Bernie Sanders may have brought people into the movements, but at the end of the day, the Dixon/Black Agenda analysis of Sanders being a sheepdog stands. And Bernie Sanders played that role well, which is why there is currently so much resistance to fully breaking from the Democrats. Electing progressive Democrats will result in capitulation and co-optation, and more will be ready to come over and help to build a new political party.
I like how the participants in the Forum have identified and summarized how the people and events of 2016 actually made it more difficult for leftist third-party movements to attract voters and activists to their cause. I also like that their consensus seems to overlap with mine: that the #DemEnter strategy is a recipe for accelerating the rot within the Democratic Party, not for pushing it in a progressive direction. By "rot," I don't mean the sort that will cause the party to crumble and blow away, but the kind that spreads across the political landscape.
Yes, I may have stated in previous entries that I approve of #DemEnter as part of the overall progressive strategy. Yes, I may have expressed my excitement over true Progressives running in the Democratic primary here in Texas, some of whom had a good chance at winning nominations, and one of whom (Lina Hidalgo) ran unopposed. Yes, I will quite likely campaign for Lina in the next few months.
In the long term, however, I believe that the best way to fix our wretched system is for Progressives to break from their co-dependent relationship with the Democrats, joining with the Greens or forming a whole new party, standing strongly and proudly for peace and justice.
"We need to run fewer candidates."
In addition, back in 2016 I was arguing in favor of reducing the number of Green candidates, and North Star contributor Brandy Baker concurs. In the elections of 2012 and 2014, the Greens' "Occupy the Ballot" approach made sense. In 2016 the better approach would be to allocate resources more judiciously to a smaller number of all-star candidates.
katija gruene, the leading proponent of "Occupy the Ballot" in '12 and '14, also took the position in '16 that it was time to consolidate. She also originally opposed petitioning for restoration of ballot access this year, but said as she facilitated the Ballot Access Workshop last fall that she would not stand in the way.
There's a certain common-sense appeal to setting a goal of recruiting candidates for every contested legislative seat, thus assuring that your entire state has a Green option on the ballot (assuming your state Green Party has a ballot line). But the Party must accompany that with a robust and effective fund-raising engine...which, in Texas at least, we just don't have.
In 2018, the Green Party of Texas will have zero candidates on the ballot, but a few Greens are running as independents or write-ins. Any hope of a return to the battle in 2020 depends on a whole lot of pieces falling into place, whether we put them there or they magically fall there. I earnestly hope that our State Executive Committee starts drafting its 2020 plan ASAP.