TAKE OVER THE PARTY: FORCE THE DEMOCRATS TO BREAK WITH BIG MONEY
- Co-organize a “Tea Party of the Left” formation.
- Force party leadership and candidates to break with Big Money.
- Push Democrats to resist GOP attacks on democracy, progressive values, and marginalized communities.
- Push Democrats to pass fundamental democracy reform in states they control.
- Push to elect progressive party leadership.
- Infiltrate the party with new local progressive leadership.
If all we do is resist Trump and the GOP and play defense for the next two years, then we risk the fate of the 2018 and 2020 elections to the corporate-backed Democratic Party establishment, who were so spectacularly defeated in 2016. With the rise of the unapologetically progressive Sanders’ campaign, the defeat of Clinton’s moderate and establishment-backed campaign, the overall extremism of the Republican Party, and the demographic shift towards more young, multiracial, progressive Americans, we have a historic opportunity right now to activate the Democratic base and force the Party to break with Big Money and embrace a bold progressive agenda.
This means driving a wedge between progressive-wing populists and corporate-wing moderates by demanding that the entire party—both its leadership and its candidates—sever their dependency on Wall Street, corporate donors, and the billionaire class. It means setting a standard and putting forward a demand (or set of demands) that will unify democratic voters and polarize politicians and party leadership, forcing them to either shift with their base or risk losing their primary races to progressive challengers willing to prove they will represent everyday people instead of wealthy campaign contributors. (We still have to finalize the specific demand(s) that will both broadly resonate with the public and have as much instrumental impact to prevent corruption as possible, while not creating an undue disadvantage for candidates who rise to meet the demand.)
Similarly, we will put concerted pressure on all Democrats to fight tooth and nail against Republican attacks on our democracy and against core progressive issues. By setting a standard that Democrats must resolutely resist and not cooperate with Trump or face protest and primary challenges, we can force them to choose between fighting for their constituents or acquiescing to the corrupt status quo.
And finally, we need to organize bold and ambitious campaigns to push through the most aggressive pro-democracy reform possible in those few states under Democratic control, including robust voting rights expansions, publicly funded elections, and bans on big money corruption. This will create more positive polarizing pressure within the party to actually take concrete action to fix our democracy where they have the ability to do so. It will be a concrete test of whether Democrats will deliver the democracy reform they say they support when they have the institutional authority to do so. Further, state victories will lend invaluable momentum to the national movement and provide a template for what kind of legislation is possible to pass at the federal level.
In the wake of the catastrophic 2016 election, the neoliberal establishment of the Democratic Party is wounded and vulnerable just as the progressive, populist, majority-backed insurgency is ascendant. There is a now a genuine battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. If we want to be able to institutionalize our strategic objective of real political equality for all, then we need to fight and win that battle now.