FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?

Despite being led by one of the most erratic and least popular presidents in modern history, the Trumpian Republican Party dominates U.S. politics.

One of the main reasons for this awful state of affairs is that the opposition party – which calls itself “Democratic” – is led by vacillating, corporate-oriented politicians who seem to have one firm principle: that the party’s progressive base must be repeatedly insulted, repressed and denied a major role in democratic decision-making.

The latest slap in the face to the Democratic Party’s base came Friday when the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee – behind closed doors – reversed its ban on accepting political donations from fossil fuel companies. That ban had lasted a mere two months before the ridiculous flip-flop.

Did “Democratic” Party leaders democratically survey the party’s base before toadying to oil, gas and coal company donors?  Did the leadership consult environmental groups who so loyally support Democrats in election after election?

No and no.

In the face of an energized activist base crying out for a party that will put forward bold social/economic  and environmental proposals, the Democratic leadership dithers and grovels for donations from the Republican-allied fossil fuel industry that threatens our planet’s future.

A co-founder of the climate action group 350.org concluded: “This sort of spineless corporate pandering is why Democrats keep losing.”

Even in the face of a horrific menace like Trump, efforts to defeat the right at the polls are undermined by a Democratic leadership lacking in vision, values, and commitment to democracy.

Which is why an alliance of progressive activists will be setting up informational picket lines when the full Democratic National Committee begins its three-day meeting in Chicago on August 23. The alliance, led by groups such as RootsAction.org and Progressive Democrats of America, is supporting vital reforms to democratize the party.

One reform to be debated in Chicago – one that activists believe is winnable – harks back to the calamitous Democratic loss to Trump in 2016. The reform would restrict the undemocratic voting power of “superdelegates”: party insiders who have exerted an outsized influence in choosing the presidential nominee. (By the end of 2015, before a single Democratic voter had participated in any state primary or caucus, Hillary Clinton was the prohibitive favorite for the nomination thanks to her support from most of the 712 Democratic superdelegates.)

Besides the superdelegate problem, activists also want Democratic Party finances to be more transparent – more urgent now that the DNC has done a backflip on fossil fuel donations.

It’s bad enough that our country’s governing party denies climate science while believing Exxon and Chevron are persons.

It makes matters much worse when the opposition party’s leadership wants donations from Mr. Exxon and Ms. Chevron while tacitly denying that climate science demands drastic action – way far beyond the wishes of those donors.

This country needs a serious opposition party that can defeat both corporate power and the GOP. Only democratic participation by the grassroots will make possible that kind of a winning party.

 

More articles by:

Jeff Cohen was director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College and cofounder of the online activism group RootsAction.org.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
George Wuerthner
The Highest Use of Public Forests: Carbon Storage
Ralph Nader
It is Time to Rediscover Print Newspapers
Nick Licata
How SDS Imploded: an Inside Account
Rachel Smolker – Anne Peterman
The GE American Chestnut: Restoration of a Beloved Species or Trojan Horse for Tree Biotechnology?
Sam Pizzigati
Can Society Survive Without Empathy?
Manuel E. Yepe
China and Russia in Strategic Alliance
Patrick Walker
Green New Deal “Climate Kids” Should Hijack the Impeachment Conversation
Colin Todhunter
Encouraging Illegal Planting of Bt Brinjal in India
Robert Koehler
The Armed Bureaucracy
David Swanson
Anyone Who’d Rather Not be Shot Should Read this Book
Jonathan Power
To St. Petersburg With Love
Marc Levy
How to Tell a Joke in Combat
Thomas Knapp
Pork is Not the Problem
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming and Solar Minimum: a Response to Renee Parsons
Jill Richardson
Straight People Don’t Need a Parade
B. R. Gowani
The Indian Subcontinent’s Third Partition
Adolf Alzuphar
Diary: The Black Body in LA
Jonah Raskin
‘69 and All That Weird Shit
Michael Doliner
My Surprise Party
Stephen Cooper
The Fullness of Half Pint
Charles R. Larson
Review: Chris Arnade’s “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America”
David Yearsley
Sword and Sheath Songs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail