Quo Vadis, Democrats?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for L.R. Runner’s “How to Save the Democratic Party” [Dec. 24/31, 2012]. I absolutely agree. Special thanks to Runner for noting the damage done to the party by its current hero Bill Clinton. He took pride in giving away the party’s influence and abandoning its principles, helping to start the United States on the downward path from which it will not return soon or easily. The talk of Hillary Clinton as a 2016 presidential candidate makes my blood run cold.
New Paltz, N.Y.
Is this where The Nation has sunk to? A cover story on how to “save the Democratic Party”? Really? This is the new “progressive” rallying cry? Shame.
Thanks, Nation, for L.R. Runner’s passionate commentary on the state of the Democratic Party. More than one of the responses critiqued Runner for expecting an aggressively progressive party in the absence of a social movement pushing it to be so, as the labor and civil rights movements did in the 1930s and ’60s. I have to ask if these folks missed the vibrant demonstrations in Seattle in 1999 and after, the antiwar demonstrations that attracted millions into the streets in 2003, and the Occupy movement that blossomed in the wake of the 2008 Wall Street–created financial crisis. The movement is there; the Democrats just don’t seem to be listening. The party helped gut banking regulation and voted for the Iraq invasion en masse, to name just two times the party tacked in the opposite direction from progressives in the street.
I made it through two pages of “How to Save the Democratic Party” before the yawns set in. The Democratic Party is just what its members want it to be, despite whatever fantasy L.R. Runner has for it.
The best thing the party can do for itself and the country is to marginalize the nativist yahoos who dominate the Republican Party. It can do that by coalition-building in Texas and Arizona, not engaging in a “showdown” between its “reformist” (read: do-nothing) and “accommodationist” (read: politically realistic) elements. Instead of helping the GOP by fighting among ourselves, how much better to take their electoral crown jewels while they eat one another alive. Runner may settle for being a “second party.” I want to be first.
L.R. Runner’s subhead that “America needs an unapologetically partisan party” is right on. The Democratic Party is not a vehicle for real change. Its simpering bipartisanship abhors hints that our sacred economic system must be considered the culprit. Capitalism is so deeply embedded in the gray matter of most Americans that it is unthinkable that it could be the cause of our waning economy.