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For Progressives, Capturing the Democratic Party Is More Important Than Beating Trump
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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 the 1960s’ 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.


Warren’s bona fides are squishy. She used to be a Republican, endorses capitalism and keeps Hillary on her speed dial. Is she a prog-come-lately or another fauxgressive who would sell out to Goldman Sachs? She would have to come up with some way to reassure voters she’s more Sanders than Clinton.

But what if the DNC shoves Joe Biden or another centrist/moderate/corporatist down our throats again? As usual, they’ll say we have to pull together behind some turd in order to defeat the dastardly Donald Trump. But why?

History is clear. Lame-duck presidents don’t get big laws, new wars or much in the way of policy accomplished during their second terms. Richard Nixon had Watergate, Ronald Reagan was hobbled by dementia and Iran-Contra, Bill Clinton was impeached because of Monica Lewinsky, and George W. Bush spent his last four years in the quagmires of Iraq and then the bursting of the subprime mortgage meltdown. Obama avoided scandal, but an intransigent Republican Congress left him with little to show for years five through eight.

By 2021, Trump will almost certainly have already been impeached. Congress will probably still be Democratic. I ask my fellow Trump-haters: Why exactly are you so afraid of a second term? What do you think the president can do in a second term that he hasn’t already done? Does he strike you as the kind of person who has been plotting some big right-wing surprise to unleash in case he wins reelection?

Forget the Supreme Court-is-everything argument. As Obama proved when he refused to push for Merrick Garland, Democrats don’t move the needle. Anyway, it’s a right-wing court now. Write that sucker off.

There is a nightmare scenario: Trump dies early on. Mike Pence has three years to establish himself before running in 2024. That would really, truly suck. That is a real risk. But is fear of a Pence planet powerful enough to go back to letting the centrist scum take progressives’ votes for granted?

If the DNC robs Warren or Sanders in favor of Biden or whomever — or Hillary — Democratic progressives have little to lose by boycotting the general election again. It may be that the corporatists need to be taught the same bitter lesson a second time: Without progressives, there is no Democratic Party.

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  1. $15 minimum wage

    This is just silly on so many levels:
    –$15 in Seattle is worth $45 in Des Moines, and $7.50 in NYC.
    –In the heartland this will become the robot full employment act
    –Already some employers have responded by just cutting hours to equalize labor costs–oops

    There is left, there is right, and then there is just absurd policy.

    • Replies: @davidgmillsatty
  2. Calvin says:

    Hey ted, is the pedophile Podesta still running the DNC? If he is I don’t see your communist dream coming true. The slow murder of Assange is a sure warning that exposure of the cabal will not be tolerated.

    • Replies: @DanFromCT
  3. Bill H says: • Website

    “Congress will probably still be Democratic.”

    So, you think AOC and Omar will be reelected?
    Interested in a good price on a nice bridge?

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    , @TomSchmidt
  4. For progressives, KYS now is still the best answer for humanity. Do it for the children!

  5. the obummed out war criminal terrorist was scandal free? LOL.

  6. @Justvisiting

    A floor has to start somewhere and expecting equality when instituting floors is silly. What you are really saying is that floors should not exist.

    • Replies: @Justvisiting
  7. @Bill H

    Ilhan Omar will almost certainly be re-elected in 2020. She receivd SEVENTY-eight percent in 2018.

    If she’s not prosecuted for immigration fraud, which seems unlikely, she can lock that district and “serve” for a long time. Her district is already 30% nonwhite and 15% born outside the USA, and there is not a trend in a contrary direction..

    Ocasio-Cortes, however, may have some trouble — partly because of a local issue, her role in torpedoing Amazon’s big investment in that part of NY.

  8. @davidgmillsatty

    What you are really saying is that floors should not exist.

    What I am saying is that national floors made sense in the good old days when national costs of living were somewhat similar throughout the country.

    The insane housing bubble in certain coastal cities has ended those days–and an appropriate economic policy for the coasts makes no sense for the heartland.

    What I am saying is–the map (that says this is one nation) is not the territory, and any economic policy that pretends it is will be doomed to ridiculous unanticipated and unintended consequences.

    Good economic policy is not impossible–but it is difficult and does not fit in well with sweet sounding political slogans.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  9. I was a union man back in the day. Labor was providing a lot of mussel and money for the Liberals. Liberals lost their clout when Bill Clinton and the New Democrats kicked us to the curb in favor of corporate bucks. Labor was a proxy for the working class which has had no representation in Washington since Clinton’s second term. We would have opposed free trade and offshoring our manufacturing. Both Bush and Gore were free traders. That’s why Nader called them tweedle de and tweedle dum. Its been like that ever since.

    I hung out at firedoglake for years. The liberals had just changed their name to Progressives. there was a lot of back and forth in the com boxes. They were pro gay marriage. They were pro abortion. They hated George Bush. But they did not hate the white race.

    And they are changing their name again. They are becoming Socialists. They are increasingly militant and hateful. There is a Jacobin/Maoist vibe that didn’t exist before Trump. They don’t like me any more either.

    I think you will take over the Party. I don’t have a dog in that fight. I’m with the Deplorables now for the same reason I was with the Democrats then. Because my heart is with the working class.

  10. Realist says:

    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.

    It is a sad state of affairs when Clinton-Biden is considered centrist.

  11. DanFromCT says:

    The consolation, Calvin, is that when the left is successful in turning America into Venezuela, they’ll still be beta losers. As Joseph Conrad pointed out a century ago, underneath their talk of equality lies the sanguinary lust to enchain and punish their betters. For this reason they’ll kill off their own leaders just as they have in every previous leftist rage to annihilate a social order that holds a mirror to their personal inadequacies.

    Nietzsche also observed that envy and vengeance are what really motivate these hypocrites, whose marked lack of charity makes this clear enough. As Spengler put it, we must be men for our times and not some other, so that when the times demand “We’re all communists now, Comrade,” we’ll have the chance to deal with these scumbags and show them the curtesy of judging them on their own Darwinian lights.

    • Replies: @joannf
    , @TomSchmidt
  12. TG says:

    “Nothing, leading Democrats say, matters more than beating Donald Trump. 2020”


    Nothing matters more than distracting the proles with a media circus, while the rich get their cheap-labor immigration policy, their cheap-labor outsourcing policy, their massive subsidies of finance, their low tax rates, the guaranteed profits of ‘public private partnerships,’ surprise medical billing, etc. So sure, let the little people scream for/against Trump, as long as the bottom line continues. To these people, winning or losing the election is secondary. It’s about blowing smoke.

    • Agree: Justvisiting
  13. El Dato says:

    What am I even reading.

    For four long decades, progressives — Americans who put people before profits — …

    More like big-sister-knows-best micromanagement before everything.

    These are the people “1984” was all about.

    Yes, the exploitation if Big Capital is shit. But that’s an entirely different combat.

    [Hillary] hates the Green New Deal.

    The Green New Deal doesn’t even exist, except in the delusion universe of Captain Vegeta. It is just another Marxist-Leninist Big Attack on everything to save the world. With extremely predictable consequences. Similar to the birthpangs of a New Middle East, for that matter.

    Even the New Deal doesn’t exist. There were just 3 different interventions by Roosie and his clique of economically challenged ones, which went nowhere fast (Roosie crying about the lack of success at the end) until WWII buried the sorry results under an orgy of destruction. Got retconned into a success story, I can grant that.

  14. joannf says:

    You are correct. Envy is the sublime human social motivator especially for the very social-oriented, the inadequate, the ugly, the dumb – in a word, the losers. That’s also what “old white men” can never be forgiven for : having been successful, having been winners. The greatest permanent danger for the species itself lies in the fact that Cognitive Privilege is genetic – it can only be erased by genocide.

    • Replies: @follyofwar
  15. I think youre giving the response towards Bernie in 2016 a little more credit than it deserves. While I agree that Bernie was a better candidate than Hilary, and his politics are more refreshing than the same-ole Neo-Establishment soup that Hilary was pushing, the reality is that there is a lot to say when it comes to familiarity. Right now the dominant age voter group in the Us is Generation X, a generation that has proven itself to be dominated by nihilism and political banality. As long as popular culture tells them something is good, they are more likely to go with it and less likely to fight back. These are people that voted for Obama in his second term because he was more likable than Mitt Romney, not because he was politically better. These are mostly the same people that voted for Trump, not because politically he spoke to them, but because he had better optics than Hilary. take her politics, and put them in any other candidate (lets say, if Biden had run in 2016). Trump would have lost handily. I don’t think there is going to be this massive wave of progressivism lead by voters. If anything the Left will benefit from their voters more, but that’s only because the GOP is sacred of their dissident right. Other than that, they will just use that fire to fuel the same ole politics, and once in a while throw some blue meat with LGBT and race shit.

  16. Muggles says:

    Why is Ted Rall a “Trump Hater?” Was he also an Obama Hater, Bush Hater, et. al.?

    Trump is the funniest President we’ve ever had. Even when he’s wrong he’s entertaining. He has single handedly destroyed the liberal-Left idea of an Imperial Presidency.

    Look at it the way I do: Statism is the real religion of most “progressives,” left liberals, neo cons and many passive poorly educated citizens. To these folks government (“the State”) is God himself/herself. The US President (for Americans and some others) is the Pope of Statism. His/Her word is ex- cathedra. God is speaking.

    Well my friends, no one wants Trump as their Pope, not even MAGA lovers. So by electing Trump we have destroyed, for the time being, the Statist religion. At least at the federal level. Sure the “Cardinals” in Congress have a lot of power, but they can only aspire to become Pope. Trump was never a Cardinal in the Statist Church. Hence a non Believer is now Pope. Just like the Catholics have. Enjoy Trump while we have him.

    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
  17. Beb says:

    Bill Clinton killed the Democratic Party long ago, by selling it to multi-billionaire donors. It is past time to bury it, and move on.

    • Replies: @follyofwar
  18. Half-Jap says:

    Progressively regressive they are.
    If humans have been improved by greater state intervention, why are things falling apart (even in China, where the squeeze and intervention is progressively getting harder).
    There should be a minimal system of policing bad behavior, but all these ‘progressive’ programs have ended up permitting pollution, adulterating foods, restricting freedom in myriad ways, etc.
    These so-called Progressives do not care for people or individuals as such, for they do not respect our agency. We are merely squishy automatons in need of their perpetual care.

  19. @Justvisiting

    Your words are wise. $15 is OK for NYC, and death to the depressed Mohawk Valley, so it’s also intrastate.

  20. @DanFromCT

    Ah, a SJW reign of terror. That would be epic. Thanks for the picture.

  21. @Bill H

    If I were betting, I’d take both to be re-elected. Easily.

  22. @joannf

    On the contrary, I think “Old White Men” can never be forgiven for passing the Hart-Celler Act of 1965.

  23. @Beb

    And the GOP, the “White Man’s Party,” killed itself by becoming slaves to the Zionists. They have even given up the First Amendment in their desire to prostrate themselves to them, so long as they continue to get their shekels.

  24. Eighthman says:

    I’m surprised at the depth of what Rall says. He doesn’t just echo the anti-Trump hysteria of the Democratic party but tries to look beyond it.

    If 3 guys own more than 50% of the US population, what’s the end game? One guy who owns maybe 60 -70% of the US, perhaps? As Judge Brandeis said, you can have great concentrations of wealth or democracy but you can’t have both. The elite can buy Congress, judges, the police – whoever they want. They can shut down dissent with SLAPP suits, if not actual snipers. And no one, I mean no one is safe from them – as with Jeffery Epstein.

    If you fear “Socialism” ( I do), please consider that a corrupt, crony led state isn’t an improvement.

    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
  25. @Eighthman

    If you fear “Socialism” ( I do), please consider that a corrupt, crony led state isn’t an improvement.

    The easiest way to get socialism is as a reaction to a corrupt, crony led state.

    Many voters turned to Trump because they were sick of the way our corrupt, crony led state has screwed over the vast majority of Americans. (I didn’t, because I didn’t have any faith in Trump either).

    If Trump fails, or is perceived to have failed, it is quite likely that voters WILL turn to socialism.

    What is it like for young people today?
    I do not live as well as my father did.
    My father did not live as well as my grandfather.
    What if my son cannot live as well as I did?

    So much wealth has been created, but workers in the industrialized West have seen none of it.
    At some point people won’t take it anymore.

    • Agree: Digital Samizdat
  26. @Muggles

    Why is Ted Rall a “Trump Hater?” Was he also an Obama Hater, Bush Hater, et. al.?

    I can’t recall any presidents Ted Rall has liked.

    So, Yes.

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