Polls show most Americans want progressive policies, Medicare for all, Guaranteed Basic Income, labor unions, Pay It Forward Tuition, a Social Security one can live on, and more. These policies are considered far left even by some in the Democratic Party.
In a recent interview on MSNBC with Stephanie Ruhle, the following exchange occurred with businessman and deep-pocketed Democratic donor Stephen Cloobeck.
“When Democrats continue to say, ‘Down with the billionaires. We can’t stand the rich,’ said Stephanie Ruhle. “A lot of people want to be rich. So is it the right message that Democrats are going with?”
“It’s so effing wrong,” said Stephen Cloobeck. “I’ve talked to Schumer. I’ve talked to Wyden. I’ve talked to Pelosi. And I said if you use the term billionaires again, I’m done. Because it’s aspirational. I didn’t start with anything. Just penalize everyone that’s done well? We all want to do well. And we should be the party of doing well. We should be a party, of business and leadership. And it is very very disturbing when I hear the millionaire or billionaire word. And I told them to stop it. Knock it off.”
“Then are you worried that the Democratic Party is going too far to the left?” Ruhle asked.
“So much so it drives me nuts,” Cloobeck responded. “So much so it would make me quit the party. And I’ve made it very clear I’ll cut your money off. And others will do the same.”
In other words, donors are telling the leaders of the Democratic Party to ignore the will of the people, to maintain some middle ground advantageous to the few. And if the Democratic Party does not oblige, the wealthy donors will pack up and leave.
Stephanie Ruhle then continued her questioning based on a false premise.
“Right now there is an opportunity,” Ruhle said. “If Democrats lose for example in the state of Virginia. If that isn’t a wake up call, that the Democratic leadership needs to get together and say we’ve got to find a middle ground, because if the Democrats continue to go far to the left, you’ve got that whole group in the center that just aren’t going to go the way of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. And then you’re gonna fracture the party even more.”
The fracture within the Democratic Party has more to do with the leadership and the grassroots than with Democrats and progressives in general. There are those who want to hold on to the middle because that is where the “progressive,” wealthy, establishment Democrats reside. Ironically, it is not that far away from where the conservative, wealthy, establishment Republicans live. It is the concept of the left rail and right rail being technically different, but heading in the same direction.
The 2016 election proved that Americans don’t just want left or right rails. Their current economic and social conditions demand a derailment. A progressive derailment is much more advantageous to the masses than a right wing derailment, which would mean the virtual enslavement of “the other”: people of color, women, the poor, LGBTQ, and many others.
The election of people of all types, political persuasions, and values is probative. It illustrates that the progressive movement has the reach most activists knew it had.
Progressives do not need to fight what many refer to as “the establishment.” They just need to replicate Virginia, New Jersey, Washington state, the elected that were not supposed to be electable, women, and more. Progressives must run for precinct chairs in their Democratic primaries. Most importantly, they must saturate the primaries with candidates for local, state, and national offices.
Progressives must realize that winning is more effective than talking. The most recent election proves we are well on our way.