Things are looking bleak for Democrats when progressive activist and thinker Cornel West is hammering the Party for its cronyism, lack of depth and listlessness. West writes “The neoliberal vision of the Democratic party has run its course.” Still smarting from the defeat of Bernie Sanders by the corporate-backed Hillary Clinton, the progressive left is trying to find a new way forward, and West says that may be outside the Democrat Party. West doesn’t call her out by name, but you can see Nancy Pelosi in his words.
The monumental collapse of the Democratic party – on the federal, state and local levels – has not yielded any serious soul-wrestling or substantive visionary shifts among its leadership. Only the ubiquitous and virtuous Bernie remains true to the idea of fundamental transformation of the party – and even he admits that seeking first-class seats on the Titanic is self-deceptive and self-destructive.
We progressives need new leadership and institutional capacity that provides strong resistance to Trump’s vicious policies, concrete alternatives that matter to ordinary citizens and credible visions that go beyond Wall Street priorities and militaristic policies. And appealing to young people is a good testing ground.
In December, a tone deaf Pelosi flatly told John Dickerson on Face the Nation “I don’t think people want a new direction.” Apparently she hasn’t been paying attention for the last two years. The party insulted its progressive wing once again by electing Tom Perez, a Hillary Clinton acolyte and Party-establishment favorite, to the chairmanship of the DNC rather than the progressive left’s favorite, Congressman Keith Ellison.
The Obama administration was brutal for Democrats. Fox News reports that Democrats lost over 1,000 seats under Obama’s leadership:
The Democratic Party suffered huge losses at every level during Obama’s West Wing tenure.
The grand total: a net loss of 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts, including congressional and state legislative seats, governorships and the presidency.
Now the Democrats are left with no bench, failed leadership, and a party split in two between corporate hacks and far left progressives. So much for the breathless predictions of a “permanent Democratic majority” made in 2009. Since 2010 Americans have been telling Democrats that they want a new direction, despite what Nancy Pelosi might think.