behind your back. Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Credit Suisse Group know they're safe with you, and I'm not. That's called betrayal. You're a traitor.

I remember when I first really felt the sting, listening to your Senate floor speech before your vote to invade Iraq. As a New Yorker, living in the aftermath of September 11th, you were my Senator, but you failed to represent our need for true justice. You helped create more atrocities in our name. You really failed. You're a lying, manipulative accomplice to murder, and you did it as a political calculation.

But here's why I'm really mad at you. It's because you're in the way. They're prepping some pretty repulsive ingredients for the Republican primaries. I'm talking about high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and unpronounceable chemicals. We need to bring fresh water to the Democratic primaries, but here you are, just another brand of fucking shit soda. You're killing us.

You're not going to fight to end corruption. You're not going to fight to reclaim democracy from the clutches of a handful of multinational corporations. You're not going to make any progress on any issues that matter to most Americans, let alone those that matter to progressive voters, because you benefit from the system that stands in the way of progress. You are entrenched. You can't do any good. So I wish you would get out of the way.

Have I ever written an open letter to Ted Cruz or Rand Paul? No. Not only are they irredeemable assholes, but they don't need to hear from me. I'm nobody and they were never going to win my support anyway. But you...

Well, you don't need to hear from me either. I'm nobody, and maybe you never were going to get my support. But as you know, no matter how well you think you have it wrapped up, you really do need progressive voters to be able to stomach you.

I wish there were two Elizabeth Warrens, so we could keep one in the Senate and put one in your place.

Maybe there would be more Elizabeth Warrens if you would get out of the way.

Get out of the way.

Sincerely,

Edit: the significant portion of your base whom you've alienated by serving the oligarchy instead of us

(I know I don't speak for anyone but myself, but I am aware that many feel the same as I do, and any Democrat should be able to count on us, if they have earned our trust. We are a hearty chunk to toss aside.)
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