David Weigel reports at the Washington Post about a new Progressive Democrat organization. Progressives launch ‘Justice Democrats’ to counter party’s ‘corporate’ legislators:
Cenk Uygur, founder of the Young Turks video network that has become virally popular among progressive voters, is launching a project called Justice Democrats to defeat members of the Democratic Party who have cast votes seen as unacceptable.
“The aim in 2018 is to put a significant number of Justice Democrats in the Congress. The aim for 2020 is to more significantly take over the Democratic Party,” Uygur said. “If they’re going to continue to be corporate Democrats, that’s doomed for failure for the rest of time.”
Justice Democrats cohered after the 2016 election, when Uygur began talking to veterans of the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) about ways to challenge Democrats from the left. The Justice Democrats project counts Saikat Chakrabarti and Zack Exley, two tech veterans of the Sanders campaign, among its founders; their first goal was to provide the infrastructure and resources for progressives who wanted to challenge “corporate Democrats.”
In the near term, that meant finding people who could run against the 13 Democratic senators who opposed a Sanders-backed measure to make it easier to import prescription drugs from Canada.
“Some members of the party that are already in the Progressive Caucus, we’re unlikely to primary. We want to focus on getting strong progressives into Congress,” Uygur said. “What’s the point of primarying Representative Raúl Grijalva [D-Ariz.] if you want to do that? There will be a small number of people who ran once before, and we can look at them again. But do we want to challenge Senator Cory Booker [D-N.J.]? That’s a no-brainer.”
The Justice Democrats platform mirrors much of what Sanders ran on, some of which had been adopted into the 2016 Democratic platform. Where Sanders called for renegotiating trade deals, the platform doubles down. Democrats have called for infrastructure spending; the platform calls for the party to “invest billions in rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, schools, levees, airports etc.” It goes even further than Sanders, however, in asking candidates to ban foreign aid to human rights violators.
All of that builds on what had been a time of expansion for the Young Turks. After the election, the site crowdfunded nearly $1 million to expand its team and roster of contributors. The Justice Democrats would follow the same model.
“I was hoping someone else would do this, but when no one else was,” Uygur said, “somebody had to do it.”
So Cenk Uygur and the Young Turks want to be the left’s answer to Steve Bannon and Breitbart? Do we really want more celebrity politics?
Internecine party warfare and purges for ideological purity, like the Cultural Revolution in China, are exactly what Trump wants and needs to gain a second term in office and to destroy whatever progressive future Cenk Uygur might imagine.
D.R. Tucker at the Political Animal blog addressed this the other day. Despite Yesterday’s Uprising, We Could Still Wind Up with Two Terms of Trump:
There’s an old West Indian saying that goes, “Hard ears that don’t hear, by and by will feel.” It’s not irrational to be concerned that this proverb will be proven true three years from now.
The 2020 Presidential election will be here before too long, and if the Democratic Party goes into the general election divided–if the party cannot unify behind whoever becomes Trump’s challenger, whether that challenger is a bona fide progressive or a supposed centrist–Trump will unquestionably become a two-term President. If that prospect frightens you, it should.
It will not matter if the economy has slowed down by November 3, 2020. It will not matter if Mr. Trump has mired us in an unwinnable war or two. It will not matter if Trump has broken key promises to members of his base. And it certainly won’t matter if Trump continues fondling his ego in public, as he did in his speech to the CIA yesterday. All Trump needs is a broken and divided Democratic Party–a party unable to harness the momentum generated by yesterday’s historic Women’s Marches across the country–to do it again.
It will be horrifying if a progressive secures the Democratic nomination, only to receive tepid support from members of the party who have problems with populism. It will be equally horrifying if a supposed centrist secures the Democratic nomination, only to be regarded with scorn by those who backed a undisputed progressive rival.
A unified Democratic Party could be an unstoppable political force; unity between the party’s left and “middle” would be the GOP’s worst nightmare. Conversely, when Democrats take up arms against one another, Republicans always prosper.
Imagine what would happen to this country if a 2020 Democratic nominee proved unable to truly unify the party. Today is the 34th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling, which liberated American women. If a Democratic nominee failed to unify the party and thus came up short against Trump, the 45th President would have a clear path towards establishing an anti-Roe majority on the Supreme Court (assuming Republicans were still in control of the Senate after the 2020 Congressional elections). By the time Trump left office in 2025, the Supreme Court would be largely comprised of jurists whose interpretation of the Constitution would take us back to the right days of Lochner v. New York.
For an explanation of Lochner, see my post George Will’s radical ‘litmus test’ for a return to the Lochner era.
Imagine what two terms of Trump would do to women’s rights, to unions and workers, to the climate, to education, to civil rights, to health care, voting rights. Imagine the worst… and realize that it will happen if the 2020 Democratic nominee is sabotaged by squabbling.
Will we bear witness to another destructive fight between factions in the Democratic Party? Will we bear witness to an obsession with scrutinizing whether an allegedly “centrist” Democratic nominee took one nickel in campaign contributions from Wall Street, or, conversely, nonsensical navel-gazing over whether a strongly progressive Democratic nominee is “too far left” to win a general election? Will we bear witness to the opposite of unity?
If Democrats never forget that sick feeling they had in their stomachs when Trump was declared the winner of the Electoral College–the sick feeling that motivated the concerned citizens who took to the streets yesterday–they’ll remain focused on the most important goal going into the 2020 Presidential election. If they allow petty feuding to obscure that goal, Trump will have four more years to radically remake this country. For Democrats, it’s either war against Trump or war against each other. The former is winnable. The latter is a quagmire.
I am all for more liberal and progressive Democrats being elected to office. But your enemy is not your fellow Democrat who may disagree with you on a particular issue. “Big tent” political parties embrace a variety of opinions and do not impose ideological purity tests, as does the GOP. The enemy is ‘Trumpism,’ the new American fascism, and never forget it. Forming the proverbial “circular firing squad” that Democrats are so noted for will only aid Trump.