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Fiendish Thingy

Fiendish Thingy's Journal
Fiendish Thingy's Journal
July 28, 2018

Salon: Democratic moderates fear the socialist left will wreck the party...

Over the past few weeks, ever since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's startling primary victory over Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., we’ve seen a remarkable display of intra-party, bad-faith concern trolling — an area where Democrats have set a high standard. Various “mainstream” or “moderate” figures in or around the party are already seeking to pin blame for a hypothetical November defeat, in advance, on the insurgent “socialist” faction associated with Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders. My daring analysis: This does not bespeak enormous confidence.

None of this makes clear why powerful people like Comey and Lieberman are so worried about a small-scale insurrection within the Democratic Party that is nowhere near as "far from the mainstream" as they pretend, and is also a long way from staging a coup and hanging portraits of Trotsky and Che in DNC headquarters. Socialist-dread syndrome also appears to have driven the recent gathering of “moderate” Democrats in Columbus, Ohio, under the aegis of the think tank Third Way, as reported in a widely circulated piece by Alex Seitz-Wald of NBC News (a former Salon staffer).
Markell is absolutely right: A debate is overdue. But a debate about what? The problem for Democratic moderates is precisely that they will not define or explain their positions clearly, except in wonky, granular, political-calculus terms, in large part because their ideas are widely discredited and massively unpopular.
Attendees at the Third Way conference were clearly aware that middle-path Democrats will need big, new ideas in order to compete successfully with Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, debt-free college and the other dangerous pinko proposals that would have had near-unanimous support in the pre-Reagan Democratic Party. Here's what they came up with: A private-sector, employer-funded universal pension plan to supplement Social Security. OK, I'm just spitballing, but that probably isn’t going to suck the wind out of the red sails of Bernie’s fleet and sweep Mitch Landrieu (or whomever) into the White House.
Those who shut down such internal conflict and purged the activist left from the Democratic Party, on the premise that it was the only possible way to win elections in a "centrist," anti-ideological nation, have never faced the consequences of their historic blunder. They have lost repeatedly and on a grand scale, insisting every time that they really should have won — or in some other, better world, did win — and that whatever went wrong was somebody else’s fault. They are the ones who appear committed to an inflexible, dogmatic ideology that is out of step with political reality. They are surprised and outraged to learn that if they want to continue their losing streak, they will have to fight for it.

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