Are Rich Democrats the Problem: A Follow-Up


I love it when smart people agree with me.

My post yesterday, Are Rich Democrats the Problem?, sounded the same theme as Bill Curry’s piece in Salon today, Wall Street and the wingnuts win again: Radical right and radical wealth have captured both parties. Curry first gives a nod to the ridiculousness of today’s Republican Party. Then, he turns to the Democrats and, in a few sentences, rips to shreds the lame excuses party loyalists have been making for years:

How could it be? How could Republicans make such a sad spectacle of Congress, lose every issue in every poll by such huge margins, yet run so close in the race for president — and hold the upper hand in the battle to control Congress? Some blame the system’s corruption by big money. Others blame voters for being lazy, gullible, ignorant or reactionary. The money is awful and we’re all flawed but we can only hope these analyses are false, as they lead nowhere. If you want to know why Democrats are in a dead heat with a gaggle of extremists, look at what they’ve been up to lately.

Curry’s focus is on the non-fight to succeed Harry Reid as the Democratic caucus leader in the Senate. Without a contest, Chuck Schumer, Wall Street’s Senator, will take over for Reid in 2017. Curry:

High-dollar fundraising is now the preferred path to Democratic advancement in Congress. Over a generation the party’s relations with Wall Street were slowly transformed until Barack Obama in 2008 became the first Democratic candidate for president to outraise his Republican opponent there. Nothing that has happened to or within the party has had so much impact on its policy and message. Schumer is one of three men, the others being Tony Coelho and Rahm Emanuel, who made the marriage, and made it work. Today he is its chief guardian and the enforcer of its contract. It is in this role– and not as the founder of some vague message operation — that he has influenced the direction of his party. His influence has been profound.

Should we be looking to Elizabeth Warren to save us? In Curry’s opinion, not no, but hell no:

On Monday, Elizabeth Warren did a long interview on public radio. Sounding to my ear somewhat scripted she measured out a few kind words for Hillary and heaped praise on Schumer. She was in a tough spot, yes, but her performance reminded me how unlikely it is that the system will change from within and of how much we need a strong, independent progressive movement to be the engine of reform.

Curry’s advice to the base, which undoubtedly will go unheeded, is nonetheless spot on:

Schumer’s up for reelection in 2016. It would be great if he got a primary before he got a promotion. (Zephyr Teachout would be an ideal candidate.) The Democrats don’t need a new theme or more money. They need to reclaim their heritage and so reestablish the moral authority of government. They’ll only do it if we force them to. I know what’s stopping them. What’s stopping us?


  1. You cannot lead people where they don’t want to go. gun control has cost the democratic party dearly. If the democratic party controlled congress their would be change. Less then you like but change none the less. Dark money did not stop democrat senators from winning every blue state race they were up in except colorado where udall was told to stay away from the immigration issue to protect southern democrats.(it didn’t work) Gun control and photo radar to gain revenue under the guise of safety(how shortening the yellow light time to issue more revenue tickets is safety?) Ferguson issuing tickets for revenue only is bad because they were giving them to poor black people. But we need the revenue to do good liberal things so whats the harm? This is why people who should be voting democrats don’t there are many other issues like this ;but these are easy to show. Thom hartmann on his show always lists reasons working people should vote for progressives. I called his show to explain the working people who vote republican do so because liberals like you say the second amendment DOESN’T give you the right to own a gun! Working people were voting against democrats long before dark money and it is just an excuse so you don’t have to face the real reason working people won’t vote democrat. Steve thanks for the review I need all the constructive criticism I can get!

  2. Curry’s sage advice will go unheeded, just as your equally spot on advice will go unheeded on this blog. Haven’t you heard? “Dark Money” is the real problem, not a loss of message or direction.

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