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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Internal Democratic Struggles Are So Unproductive

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 07/27/17 14:49

by Dave Mindeman

I find it enormously frustrating that Democratic activists and candidates seem to focus their ire in the wrong places. I agree with their view. I want to make the same changes. I will work to make that happen. But we have to work in the areas that can actually make a difference.

For example. Regarding Citizens United. Democrats talk loud and long about this Supreme Court decision being wrong. It is drowning our elections in corporate money and the vast majority of that money supports Republicans.

Yet, the term "Wall Street Democrats" is popping up much too often. Sure, there are Democratic candidates who take Wall Street money. It is not ideal but funding a campaign has to have money, at least until we can fix this.

And where will the fix come from? Well, since the Supreme Court has ruled that money is "free speech" and corporations are "people", the only sure way to fix it is with a Constitutional amendment. And that means electing people who will support that concept. When a Democrat raises a lot of money, the tendency is to dismiss that person as not on our side. I disagree. If they manage to get elected and have made a pledge to us, we can hold them accountable.

Of course, the question becomes...why not support a candidate who will not take big money - a candidate who will run a"grass roots" campaign? Well, the only person who managed to make that work was Bernie Sanders... and even at that he was out of money by the end of the primary season...and he still lost. And to my mind, Bernie was unique in that regard. Candidates that he has been willing to support have not gotten the same monetary support and have not been winning.

Money is critical for winning any race. Even more so in Congressional and other Federal campaigns. I don't like it, but I refuse to accept the idea that Democratic candidates who raise a competitive amount of money are not really with us. The ugly reality is that raising money is the only way to a campaign's true viability. And outside money can crush us, even then.

But let's get back to the real fix. A Constitutional amendment needs to get 2/3rds of both Houses and 2/3rds of the state legislatures.

Since Republicans control both Houses and 30+ states, this doesn't look realistic right now.

But we have to look at a longer range plan. A plan that requires legislative focus and electoral action. Winning is the important thing. And if winning NOW requires monetary investments from wherever we can get it, then so be it. We make the pledge to the goal and find a way to get there - and that means holding any Democrat that can get elected accountable to any pledge they make regarding money in politics.

We cannot do this by internal bickering and semantic language. We need to find a way to win...period.

It is discouraging to me that Democrats, faced with the Trump problem and Republican domination, still think it is necessary to rehash the 2016 divisions and label our own candidates in negative ways.

It is frustrating. It is self destructive. And I, for one, am tired of it.

Don't fight each other. The enemy for 2018 is very, very clear.

Get to work.
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