Like most Democrats, we here at LR Net are over the moon about the party’s success in Tuesday’s election. We celebrate and salute the victories of liberal activists in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington state, Georgia, New Hampshire, and, well, right across the country.
Still, we think we need to be careful. There is all too great a danger of growing complacent. As Robert Reich noted on twitter, this is not the end of the nightmare, only the beginning of the start of the end. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.
To that end, we’d like to suggest that readers consider an article that has recently been reposted from The Nation to The Moyers & Co. site. In What Killed the Democratic Party? William Greider looks at a report recently authored by Action for a Progressive Future (a left leaning activist group) on why the Democratic Party lost the 2016 election.
Action’s answer? The Democrats themselves screwed up by ignoring the working and lower middle class voters who had been the party’s most loyal supporters in the past, and by thinking that the Democrats could win by becoming the conservative party the GOP used to be. The most telling line in the piece may be a quote from Senator Chuck Schumer who, just before the 2016 debacle, told his friends not to worry because “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs of Philadelphia.”
Equally problematic, says the report, was that the Dems ignored the younger, more left-leaning voters who increasingly question unfettered Neo-liberalism and for whom “socialism” is no longer a dirty word. These are, of course, the young men and women who backed Bernie Sanders, and could have put that man in the White House had they had the chance to do so.
Finally, Action says that if the Democrats are going to win, they are going to have to make common cause with their abandoned former supporters, the working and middle class voters, as well as with the young leftists who supported Bernie.
At LR Net, we are not sure if the Action folks are correct…although, we suspect they are. And we might suggest that a good first step for the Democratic Party would be a heartfelt and public apology to the voters it abandoned or ignored in 2016 and before. That would be a very good thing.
Interested readers may download Action’s report at the organization’s website.