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BY Scotty T. Reid – The civil war within the Democratic Party is hot again, temporarily paused as various wings of the party sought to broker a rhetorical peace until after the 2020 election which Joe Biden won. It did not take long for the corporate wing of the party to fire the first shots in accusing the progressive Democrats, street activists, and organizers for causing corporate Democrats to lose congressionally. Congress Members House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina), U.S. Representative Conor Lamb (D-Pennsylvania), and U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger of Virginia spoke out on a Democratic Caucus conference call on November 5th and blamed progressives for seats that were lost because of street slogans like “Defund The Police” and what they called “socialism” adopting right-wing attacks on popular legislation like Medicare For All.
Compare and contrast the campaign messages of the corporate Democrats who lost their seats to Republicans with the messaging of the Progressive wing of the party which added members to its caucus. Progressive Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her reelection campaign by huge margins along with the other members of what became dubbed “The Squad”. Progressives also won seats in various states and incumbents like South Carolina’s US. Senator Lindsey Graham faced tough challenges from progressive Democrats.
One is newly elected progressive, US Representative-elect Jamal Bowman, is weighing in with a rebuttal of former President Barack Obama who weighed in to push the corporate wing’s messaging in continuing to assert the debunked notion that corporate Democrats lost seats because of what activists in the streets or candidates in other states were saying and not based on the campaign messaging of the candidates who lost.
Barack Obama, on the issue of reforming the police budget that the streets refer to as Defunding The Police”, Obama is quoted as saying you lose people (voters) with “snappy” slogans like “defund the police”.
The Hill reports Obama told Peter Hamby, who hosts a Snapchat political show called “Good Luck America,” that those who use the slogan could jeopardize their goals of enacting meaningful reforms for police.
“You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done,” the former president said in the interview that occurred on Wednesday of this week.
On Twitter, Bowman replied to these statements and said,
“Damn, Mr. President. Didn’t you say “Trayvon could’ve been my son?” In 2014, #BlackLivesMatter was too much. In 2016, Kaepernick was too much. Today, discussing police budgets is too much. The problem is America’s comfort with Black death — not discomfort with slogans.”
Listen, I get what Obama is saying about choosing words carefully, and how slogans can sometimes be vague and open to interpretation by the public or purposely misinterpreted by those opposed to any kind of reforms whatsoever but this is not the context in which he is making his statement but rather speaking in the context of making excuses and unfounded allegations against progressives in explaining away to corporate donors as to why corporate Democrats lost to Republicans. Those corporate Democrats had every opportunity to state what their positions were on police brutality and reforms and they did and they lost, end of the story.
A new generational movement for social justice is happening in the United States and it could be that corporate so-called moderate Democrats are not inspiring new voters to turn out for them by playing middle of the road politics on social justice issues and healthcare. Standing alone as issues, Medicare For All shows Poll after poll finds that Medicare for All is supported by the vast majority of Democrats, many Independents, and even a substantial number of Republicans. Even when battle-tested using biased attacks on “Medicare for All”, the support remains consistent.
The truce is definitely over between the corporate and progressive Democrats and based on the recent interview given by Joe Biden, he knows that his administration is going to be pushed hard for long-delayed progressive policies and programs. Biden said lobbying is what those with a special interest are supposed to do and he invited activists to push him on the policy. However, disingenuous commentary in accusing progressive of costing the Democratic party seats is not going to do anything but inflame the discourse.
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