News Release

Which Way for the Democrats: Oligarchy or Progressive Policies?

PIA GALLEGOS, pia at gallegoslaw.com
Chair of the Adelante Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, Gallegos is among the authors of the “Democratic Autopsy: One Year Later” report, which was released last month. She is quoted in the recent piece in Salon: “Reflections on a blue wave: How progressive activists drove a historic victory.”

KAREN BERNAL, nekochan99 at hotmail.com, @karenbernal5
Bernal chairs the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party. She wrote the section on social movements in the original Autopsy report, released last year — and co-wrote the section on the future of the Democratic Party.

Norman Solomon, also a co-author of Democratic Autopsy, recently wrote the piece “A Challenge to the New Blue Congress: Govern as Progressives,” which states: “Incantations about the need for so-called moderate policies do little to stimulate a big turnout from the Democratic base — and other voters — oriented to voting against Republican candidates if their opponents draw sharp contrasts between advocacy for economic justice and flackery for de facto oligarchy.

“Surveys show that voters are hungry for genuinely progressive policies that have drawn little interest from mainstream media outlets. For instance, polling of the U.S. public shows:

76 percent support higher taxes on the wealthy.
70 percent support Medicare for All.
59 percent support a $15 minimum wage.
60 percent support expanded tuition-free college.
69 percent oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.
65 percent support progressive criminal justice reform.
59 percent support stricter environmental regulation.

“Yet such popular positions are routinely ignored or denigrated by elite political pros who warn that such programs are too far left for electoral success. The same kind of claims assumed that Bernie Sanders would never get beyond single digits in his 2016 presidential campaign.

“The midterm election results have made Nancy Pelosi the likely next House speaker. Although habitually bashed by Fox News and other right-wing outlets as an ultra-liberal villain, Pelosi has declared allegiance to fiscal centrism and ongoing militarism that forecloses implementing a progressive political agenda.

“In September, as House minority leader, Pelosi precluded any potential left-populist agenda by backing reinstatement of a ‘pay-go’ rule to offset all new spending with tax increases or budget cuts. …

“Pelosi is closely aligned with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in obediently saluting President Trump as he boosts military expenditures — which already account for most of the nation’s discretionary spending. Early this year, when Trump proposed an 11 percent Pentagon budget increase over two years, Pelosi proudly declared in an email to fellow House Democrats: ‘In our negotiations, Congressional Democrats have been fighting for increases in funding for defense.’ The office of Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer proclaimed: ‘We fully support President Trump’s Defense Department’s request.'”