Timothy Gatto posted a column at SmirkingChimp.com Thursday that really, I think, illustrates the fraudulence of this year’s presidential election. No matter who wins, we’ll be stuck with a president who shall do little or nothing to alter the terrible course our once-great nation has been dragged on these last seven years. It really is like being given a choice between Coca Cola and Pepsi; no matter how you vote, you’re still casting your ballot for empty calories and other toxic wastes that serve only to slowly destroy the body.
I think it’s time to face facts: the Democratic Party as we knew it is no more. It has ceased to be. What we have left is a pale imitation of the Republican Party. And 2007 is a perfect example. What Progressives really need to do is bring back the Progressive Party. Read on, and I’ll explain further.
For a little while now I have been doing my own part to accomplish this goal on my discussion forum. But my efforts are neither original or the first to be made. Already some states have revived the Progressive Party, including Washington and Vermont. In the latter state, Progressives have gotten a number of members elected to the legislature, and are now running their own candidate in the gubernatorial election.
What does this mean for Vermont? Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature are forced to work with the Progressives to get anything done. The political power the party has in this capacity is, therefore, significant — and growing.
This did not happen overnight, but it did so with surprising swiftness; the Washington Progressive Party reformed in 2003, according to its web site, with assistance from the Vermont chapter. So all this has taken place within the last five to seven years. Not bad for a revived political party that, nearly a century ago, made history by causing an incumbent Republican president to come in last in a three-way election.
Whatever doubts you might have about the effectiveness of bringing back the Progressive Party, the examples of states such as Washington and Vermont should ease or eliminate them. Allow me to paint a portrait in your mind. It’s not very likely to happen, but let your imagination loose for a bit as I describe this scenario:
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, made up of seventy-one House members and one senator (Vermont’s Bernie Sanders). Frustrated with the refusal of Democratic leaders to end the occupation of Iraq, impeach the Bush-Cheney regime, and pass progressive legislation. Imagine if, some day soon, each and every member were to leave the Democratic Party and register under a newly revived Progressive Party. Like I said, not likely, but suspend your disbelief for a few minutes and bear with me. Imagine the sheer power Progressives would have, especially over Democrats.
“We’ll caucus with you, so you keep control of the House,” they say to the leadership. “But here are the things you must do for that to happen.” And then the Progressives would trot out their list of demands. If the Democrats balk, the Progressives caucus with no one, and control reverts to the GOP. Do you think the spineless, conniving Democratic leaders would dare let that nightmare come to pass? I don’t. No, they’d fall all over each other to please the Progressives, desperate to retain their tenuous hold on power in the Legislature.
This is, of course, wishful thinking on my part. But consider the headway already made in just a handful of states by the Progressive Party. Yes, it would take years to achieve results on a national level. We’d have to start locally, of course, work our way up to county and state-level offices. And then, once each state in the Union has enough of a party presence, run national-level candidates.
This is already happening. It has already achieved tangible results. It is now time for Progressives in every state to ask themselves if it’s worth the heartbreak, frustration, and continuous disappointment by sticking with the Democratic Party. If you’re interested in bringing back a political party to your state that can give real political power to Progressives, you could do a lot worse than to start exploring ways to revive the party that bears our name. If you’d like to give it a try, you may either register an account at my forum or, better yet, establish contacts with the Vermont and Washington state parties to learn how you can bring it to your community.
If we’re to eradicate movement conservatism once and for all, we need to create a strong, energized Progressive movement to counter it. It’s worth trying.