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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/25/22

Why Don't More Progressives Get That Seizing the Democratic Party is Our Best Chance to Power?

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In America, there is only one way for us to accomplish the progressive goals we've fought for all these years, and that's through getting inside and seizing control of the Democratic Party

Years ago, a caller named "Jeff from Denver" used to call my show complaining of a lack of progressive action and sold-out Dems in Colorado. One day I challenged him to show up at his local Democratic Party and do something about it instead of just complaining. He stopped calling, which made me think I'd offended him and he'd stopped listening.

Instead, about six months later, he called back in to say that he'd joined first his county and then his state Democratic Party and not only helped get a good progressive candidate on the ticket but participated in writing the national Democratic Party platform.

Activism works, but it requires more than just words. Nowadays numerous callers brag on the air that they've become precinct committee persons (more on that in a minute) and are actively influencing their local Democratic Parties.

If we wanted to take over NBC, for example, to promote progressive change, it would take billions of dollars. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, is a nonprofit corporation with, in most states, a "Come on in!" sign on the front door that, with hard work, we can (and, in many parts of the country already have) take(en) over.

Just look, for example, at the impact of Bernie's two Democratic presidential primary candidacies on grassroots support for progressive values and issues and how the conversation within the Party has changed since the days of the Clinton presidency.

President Biden is, in many cases today, taking positions that Bill Clinton's Democrats claimed were "too far left" to be considered, and Bernie is chair of the powerful Budget Committee in the Senate. Build Back Better, while betrayed by two sold-out "Corporate Dems," was championed by our Democratic President and nearly passed; it was arguably the most progressive legislation since the 1960s.

A friend recently dropped me a note asking why I don't go after "corporate Dems" as often as I do Reagan, Trump and the Republicans who're following in their footsteps.

"This is something I don't quite get," he wrote. "All your examples are of Reagan and deservedly bashing the Repugs. But little mention of the corporate Democrats."

He (and others) correctly pointed out that it was Democratic President Obama, for example, who chose not to prosecute any of the banksters (many contributors to Obama's campaigns) who crashed our economy in 2008.

He (and others) noted that Obama's Affordable Care Act, while expanding healthcare options for all Americans until five conservatives on the Supreme Court gutted its Medicaid expansion, was also one of the largest windfalls for the insurance industry in history.

It's very true that"corporate Dems" have let us down repeatedly.

When George W. Bush and his buddies pushed through the "Medicare Advantage" scam to privatize Medicare - consigning millions of Americans to terrible insurance coverage while draining the coffers of Medicare far more rapidly than "real" Medicare - neither Obama nor Biden (so far) did a thing to stop it, and most Democrats in Congress are equally complacent even today.

And then there's Bill Clinton's bear-hug embrace of Reagan and Bush's neoliberal plan to destroy American unions by shipping over 60,000 factories and tens of millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs overseas.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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