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Govt- Politics    H2'ed 8/16/16

Should progressives try to reform the Democratic Party, or is it hopelessly compromised?

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Should progressives try to reform the Democratic Party, or is it hopelessly compromised?


Many progressives refuse to work within the Democratic Party, because, in their opinion, corporate Democrats hold too much sway, and because progressives are usually betrayed and co-opted.

But while angry progressives flee the Democratic Party, angry conservatives have taken over the GOP, with the result that moderate Republicans are a dying breed.

Moreover, this year Bernie Sanders came tantalizingly close to winning the Democratic Party nomination. In closed-primary states such as New York, where many progressives were members of the Working Families Party, Sanders would have done much better had progressives remained within the Democratic Party.

Too, progressive Democrats have made inroads in many local and state races.

Furthermore, the U.S. political system makes it hard for third-party candidates to be more than spoilers or pathfinders who lead the way for one of the major parties to adopt new policies. Rarely has a third-party developed significant party apparatus, with volunteers, fund-raisers, platform committees, legislative district organizations, and multiple candidates on the ticket. In short, building a viable third-party may be no easier than reforming the Democratic Party.

Should progressives work within the Democratic Party and try to reform it? Or should they abandon it and try to build third parties such as the Green Party or various Socialist parties?

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Democratic Donkey - 3D Icon
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Yes, it's defintely possible to reform the Democratic Party, incrementally and piecewise.
No, the Democratic Party is hopelessly compromised.
Yes, try to reform the Democratic Party but also work outside the party strategically.

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Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, activist, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See and for my (more...)

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