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Here is the Progressive Agenda

By       Message Ted Rall       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   13 comments

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Clintonite corporatists still control the Democratic National Committee despite their long string of failure at the polls. But the overwhelming majority of Democratic Party voters -- 72% -- are self-identified progressives.

44% of House primary candidates in 2018 self-IDed as progressive. If you're after the Democratic nomination for president you have to be -- or pretend to be -- progressive. Even Hillary Clinton claimed to be "a progressive who gets things done."

All the top likely contenders for 2020 claim to be progressive -- but they would prefer that voters ignore their voting records and unsavory donors. "Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris have spent the past two years racing to the leftmost edge of respectable opinion," reports New York magazine. "In recent weeks, they have also all reached out to Wall Street executives, in hopes of securing some funding for their prospective presidential campaign." It does no good for your heart to be in the right place if your ass is owned by bankers.

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"You don't just get to say that you're progressive," Representative Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told progressive donors recently.

Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, called the 2020 election a chance to "leverage our power." She says it's critical "that we have some very clear guidelines about what it means to be progressive."

Here are those guidelines.

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You can't be a progressive unless you favor a big hike in the minimum wage. Elizabeth Warren, the first pretty-much-declared candidate for 2020, wants $15 an hour. But she told a 2013 Senate hearing that it would be $22 if it had kept up with increases in worker productivity. The official inflation rate makes that $24 today. And according to the real inflation rate (the official number as it was calculated before the Labor Department downgraded the calculation in 1980 and 1990) at ShadowStats.com, $22 in 2013 comes to at least $35 today.

If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation since 1968 using the same methodology used to track inflation at the time, it would be closer to $80 per hour.

What should be the progressive demand for the minimum wage? Nothing less than $25 per hour.

(For the record, I see no reason why the minimum wage should be lower than the maximum wage. But we're talking about progressivism here, not socialism or communism.)

Thanks to Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign "free college became a litmus test for liberals," notes The Atlantic. But a 2017 bill cosponsored by Sanders and Warren defines "college for all" rather narrowly. It only addresses public colleges and universities. It would "make college tuition free for families earning $125,000 a year or less and allow current student loan borrowers to refinance their debt at lower interest rates."

A quarter of American college students attend private schools. Considering that the average cost is $35,000 a year and some run as high as $60,000, even families earning more than $125,000 need help too.

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The progressive stance on college should be three-pronged. First, the obscene $1.5 trillion student loan business should be abolished. Student loans should be replaced by grants but if loans exist at all they should be a zero-profit government program. Second, all outstanding loans should be forgiven or have their interest rates dropped to a zero-profit basis. Third, the government should rein in out-of-control public and private college tuition and fees -- which have gone up eight times faster than wages -- by tying them to the official federal cost of living index.

Progressives agree that Obamacare didn't go far enough. With 70% of voters in favor, even centrist Democrats like Kamala Harris have climbed aboard Bernie Sanders' call for "Medicare for all" bandwagon. Warren, Gillibrand and Booker now say they want single-payer public healthcare. Being progressive, however, means demanding more than what mainstream politicians deem practical -- it's about pushing hard for more ways to improve people's lives.

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Ted Rall, a political cartoonist, is the author of "The Anti-American Manifesto." He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963, raised in Kettering, Ohio and graduated from Fairmont West High School in 1981. His first cartoons were published (more...)
 

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6 people are discussing this page, with 13 comments  Post Comment


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Sound the horn for the Jubilee! All debts cancelled, all prisoners freed, and everybody, especially soldiers, comes home. Start the new era with a universal global guaranteed minimum income. Fully ratify the UDHR and give everyone the chance to realize their full potential.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 12, 2019 at 4:51:05 PM

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Almost the entirety of this agenda was part and parcel of the CFAR campaign for 2018, which was widely misunderstood and almost universally undervalued.

Coming up with a progressive agenda is the easy part. Getting people to understand it, act on it rationally and constructively, engage with it, promote it, vote for it, those are the real challenges. CFAR2018 laid it out very clearly as part of a detailed strategy for campaigning, getting elected, uniting and galvanizing the public. It left people dazed and confused, which is how it found them.

Any suggestions on how to make it work?

Submitted on Sunday, Jan 13, 2019 at 12:46:30 AM

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Send copies of it to the Progressive candidates!

Submitted on Sunday, Jan 13, 2019 at 3:30:21 AM

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Thanks, Leslie. During 2018, I personally sent over 2200 emails (the initial one ALWAYS with the CFAR contract, often already filled out for the candidate) and almost 100 hard copy letters to progressive (e.g. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and faux-progressive (e.g. Beto O'Rourke candidates. The vast majority did not respond. The vast majority lost their elections and we have what we have.

The CFAR strategy is a unique, unprecedented approach. I suspect many campaigns are too locked in to established methodologies and narratives to appreciate it. From the questions I got from those who did respond, it was evident most didn't understand it. Very frustrating. I believe it's very thoroughly and clearly explained on the website, but you can't just read a couple paragraphs and get it. The neocon/neoliberal juggernaut took 45 years to mount, involving thousands of publications. My proposed antidote cannot be summed up on a bumper sticker, or the title page of a video. The strategy is multilayered, multifaceted. So 99% of my effort was wasted by progressive campaigns being too busy or not applying the required brainpower. I'm at a loss as to how to proceed.

Submitted on Sunday, Jan 13, 2019 at 10:54:23 PM

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I don't think they failed to understand it. I'd say these people don't respond because they're either afraid of it for political reasons, or they are part of the problem agenda.

Submitted on Monday, Jan 14, 2019 at 5:48:35 AM

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Saddens me, too, John. I don't know what it's going to take to get us out in the streets again...comments I read on articles online just blow me away..the hate, the divide, the ignorance, and the disinformation, are mind-boggling on the one hand, and yet somewhat understandable on the other since so much kool-aid is offered on MSM.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 18, 2019 at 5:41:25 PM

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It is very hard to help people that don't want to be helped.

John, one possible suggestion. Do you know of anyone that is politically significant who is well respected and agrees your CFAR contract is a great idea? What I am thinking is if such a person could be found, maybe they could help to carry the torch. By being more recognizable and known, they would be able to carry more weight than you are capable of carrying; they would carry more weight in helping to get candidates to understand how valuable the CFAR contract is in helping them to get elected.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 18, 2019 at 7:27:49 PM

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I just posted the above comment but now I see that is what you have been trying to do with the likes of Jimmy Dore, Jesse Ventura, Chris Hedges and others. But if a congressperson who carries weight among liberals -- both inside and outside of congress -- could be found that understands what a great idea your contract is, they would have some pull with other candidates on the liberal side in getting them to see the light.

If the DNC were what they should be, that would be the place to go. Or, I don't know, would it make any sense to approach the DNC?

Submitted on Friday, Jan 18, 2019 at 7:44:03 PM

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I wonder if it would help to have it featured on things like RT. Lee Camp might even want to give it some exposure.

Submitted on Sunday, Jan 13, 2019 at 6:19:22 PM

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I've approached Lee in over 100 emails. I've been a fan of his since his early "Moment of Clarity" days and have three email addresses for him. I've posted numerous messages and comments on his video page. No response.

I've also approached Jimmy Dore, Paul Jay (Real News), Jesse Ventura, Chris Hedges, Tim Black, the Sane Progressive (when she was up and running), and many others. No response.

Also approached Our Revolution, Brand New Congress, the Green Party, Jill Stein, and many other activist electoral organizations, including the Berniecrat orgs in over thirty states. No response.

If any of you have direct contact with these individuals, please put in a good word.

Submitted on Sunday, Jan 13, 2019 at 11:01:04 PM

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That list of non responders is absolutely stunning. :(

Particularly surprising are Jill Stein, Jimmy Dore and Jesse Ventura. Super surprising to see Lee Camp didn't answer, as I figured CFAR would be something he'd jump at doing a piece on.

Of course, there's that atmosphere of fear a lot of these people are living in right now, as so many forces are working against them, undermining them, and looking for ways to end their careers or livelihoods. It always comes back to "people gotta eat", I guess.

What a f*cked up web we've managed to get woven around us.

I wouldn't mind trying an "experiment" on this subject. Check your IMs, when you've got a sec.

Submitted on Monday, Jan 14, 2019 at 5:22:26 AM

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One of the key reasons why the US is losing its technological edge is because it doesn't support a strong primary, secondary and University education system. The system churns out scientists who design F-35's. While Apple makes a good phone, the US resorts to coercion because it resents Huawei, which has excellent Chinese engineers. If you want a competitive country and you don't invest in youth, but instead turn them into debt slaves with inferior education, you get a failed country. That's where this is headed.


Free education to all students with only willness and capacity to learn should be the ONLY criterion for who gets educated at whatever institution. Money only impedes the possibility of qualified students to get the education they need and the country needs. Should this be obvious?

Submitted on Sunday, Jan 13, 2019 at 5:19:54 AM

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Ted Rall for President.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 18, 2019 at 5:44:34 PM

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