Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Hillary Clinton is doing what Democrats should have been doing all along, and thats looking and sounding and, if given the chance, acting like FDR. This means going big, big, big and fully using government to radically ramp up new programs and initiatives to tackle everything from the nations crumbling infrastructure to the chronic unemployment, especially among the urban poor.
Her FDR-like chorus was in full effect in her speech at a Michigan auto and aircraft parts manufacturing plant near Detroit. She promised a big spending spree to the tune of nearly $300 billion on a vast array of infrastructure building and repair projects; roads, bridges, airports schools, sewer systems and so on. The projects would create new jobs for thousands.
Clinton made it clear that she expects the rich to foot much of the bill by demanding hefty tax hikes on them. She added the final FDR touch to her big spending plan by promising to plop the legislation on Congress table within her first 100 days in office.
Clinton is doing the same. However, she also will have to fight the one thing that has kept Democrats since LBJ from making the fight against poverty, wealth and income inequality, and making the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes a party staple. That is the deep fear of being perennially branded, baited and reviled with the label and the perception that Democrats reflexively do tax and spend that is spend at the expense of the middle class for programs that aid the poor and minorities. Democrats did lose elections in the 1980s to Reagan and Bush, and always the losses came with the tag that the Democrats were fixated on tilting to minorities. The race-tinged appeals did shell-shock the party. Bill Clinton was unabashed in basing his 1992 presidential campaign on courting the white middle class, and erasing the GOP-imposed stigma of the Democrats as solely the party of and for minorities. It worked. Clinton won and won again in 1996. This even more firmly implanted the notion and the fear that Democrats must run from big spending on jobs and infrastructure as being synonymous with pandering to minorities...... Thats a history that Clinton is largely rejecting. And well she should. FDR did and the country was the big winner for it.
Alexander Hertel-Fernandez and Theda Skocpol on August 3, 2016, 1:30 p.m. ET
Koch network-backed groups, above all the huge advocacy federation called Americans for Prosperity, have scored major victories over the past decade working closely with already established cross-state political networks like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN).
These conservative cross-state networks have blocked the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, challenged efforts by the Obama administration to deal with climate change, derailed proposals to increase the minimum wage and enact paid sick leave, and weakened union and voting rights. Unless liberals and progressives find ways to counter conservatives across most US states, both Obamas legacies and future liberal gains are likely to remain limited.
How have right-wing political networks achieved such striking victories? Our ongoing research on the shifting US political terrain shows that the rights subnational success relies on complementary and reinforcing efforts by three key cross-state networks. These networks end up setting public agendas and shaping legislative choices:
THE RIGHT-WING NETWORKS ARE A WELL-OILED MACHINE: ALEC PUSHES PROPOSALS WITHIN STATE LEGISLATURES; THE STATE POLICY NETWORK BUILDS THE INTELLECTUAL AND POLICY CASE FOR THOSE BILLS; AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY THEN GENERATES OUTSIDE POLITICAL PRESSURE, THROUGH ADS AND GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING
The article then goes on to explain that the two older progressive networks are weak, overlap, are generally not focused on economics, too many splinter issue specific groups, and are mostly in blue states. The consequences are that the GOP will control the state and local level and of course that will mean they get to keep Congress after the next Census. They call on the American left to organize in a serious coordinated way on the local level.
So perhaps, DUers can get involved with the progressive networks: State Innovation Exchange, State Priorities Partnership and the Economic Analysis and Research Network. Instead of just chatting about the Presidential election for example, there is a real opportunity to do something useful, especially if one has time for research, fundraising, or outreach. Or better yet running for office.
Another possibility is that Bernie Sander's new progressive Berniecrat network might provide new hope, but progressives still need to coordinate and put in some real effort.
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