Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Democratic Party's Fraudulent Identity Politics FAIL


downwithtyranny  |  How cynical is the Democratic Party's support for identity politics? To this observer, it seems impossible not to notice that those in control of the Democratic Party care about "identity politics" — about supporting more women, more people of color, more LGBTQ candidates, etc. — only when it suits them. Which means, if you take this view, that their vocal support for the underlying principles of "identity politics" is both cynical and insincere.

As I said, this has been apparent for some time. I've never seen it documented so well in one place, however, until this recent piece by Glenn Greenwald. 

The Past as Prologue: Cynthia Nixon

Apparently, however, Democratic Party interest in electing strong progressive women (Hillary Clinton includes herself on that list) has dissipated in the smoke of the last election. As Greenwald notes, "Over and over, establishment Democrats and key party structures have united behind straight, white male candidates (including ones tainted by corruption), working to defeat their credible and progressive Democratic opponents who are women, LGBT people, and/or people of color. Clinton herself has led the way."

The article is replete with examples, from the Brad Ashford–Kara Eastman battle in Nebraska, to the Bob Menendez–Michael Starr Hopkins–Lisa McCormick three-way contest in New Jersey,  to the Ben Cardin–Chelsea Manning primary in Maryland. In all cases, the Party backed the white male candidate (or in Menendez's case, the whiter male candidate) against the woman, the person of color, and the LGBTQ candidate. Not even the smoke of 2016's identity fire remains. 

The Ocasio-Crowley Battle Is a Very High-Leverage Fight

A second point: I recently wrote about the importance of progressives involving themselves heavily in high-leverage races — like the Bernie Sanders 2016 race, for example — where the payoff would have been huge relative to the effort. (You can read that piece and its argument here: "Supporting Aggressive Progressives for Very High-Leverage Offices".)

The Ocasio-Crowley contest is similarly high-leverage — first, because he's perceived as vulnerable and acting like he agrees, and second because it would, to use a chess metaphor, eliminate one of the most powerful (and corrupt) anti-progressive players from House leadership in a single move.

Again, Crowley is widely seen as the next Democratic Speaker of the House. He would be worse by far than Nancy Pelosi, and he's dangerous. He has blackmailed, as I see it, almost all of his colleagues into supporting him by the implicit threat of, as Speaker, denying them committee assignments and delaying or thwarting their legislation. He also controls funding as Speaker via the leadership PAC and the DCCC. Even Mark Pocan, co-chair of the CPC and normally a reliable progressive voice and vote, is reportedly whipping support for Crowley among his colleagues.

Crowley plays for keeps. Taking him off the board entirely, removing him from the House for the next two years, would produce a benefit to progressives far in excess of the effort involved.