Wednesday, January 19, 2005
The 2004 election
•The Democratic Party is at a SEVENTY-year low ebb, having now lost the Presidency and both houses of Congress twice in a row.
•The country is sharply divided politically on red-blue lines that begin to look permanent,
• The smaller red states, with their disproportionate share of electoral votes and Congressional representation, suggest a long-term edge for the right.
•The Democratic Party organization hardly exists in much of the old South, and is in decay in many other places.
•Democrats used to vie with Republicans for corporate campaign funds, but now almost all go to Republicans.
•Our all-out efforts with groups like ACT and Move-on were not enough to turn things around.
•The Rumsfeld crew is still in power in the Pentagon.
•American military might has been shown to fail against new capacities for resistance, however gruesome.
•Republicans are presiding over an unprecedented dissipation of American prestige and economic strength.
•The only category of American exports that is rising is trash, scrap and waste.
Each bit of that bad news at least holds out better prospects down the road, for us progressive Democrats —— at least if we have enough vision, imagination, and courage to ride it somewhere good.
First, of course, we did come quite close, even with a lousy candidate, in unseating the slickest, dirtiest Republican machine ever, and in wartime, even after the US mainland itself was attacked for the first time in almost two centuries.
Second, the blue-red tensions keep politics exciting and visible, and make it harder for issues to fade into the background. That makes new, inventive alliances possible, a new form for our old republic.
Third, for anything that goes wrong, at home, in Iraq, or elsewhere, Republican rightists will now be obviously to blame.
Fourth, with Democrats nearly out of the picture, the media, just to remain interesting, have to start scrutinizing Republican missteps more intensely, and have already started
Fifth, without corporate funds to pander for, it will be easier for Democrats to back progressive causes and to stick with them.
Sixth, Where Democratic organizations have fallen apart, there is room for new, more progressive ones to grow up.
Seventh, ACT and Moveon etc. have kinks that need working out, but they’ve gotten off to awfully good starts. We need to help build deeper , better vote-getting strategies, to be activated in still wider regions of the land.
Eighth, while the old world of, say, 1970’s liberal dominance won’t return, as America’s exceptional status in the world diminishes, there will be new opportunities to build a politics that recognizes the humanity we share with all on earth.