In re-reading recent posts, it has not escaped my attention that my attention has focused on some Democratic politicians. Why would this longtime Green even care about the political ambitions and positions of Reps. Gabbard and Ocasio-Cortez? It's not because I'm a middle-aged white dude with a thing for attractive young women who can talk intelligently about matters of policy. (I'll candidly admit to heavy long-term crushes on Abby Martin and Eleanor Goldfield, but those two are NOT Democrats and that's NOT the explanation.)
The best answer I can offer to that is that the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party has fascinated me from a distance. Can this ethnically diverse, mostly young freshman cohort swim against the tide and pull their party back to the left? Can they get their agenda past the neoliberal gatekeepers in the Capitol?
There was a reason—well, several—for my giving up on the Democratic Party more than 20 years ago. If anything, Team Donkey has become more corporatized and corrupted than it was when President Clinton took his political triangulation performance art to DC. I'm not exactly optimistic about a party that Sen. Joe Manchin can call home even trying to dismantle late-stage capitalism and all its feudalist tendencies.
But I'm rooting for that outcome anyway. Socialism or barbarism, y'all.
The True Progressive presence in the House Democratic Caucus remains small, but it is growing—not just in numbers, but in volume. The fact that the Fox News crew has its collective knickers in a twist over Ocasio-Cortez is a good sign that she's doing something right. All AOC needs now is more Congresscritters like her to form a more co-optation-resistant bloc.
And I'm not talking about the laughably named Progressive Caucus; any member who supported Hillary Clinton's presidential run before or during the primaries should not be on that list of 98 House members. If 42% of House Democrats in the 116th Congress consider themselves "progressive," then the word has truly lost its meaning.
Will the New Left Congressmembers (add Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and possibly Ilhan Omar into the mix) maintain their leftish stances on issues, or will they evolve into corporate Democrats? Will they truly train their focus on policies that aid working people rather than spending hours every day shaking money trees for their next campaigns?
And will Gabbard's somewhat quixotic presidential run help or hinder them?
Apart from the absurdly and painfully long presidential campaign cycle, 2019-20 should be very entertaining, especially as we watch the announced candidates all trying to outdo each other with the progressive rhetoric because they bloody well know that anti-establishment messages sell, and that Sen. Bernard Sanders remains the most popular politician in these United States! Fire up the popcorn machine.