The Elizabeth Warren strain of the Democratic Party may inspire plenty of articles, and support from true ideologues and union backers, but she is rejecting calls to challenge Hillary Clinton for the same reason others will as well: they recognize that the other side has won, that the Party’s views on drones and spying depend entirely on who’s issuing the orders, and that you can’t beat the firm grip of the corporatists on the money, power, and media that drives politics. And as a practical matter, the road to electoral success is only harder today for progressives – after winning his insurgent campaign, Obama and his allies changed the Democratic primary rules and process to make it harder for similar insurgents to pull off such upsets in the future. Bill de Blasio may inspire the left – but the Andrew Cuomos of the world are the ones who prevail.
A decade ago, Thomas Frank’s What’s The Matter With Kansas argued that it was heartland social conservatives who were being bilked by party elites to support policies against their own self-interest. For the progressives, the uncomfortable truth is that they’ve been the ones strung along by leader after leader within a party that pays lip service to their views on social issues – matters such as gay marriage, which are decided by the courts anyway – while largely ignoring their views on virtually every other area of policy.
Today, it’s clear progressives have turned out to be as easy to command as their caricatures of backwards evangelicals.
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