Creating a progressive movement within the Democratic Party

If the candidates and supporters can come up with a uniform platform and promise to vote for the leading progressive candidate in order to defeat centrist and right-wing candidates, that will be a real victory.

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Image Credit: Ryan Olbrysh

Did you know that Trump’s re-election campaign fund started 2019 with $19 million in cash?  It’s making Democrats nervous. They have lots of good potential candidates, but at the moment each of them will have to spend all the money they raise in 2019 fighting the other Democrats, while Trump continues to sock the money away for the race in 2020.

Here’s one good idea that might alleviate this issue. We know that all the Democratic candidates will be lined up against Trump. So why shouldn’t each of them promise to include in their own ads a uniform anti-Trump statement? This will promote the Democratic Party and the uniform belief of all the candidates that Trump must be defeated. And it reminds the supporters of individual candidates that there is an overarching needs to defeat Trump.

And here’s another idea that Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Elizabeth Warren should look at. No one knows at this point how their own campaigns will fare. But the three of them would be well-advised to meet and try to hammer out of joint platform that they can all vigorously support. Doing this from the beginning will almost certainly gain power for such a platform, and it will aid the three of them in competing against the other more centrist candidates. For instance, if Kamela Harris’ campaign starts to pick up steam, the three progressives can be united in their position against her. (Of course, it’s possible that Harris might be considered

a progressive, too. She’s supporting Medicare for All, and she come out against private health insurance. In addition, in her candidacy speech, she came out for debt-free college education for all. In other words, she may be part of the group).

There’s one other important addition to the progressive movement.  The Green New Deal, which now has at least 35 Congressional supporters, and particularly Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. AOC is only 29, so she’s too young to be a Presidential candidate, but clearly she could add to making the progressive wing a reality.

The progressives should be careful not to be negative about each other. In other words, they should direct their campaigns in favor of their jointly held views and against the views of right-wing or centrist Democrats. If later it becomes evident that one of the progressives is the strongest, then the others should be prepared to support that candidate, insuring that a progressive Democrat is the standard-bearer.

Let me suggest a method of making the progressives come together. When these progressives run in the primaries, they should make it clear that at the Democratic convention, those elected to vote for them will be ready to vote for one of the other progressive candidates. In other words, if Bernie and Tulsi are behind Elizabeth, and if a centrist candidate is headed for victory, Bernie’s and Tulsi’s supporters will vote for Elizabeth to try to get her over the line. And if she wins, she will appoint Bernie and Tulsi to important posts in her administration if they want to accept such an appointment. In effect, the progressive candidates should constitute the progressive branch of the Democratic Party.

And who will be in the progressive branch? I cannot be certain. Bernie and Tulsi for sure. Elizabeth Warren I am almost certain (especially since she promoted the Wealth Tax). I am less certain of Kamala Harris, but her coming out against a continuation of private health insurance made me feel far more confident.

Then it’s possible that Sherrod Brown (Senator from Ohio) will turn out to be progressive. And possibly Andrew Yang. He is focused on Universal Basic Income, but he’s also for Medicare for All, Human-Centered Capitalism, fighting climate change, reducing mass incarceration, and other important issues. And, of course, AOC and as many of the Green New Dealers who will come along.

The important thing is to get all progressives moving in the same direction, proposing a collective platform and eventually supporting a progressive as the Democratic Party nominee, with the other progressives as part of the administration when elected.

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