With the midterms only a matter of months away, one of the key questions for the Democrats is what direction will the party go in. Many of its supporters in big metropolitan cities have been putting forward the case for the party to move to the left, especially after how successful Bernie Sanders was during the 2016 election. However, the party machine, has neglected to listen to these views and seems to be continuing on with its Clinton-Obama era policies and ideas.
The first case of the Democrats suppressing its progressive supporters was that of the Sanders campaign during the 2016 election. Many on the left, saw the DNC as being anti-Sanders and putting all of its effort into discrediting the Vermont Senator’s campaign. This was seen with Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s email leak that showed that the DNC was biased in favour of Secretary Clinton. The same can be said with the party’s establishment controlling many of the super delegates, most of whom backed Clinton over Sanders.
The case of the establishment taking on the progressives within the Democratic party did not stop after the 2016 election. In the election to see who would become the new DNC chair, once again the battle between establishment, Tom Perez — who served as Labor Secretary under Obama, took on Keith Ellison, the progressive from Minnesota, who subsequently missed out on the role, due to the sheer force of key establishment figures from both the Clinton and Obama administrations throwing their weight behind Mr. Perez.
Fast forward to the Democratic primary season in 2018, the first since the Me Too movement and the real impact of the Trump presidency. . . and the Democratic party is doing it again to progressives within its party. The most notable example of which is the New York governors race, with incumbent Andrew Cuomo, who served as HUD secretary under President Clinton in the late 1990s, being challenged by Cynthia Nixon, a progressive known from her role in Sex and the City. Nixon appealed to many progressives across the state, although much of her base was from New York City itself, with her call to fix the city’s subway, which in one case caused her to be late to the debate.
In reaction to a popular progressive challenging a tainted establishment figure. . . the DNC are doing the exact same thing that they did to Sanders and Ellison. Tom Perez, the DNC chair, came to New York to endorse Cuomo prior to the primary selection and threw his weight behind the beleaguered and unpopular Governor, this just backs up claims by those from the Sanders wing of the party, that the establishment is out to get them. What is even more shocking is that 95% of the Democratic party’s delegates in the state, all backed Cuomo at the party’s conference so he could achieve the nomination without a wider primary election.
If the Democratic party fails to listen to the voices of its grassroots supporters and those who identify as progressives within the party, they risk not only allowing the party to become detached from those it aims to help, but also allow for the GOP to actually do well in this November’s midterms and possibly hand Donald Trump another term in the White House. Just look at the damage that Green Party voters did to Al Gore in 2000 in Florida, and that shows why the party must look to those on the left, rather than the ‘New Democrats’ that have ruled the party for over twenty-five years.