Let’s clear something up right at the start. I understand that the average progressive might look at a title such as this published at a site like Hot Air, and coming from this particular author such an offering might elicit a rather skeptical reaction. But the fact is that you and I have more in common than you might think, and we face many of the same problems in dealing with the American political machine. Chief among these is who you will put forward as a field of candidates for the 2016 presidential election. But I don’t ask you to simply take my say in these matters at face value. I don’t have the standing for that. Rather, I would present – at every turn – some sympathetic souls from your own ranks. Chief among them is Noam Scheiber (Scheiber!), who published a lengthy opus earlier this fall on precisely why committed progressives should be looking to progressive champions like Elizabeth Warren in the coming battle for the White House rather than Hillary Clinton.
The editorial is too long, with far too many specific points, to select a pithy quote here. Suffice it to say that if you haven’t read it, rather than trusting to the judgement of someone speaking from the other side of the aisle you should go now and read it in its entirety. Now, one of the first reactions you might have is to note that Senator Warren has already stated without reservation that she will not be challenging your presumptive nominee in the next presidential election. That much is true. But what is also equally obvious is that Scheiber raises some undeniable truths which the progressive movement can ill afford to ignore. You are approaching the end of an eight year span with a president from your own party who has been far too accommodating in attempts at compromising with us and who has been more than willing to lay some of your most cherished sacred cows on the slaughter table in the interest of cutting a deal. Believe me… we’ve dealt with the same thing. And now you’re looking at another race where your assumed front-runner candidate is offering yet another term of that same song and dance all over again.
You deserve better. And if you don’t seize the initiative now, when will the moment be ripe?
Barack Obama has been milquetoast at best on many of your most dearly held issues, and failed spectacularly on some of the others where he appeared to take your side. Hillary Clinton promises more of the same agenda of compromise in the interest of winning the election. But there are burning subjects of pressing national interest where other leaders can support the real change you desire. Who they may be must be left up to you, but I think we all know that they are out there.
One writer at Daily KOS encapsulated this idea perfectly in November – when Warren was still a hot topic for POTUS possibilities – saying that Democrats should not be fighting each other for a handful of crumbs. In that piece, the author talked about Social Security and other great society entitlement programs. You know where we’re going on these issues. Do you want to settle for raffling off bits and pieces in the name of business as usual, or do you want someone who will expand these programs exponentially to take care of everyone?
How about the minimum wage? We’re fighting against any increase in it. But you have speakers who are pushing to at least double it and give everyone a massive pay increase. Will any of your current choices go to the mat for that? But even raising the minimum wage doesn’t satisfy the need to achieve real income equality. There is a thirst among many influential progressive speakers to really level the playing field and mandate a cap on the pay of CEOs and other fat cats, bringing their wages to the level of those who do the real work. That’s nowhere to be seen in the current DNC agenda.
And for that matter, what of those without an income? Other nations have paved the way for an assured income for even those who do not work. The demand exists and surely a candidate can be found to take the debate stage with your pre-approved candidates and make this case.
You have a sitting, senior Senator who has long called for the real treatment you’d like to see for the Big Oil barons. The government could simply seize their assets and nationalize the energy industry, allocating their massive profits to the people. Going one step further, he’s also ready to nationalize the greedy, corrupt banking industry. This is not the time to deny that you see this as a desirable solution. You have a deep bench supporting these plans and any of them could take the field for the POTUS nomination.
How about guns? You know where we stand on this, as well as where our candidate will stand. We want a chicken in every pot, two pickup trucks in every garage and a gun rack in each of them. It’s been over a year since Sandy Hook for Pete’s sake! Your president failed to even get a luke-warm background check bill passed. Surely you’ve considered the possibility that this fell flat because it simply failed to go far enough. You have plenty of support among your base for a program to flat out ban all guns for the populace (except possibly the muzzle loaders the Founders intended us to have) and keep the real, high tech weapons of war only in the hands of the police and the military. Hillary Clinton spent a fair part of 2008 touting her experience with guns and hunting just to win over those with whom you disagree. Don’t tell me that a Democratic presidential candidate can’t be found who espouses real progressive values on this subject.
And what of the shoddy treatment the unions have seen at the hands of our party? Out in Seattle there is a brave young woman who has not only supported victory for the workers, but shone a path for how they could take over the capitalist assets by force if employers don’t agree to their terms. Can you sit by and nominate yet another “business as usual” DINO with the eyes of these progressives upon you?
We need a real debate in 2016, but thus far it looks like you’re ready to put up more of the same vanilla, compromising drivel. I don’t know who we’re going to nominate in the next presidential race at this point. It could be anyone from Chris Christie or Paul Ryan to Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin. But whoever it is, you can rest assured that they will be fighting hard for the near polar opposite of each and every one of these points. Are you going to settle for half a loaf and the crumbs of Real Change that you’ve gotten since January of 2009? Or will you put forward a real progressive to enact the agenda that you all claim to desire in order to save the country once and for all? You need a slate of serious candidates, not just the rubber stamp of Hillary Clinton and another cycle of the same, tired story of compromise.
The nation deserves this debate. You can do better. And you should.