If it were easy to just up and quit identifying with the Democratic Party, a lot more American voters would have done so by now—Progressives in particular. Codependency with an abusive political partner is a painfully difficult state of existence. The ever-present fallacy of false alternatives is downright cruel: "What, you're gonna leave me? Where are you gonna go—to the Republicans?"
Stop it, Democratic establishment. Just fucking stop it. Of the millions of us who no longer identify as Democrats, some of us have gone to the Republicans. Others have joined smaller parties like the Greens. The huge majority have given up on partisan politics entirely, including the largest cohort of all: those who don't vote, even in presidential elections.
Full disclosure: I'm Green-Blue, still voting for Democrats in general elections when there is no Green candidate in the race, espeically for local offices and seats in the State Legislature. This is why I would even entertain the thought of volunteering for Lina Hidalgo in her quest for the position of Harris County Judge. But I have not voted in a Democratic Primary in more than 20 years, because I have not considered myself a Democrat since 1995.
Two Intercept Items
Little Maryland plays a big part in inspiring this entry. The main inspiration comes from this Intercept piece from Lee Fang about House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) pressuring at least one Congressional candidate to drop out of a primary race to make way for the establishment candidate.
The secondary inspiration is this week's Intercepted podcast: Jeremy Scahill interviews Ralph Nader, who all but says that the Democratic Party should be abolished, followed by a conversation with Chelsea Manning, a progressive challenger facing Sen. Ben Cardin in the Maryland Democratic primary.
It is becoming increasingly evident that the Democratic Party and its subdivisions are responding with hostility to any form of insurgency within it, and that this hostility will continue. The stronger the progressive upswell grows, the more harshly its leaders will treat it. So to all the Indivisible and Our Revolution types who see this as an opportunity to replicate the success of the Tea Party movement, I say, "Bollocks." The Teabaggers, for good or ill, attracted major funding from the Koch family and other mega-donors; there are no such fairy godparents waiting in the wings to underwrite Progressives, the only way the Democratic establishment will ever show them any respect.
Go Third-Party ASAP
Perhaps it doesn't work the same way for everybody, but as soon as I hooked up with the Green Party Organizing Committee back in the 1990s, I didn't miss the Democratic Party one bit. Professional athletes who play most of their careers for one team can't be too distraught when they are traded elsewhere: They just have to perform for their new teams sufficiently to earn their paychecks. You may have treasured memories of the old squad, may even maintain some connections to it, but when you play against it, you play to win.
If you want an end to US wars for oil, a swift transition to renewable energy, legal cannabis in every state, free state college tuition, Medicare for All, homes for the homeless, and that mythical pony, then the Democratic Party is not your home. The Democratic leadership considers you the enemy. The Democratic establishment wants you to shut up and go away. They'll happily take your votes, your money, and your time, but they don't want your ideas.
So leave. Leave loudly, proudly, and in large numbers. When you do leave, have a place to go.
The Green Party of the United States has all those policies in its platform, and it already has something of an infrastructure. So joining the Greens would save you some major steps in party-building. If all the Berniecrats jumped to the Greens, they could make it the viable force it would have been if things had gone differently post–Nader/LaDuke.
If the GP is not to your liking as is, get your comrades together via your preferred social media engine and start a different party. Go the People's Party route—preferably with some improvements, like a foreign policy based on peace and human rights. If you do it right, all the Greens might just find your new party so awesome that they'll join it. Otherwise, perhaps the Green Party will change its name, which has never gained much traction in the US, to something that doesn't confine it to the environmental kook ward in voters' minds (assuming they know of it at all).
When the Democratic Party starts losing millions of voters, it will be forced either to (a) behave like a true party of the people or (b) abandon any pretense of progressivism and become explicitly centrist. The former may win votes, but the latter will win donations—and, between votes and dollars, we know which the Democrat establishment truly values.
On that distant day, when Progressives take over in DC, perhaps the new single-payer health system will offer free treatments for Post-Democratic Stress Disorder.