By Robert A. Vella
Well over a year ago, The Secular Jurist began to repeatedly warn Democrats they would lose the crucial 2014 election and seriously divide the party going forward if they didn’t coalesce around a core set of principles (see here, here, and here). In A Blueprint for the Left, we proposed the following political platform:
- Economic fairness through the concern for workers and for human prosperity.
- Social justice as a principled commitment to civil rights and equal application of the law.
- Public education as the instrument of knowledge and for developing productive citizens.
- Secular government to ensure both freedom of, and freedom from religion.
- Political equality via open democracy and restricting the corrupting influence of money.
- Self-determination through the preclusion of transnational and supranational authorities.
Now, after the November debacle, some Democrats are warming-up to our idea… belatedly. From Richard Eskow of Campaign For America’s Future – A Democratic Party in Search of its Soul:
Voters can sense an absence of conviction from a political party. The absence of a unifying core may help explain the Democrats’ devastating 2014 performance. The electorate may have concluded that, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, there was no there there.
But the problem wasn’t that the party lacked a common message. The problem was that its leaders seemed to lack commonly held values. Many of its candidates even seemed to be lacking in core convictions.
The Democratic Party doesn’t need to find its message. It needs to find its soul.
Better late than never? Unfortunately, not in this case. The damage has already been done. Republican political power has entrenched throughout the nation at all levels. Young voters, civil libertarians, and many progressives are abandoning the Democratic Party in droves. Even worse, the party’s neoliberal establishment is ideologically opposed to the only strategy which might save it – economic populism. Eskow addressed this last point:
How can a party be expected to follow its leaders down paths that are only taken in halting and reluctant steps? The dominant faction of the party – more accurately described as the Clinton/Obama, rather than the Clinton/Manchin, wing – has demonstrated little more than a halfhearted commitment to populist values. That could be seen in President Obama’s 2010 actions. It’s equally apparent today, whenever “centrist” Democrats talk about the majority’s economic difficulties in vague generalities without offering concrete proposals for addressing them.
The answer is, it won’t. We told you so.