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For progressives, capturing the Democratic Party is more important than beating Trump

Ted Rall on

Nothing, leading Democrats say, matters more than beating Donald Trump. 2020, they argue, is the most important election of our lifetimes (OK, they always say that).

It's not true. If you're a progressive voter, taking back control of the Democratic Party from the Democratic Leadership Council-Clinton-Biden centrist cabal is more important than defeating the incumbent.

For four long decades, progressives -- Americans who put people before profits -- have been living in the political wilderness. Progressives account for 72% of Democratic voters. Figuring lefties had nowhere else to go, party leadership took them for granted, ignoring their desire for a stronger social safety net and fewer military adventures in favor of a pro-corporate agenda. What other choice did they have? Vote Republican?

People who often didn't vote turned out for Bernie Sanders' 2016 primary campaign, proving that many nonvoters weren't apathetic; they were disgusted. After the Democratic National Committee got caught pulling their usual dirty tricks, however, sabotaging Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton, enough Bernie-or-busters boycotted the November general election or cast protest votes for Trump to cost her the election.

Look what happened! Progressives scored their first major win since the1960s' War on Poverty.

Yes, Trump has been a disaster. He is a terrible president, an international embarrassment, insane, brazenly corrupt, overtly racist, with over-the-top authoritarian tendencies. But consider the alternative.

 

If Hillary Clinton were running for reelection, progressivism would still be on the outs. Like Barack Obama, Hillary wouldn't have appointed a single liberal, much less progressive, to her cabinet. She's so far to the right of Trump on foreign policy that she might have gone to war against Iran. Russian national security analysts concluded that Clinton was crazy enough to start World War III. She's equally awful on domestic stuff. Hillary is against any increase in the minimum wage. She opposes Medicare for All. She hates the Green New Deal. Her bankster backers would be running wild.

Because progressives withheld their votes in 2016, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the Democratic front-runners, enjoying the combined support of 50% of primary voters. Both support a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, free college tuition and the Green New Deal. There is no way, no how that those policy positions would be part of a Clinton 2020 campaign.

Progressives are so close to seizing control of the Democratic Party they can taste it. Why, at mile 25 of this political marathon, should they let up on the pressure? They're about to win!

If Sanders is the nominee, supporting him is a no-brainer for progressives. He's been one of them forever. He's trustworthy. (It's a different calculus for leftists like me. Among other things, he needs to swear off militarism.) Progressives will vote for him.

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