Bill Curry has a must-read post up at Salon for progressives: Yes, we’re stuck with Hillary: But we don’t need an Elizabeth Warren-esque savior for a battle of ideas.
I’d lose something if I tried to synthesize Curry’s message, so I won’t try. But here are a few passages I found particularly insightful.
On why Democrats don’t debate policy among themselves, as Republicans do:
Democrats don’t debate policy because they can’t. They can’t because they tell their donors one thing and their base another. This divides policy from message. It’s a situation rich with irony: To pay for populist-themed ads they mortgage themselves to the status quo. Needless to say, when they divvy up the spoils, the donors get policy and the base gets message.
On political consultants:
The advice Democrats get from consultants is killing them but they don’t know it. America needs broad reform to solve problems that affect us all. Consultants micro-target niche constituencies. It turns out you can’t sell big changes with mere slogans. Real reformers must marshal facts and apply logic to sway opinion. Political consultants are in a different line of work.
Progressives waiting for Democrats to change are dangerously deluded. It hurts to admit that their leaders are addicted to money and to the sense of emotional security consultants provide in lieu of insight — and worse, they can’t see it or change.
And on what successful movements look like:
Much progressive work goes on outside elections yet is essential both to winning races and enacting reform. Consider two of the most inspiring movements of the 21st century, the campaign to raise the living standards of low-wage workers and the movement for marriage equality.
The working poor don’t have any money to give politicians or to lavish on consultants, but in November they steamrolled big business in four red states. They did it the way progressive movements do: setting a goal and then building consensus and trust in face-to-face meetings with as many people as would talk to them.
At first glance the gay marriage fight looks different. Wealthy advocates gave lots of money to politicians, mostly Democrats running for federal office. But those politicians did no more for gay marriage than they did for restaurant workers. Gay marriage was won in courts, legislatures and referenda. If anything, its success was even more dependent on personal engagement. Its best advocates were the millions of gays who bravely came out to family and friends. If you were so privileged as to be in one of those conversations you saw what progressive leadership is all about.
Take the time to read the whole piece.